Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Winter. He arrived with a vengeance during the last few days. Snow has piled up against any resistant object. The driveway, not so long ago pristine and ploughed, has many inches of the powdery stuff on it. And Snow has once more obscured the deck.

This year I've decided I am going to be vigilant in shovelling Snow off the deck as soon as she arrives. It is my place where I meditate, where I think over a problem, where I take my joys...and should Snow take over, as happened last year...I would miss the spiritual aspect of my walks along it sorely.

I shovelled yesterday, during a Snow Storm. I've shovelled many times already this year; it looks as if I will shovel at least a few more times before year's end.

I like shovelling. This powdery, flighty, light Snow, at any rate. It feels much like sweeping, to me...another activity I really love. My shovel and my broom...both have prominent spots on the deck, ready to be put to use at any given moment.

Both cleanse. Both move energy about. And sometimes, if I am in a somewhat downward spiralling mood, shovelling or sweeping becomes a metaphor.

This morning, after watching a depressing newscast, after visiting a few not-so-joyous  news sites on the 'net, after hearing some negative news which made me worry...there was a bit of garbage I carried within me which required that shovel.

And what better way than to clear the deck...of Snow, of anger and frustration at my inability to use my fingers the way I once did, of general anxiety? Wrapping presents was the final straw,with those aforementioned trembling fingers. The shovel moves oh-so-smoothly through the powder light Snow! Nary an obstacle in the way.

Each shovel load is thrown over the deck railing, each representing a thing which has me bothered.  It is very light, this Snow, yet bits of it persists in clinging to the shovel...and to me. But I will not let it. I stamp my feet, brush my coat and bang the shovel against the wooden deck.

The bright Winter Sun, peeking through Fog which surrounds the white-clad Forest, winks at me. I hear the message. I begin to notice the sparkling, absolutely pristine Winter's day with which I have been blessed.

Over and over, the shovel bites into the pile of Snow blanketing the deck. Over and over again, a shower of sparkling, crystalline Snow descends down the bank, giving more cover to the young perennials huddled in it. Each shovel load leaves me feeling lighter, refreshed, farther away from news I can do nothing about. My grim mood has left me, along with piles of Snow.

Even as I find I am beginning to adore the day, even as I find the hidden reserve of joy once more...I am very thankful, at the end of it, that I only have to shovel the deck. Our tractor takes care of the rest of it.

Yes. Winter has arrived; there is no doubt. Winter...a season of clarity, joy and depression, sadness and a sense of the if-onlys...and finally, understanding. Eventually, if I shovel long and hard enough, there is also acceptance and balance, once again.

As long as I use that shovel.

Happy holidays, everyone...and don't forget the shovel!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

North Wind and Santa

He's making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town! 

When North Wind blows his icy breath around my home, he will, depending upon his mood, tell stories about the Far North...and the following story is one he told me.

Santa is outrageously busy at this time of year.  He can get overwhelmed and crabby, but he has learned much, much wisdom and guile over the Centuries.  Still, he takes the time to balance and centre himself a whole lot.

He completely understands by now, after years and years of handing out toys to all the kids out there, that once he has finished that last house, he will have time for a rest.

And that another whole year will pass before he has to check that toy list again...twice.

Santa's Techie Elves all got together, recently, and gave him a laptop computer. When he figures out what he considers to be an odd gift, he has the tools to be very organized, right there on his lap! He could have files in his computer with every child's name on it. With every year categorized. But North Wind heard that Santa can become quite exasperated with his newest tool.

Many of his Techie Elves are quite sensitive to his moods; they help Santa when the computer becomes too difficult. And then... the Elves, after Santa's worked on it for awhile, urge him to go and find a cup of Herbal Tea and cookies.

After he's gone, grumbling and mumbling, the Elves fix his computer so that all the boys and girls, whose files have been all mixed up by Santa's ineptitude, will all be back in place, easily found. It took the Elves a very long time to convince Santa that the computer was the way to go, in this day and age, rather than that long list he carried around.

But North Wind tells me Santa's not so sure. That hard copy list of old never changed, was always easily read. He never had to worry about deleting the list, as sometimes happens with the computer. He never had to worry about the anxiety that suddenly anxiety. But he does have the best Elf technicians anybody could ask for...and if it gets too tough, computer wise, he could just hand it over to them.

But Santa's stubborn and determined...he pushes out his lower lip, and pulls down his bushy eyebrows. When he does this, most Elves leave him alone.

Santa tells North Wind, who can be very empathetic when he wants to be, that he really doesn't have time to argue with those Elves these days, anyway. They want him to take his laptop in his sleigh, when he goes to deliver those toys to all the boys and girls who have waited a whole year. He gives North Wind an example, from a recent delivery, when he saved the day...

 In his wisdom, he knew it might not be a good thing to rely on that computer. It is not always easy to contact online computer technicians, who always promise incomprehensible help, over Christmas. He has accepted his limitations...he can read a written list, but how does he find those lost files, once they seemingly disappear? No matter which button he pushes. Or clicks, he forgets the new terminology sometimes.

But Santa had a plan. He always does, shrugged North Wind, as he blew this story into my ear.

Santa took his written list on his journey around the World to deliver those toys, along with his laptop. He felt it was just too wearing to argue with those Elf technicians, so he pretended that he couldn't wait to take his laptop with him. But he hid his list in his back pocket, not even telling Mrs. Claus that he preferred the written list. She's so much better on the computer than he is, he didn't want her to know that he still preferred his list.

But as soon as he was out of sight of the North Pole, he tossed the laptop into the back of the sleigh, squared his shoulders and took a deep breath. He took his folded list out of his back pocket, and checked the first name. He was back in control.

After checking each name (twice!), directing his Reindeer, climbing on slippery roofs, getting stuck in tight chimneys, drinking gallons of milk and eating a million cookies, Santa got tired.

Sometimes...he told North Wind...he wishes that the boys and girls would leave some hot Chicken soup, with his cup of Herbal Tea. All those cookies are great, but sugar just doesn't sit well in his tummy anymore. Shrugging his shoulders, he reminds himself to be grateful. It would be a long night, indeed, without those sugary snacks to keep him going.

Finally, the last name is checked (twice!) and the Reindeer, with round tummies from all the apples and oats left outside for them, turned wearily home.

Just before he saw the lights of his compound in the North Pole, he pulled his laptop from under the empty Toy Bag, and quickly tried to make it look as if he had used it the whole night. Ding! ...went the computer...and up came the blue screen. With nothing on it. Oh oh.

Santa tossed the computer onto the back seat again, and congratulated himself on a job well done. He was extremely thankful for his wisdom in taking that long list of written names.

After Santa stumbles towards his home, his Elves unload the sleigh. They brush cookie crumbs and spots of milk off the upholstery of the sleigh seats. They scrub the seats, which are covered in soot from Santa's forays into chimneys. They take the Toy Bag away to be cleaned. And then, they find the laptop...

The Elves are puzzled. How did Santa ever manage to deliver all the toys, when the computer was frozen solid, when it wouldn't even boot up? They shrug their shoulders, telling themselves they shouldn't be too surprised...Santa's done this trip a million trillion times without a computer, and he's just done one more. Perhaps next year...

In the meantime, Santa had eaten the Chicken soup he had dreamt about all night, had his cup of Herbal Tea, and found the couch. Mrs. Claus placed one of the Elf babies on his belly...and they were

off to dreamland.

Santa mumbled, just before sleep overtook him...MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL...AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

North Wind heard Santa's words and he delivered them to his compatriots...East, West and South Wind...who swirled and twirled them around the World.

This post was published here a couple of years ago. I've edited some of it, in the interests of clarity...but the message holds true.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Arctic Front and...Baking

This morning, when I arose, the temperatures were -28C. Other than taking the dogs out for a walk, I intend to spend little time outdoors today, never mind that the Wicked Winter Sun beckons and beguiles! He is a trickster; there is little warmth in his long, golden fingers.

It is the Christmas Season.  There are more gifts for me to find as yet, but with the Arctic front which has us full in its grip, I will not travel into town this day.

Instead, I will organize the gifts I have. This year, I plan to wrap nicely, with thoughtful touches here and there, on each gift. I plan to wrap nicely every year...but more often than not, I end up wrapping on Christmas Eve, with great haste and not much flair.

Also on the radar is the baking I want to take with me to the family on the Coast.  Sometimes, my bars and cookies and tarts look a little bedraggled after the long trip in the backseat of our car.  So this year, I have decided only nutty caramel popcorn and chocolate fudge will make the journey. But I will tuck in a few butter tarts for my daughter for whom the confection spells Christmas.

Oh! There are moments when I am so excited to be visiting the Coast, I remind myself of my childhood years. This will be the first time I have ever spent Christmas morning in my daughter's home. Usually, we arrive later in the day. Instead, this year we will be travelling to the Coast on Christmas Eve, arriving late...but we will be there!

This is the first year Graydon will be truly aware of Santa Claus at his grand old age of almost three. I am looking forward to telling him stories about Santa, reading countless books to him, and just snuggling with his warm little body.

I haven't seen Bree since the summer.  We travelled to the Coast for Thanksgiving in October, but she was entered in a Soccer Tournament in Victoria that weekend. She will be celebrating her birthday on December 20, which we will miss, only to make up for it when we arrive.

This will be her fifteenth birthday. Can anyone tell me where the time goes? It seems like only yesterday when it was Brianna who wanted stories about Santa, who wanted to sing and dance to Christmas music.

Bree is growing up...I am not as sure of her as I was when she was younger. Her interests are so diverse, many out of my realm of experience. But, as usual, no matter how anxious I am before I see her, love transcends all...and we chatter together just like a pair Magpies within minutes of seeing each other!

It doesn't seem to matter how old my family gets...every year, at Christmas, I can still see the youngster in my daughter. Her eyes sparkle with delight over visitors, food, entertaining and yes, even over presents. Just as they did when she was Graydon's age.

I've heard it said that Christmas brings out the child in everyone. And if it does, then to me this is one of the greatest reasons to celebrate a holiday such as this. Perhaps, if adults could grasp hold of their child within once a year...they may remember how joyful childish things can be...and continue on throughout the year.  

If adults could grasp the Christmas Spirit and hold it deep within their hearts, every day of the year, if our leaders could re-member their childhoods, no matter their religion...I wonder if the World would be in the trouble it is in.

If we all re-membered what it feels like to give freely and with joy, if we all re-membered childish anticipation, would we take as easily? Perhaps grasping greed would not be as prevalent, if we could only remember how a child gives...with his whole heart.

But I realize I'm naive.  I realize, as well, not everybody can remember wonderful Christmases. And I wish for all those who did not have the memories I have, that they will make good, solid remembrances over the coming years. And that they will contact that deep part of oneself, where anticipation, excitement and joy still exists, even if there are bad memories of a long ago childhood gone wrong.

As cold as it is outside, I believe I will create warmth and gaiety inside today.  Fudge making is on the could it be Christmas without fudge? And oh...those butter tarts...can't forget those! The scent they produce in the oven will transport me right back to all the Christmases past.

Back to when my children were small, back to when I hid the gifts, back to when I volunteered at the Soup Kitchen, back to when our family swelled to include four foster boys who needed a home for Christmas, back to when we all sang the Christmas songs loudly and with great gusto on our way to my mother's home...

It's all about creating wonderful experiences and then... re-membering them year after year...

I don't believe I could have a better day!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Massage and Mr. King

After a two year hiatus, I went for a massage the other day. It's taken me this long, after moving, to find a new massage therapist. And this would be why? Because I'm a bit of a weenie.

Massage therapy hurts, when one has fibromyalgia. Before I was diagnosed, when we all thought I had rheumatoid arthritis, I went often. It was important, I was told, in order to keep my muscles in shape, since pain held me back from true exercise.

But oh! I can't begin to describe the pain during treatment.  My therapist, at the time, did not completely believe in the first diagnosis...she could hardly touch my skin and it would hurt. But she did what she could, and after a couple of days recuperation after treatment I did feel a little better.

And then I moved to another area, saw another specialist and was finally diagnosed correctly. I was put on medications to combat the extraordinary nerve pain. The pills took awhile to work...but here I am, today, with little pain...and little memory, due to a combination of the drugs and fibro itself. But that's another story.

It was time to try massage therapy once again, especially with the long, cold Winter soon to arrive, where walks and gardening activities come to a close.

My new therapist is a young woman who completed her three years of training three years ago. She is very competent; she knew instantly how to treat fibro. I did not even have to tell her when my muscles cramped...she noticed immediately.

My worries were for naught.

She was silent throughout the treatment...and so was I, as a consequence.  But my imagination keeps me occupied, whenever I am captive to a treatment, whether it be the dentist's chair or a massage table...or just waiting in a queue.

I'd heard on the news that Stephen King was contemplating writing a sequel to The Shining. He recanted his thought shortly after he made it, saying it wasn't possible...but perhaps.  He answered his questioners just as a Master Writer will.

Whoever knows where the Muse will take a Writer, never mind a Writer like Stephen King?

And so, it gave me huge fodder for thought, during the massage, about young Danny Torrance, his mother Wendy and Dick Hallorann. Where would they be now?

In particular, I think about Danny, all grown up, with all his special skills. Has he found another evil Hotel, another Overlook? Or did he, during his teen years, deny his gifts, with all the disparate perception that goes along with that age?

He could not have come through those horrific scenes with his Dad unscathed emotionally. I envision a young boy who eventually rebels, runs away, becomes a criminal.  Or perhaps Danny manages to find peace, goes through school and university...and then runs into another unspeakably evil horror.  I wonder...will Danny eventually be taken over himself? 

Perhaps Dick Hallorann would once again come in to save the day...

A particularly hard jab from the masseuse brought me back to reality...she had lulled me into complacency for a bit, while she gained some knowledge about my muscular system.

But now the hard part began. Still, I felt she held herself back, as she manipulated my larger muscles back to how they should be. 

I think, perhaps, my next massage may not be as gentle.

But the story of Danny, or any one of Mr. King's characters will keep me occupied for the duration of it. 

And then the thought comes to me...I wonder if Mr. King ever thinks about what has happened to his characters, after he's put them through the emotional wringer?

There could be many sequels if he ever did so...

Saturday, November 21, 2009


It began to Snow when I arose this morning. Here in the Cariboo, Snow covers the ground very quickly, once it begins. It isn't very cold...only -5C...but still cold enough that a day indoors sounds extraordinarily wonderful!

It is the kind of day where I can imagine sitting by the Fire with a hot cup of Tea and a good book. I promise myself I will do this exact thing...but first, I am on a mission.

I dreamt last night about my mother. She is close to me,
these days. Perhaps because it is near Christmas, her favourite holiday when she was still alive.

The dream involved making Gingerbread with her. And when I awoke, I remembered that afternoon my mother and I made a very sticky loaf of Gingerbread. I don't believe it ever became a family favourite, since I only remember that one time...but it was an afternoon made in Heaven.

I was very young; many of the ingredients in this loaf were exotic and strange to me. It was the first time I tasted Molasses; I have loved it ever since. And then there was candied Ginger, Almond paste, Honey, Almonds, Sugar Beet syrup...for a budding foodie, these ingredients made a huge impression on me.

The whole afternoon became a memory instilled deep within. I can still vividly recall a Stormy day with steamy windows and Air redolent of the scent of Ginger, Allspice and Cinnamon. That day, it was only me and my mother...other family members were not there. I had her complete attention all to myself, not something which happened very often.

The loaf my mother baked came out of the oven very black and sticky. It was beyond good...I recall licking bowls and utensils while the loaf baked and being in utter awe at how such sticky batter could ever bake into something like a loaf of bread. And yet it did...

I once had this recipe. But I wrote it down in my twenties as my mother recited it to me, in pencil. I can no longer read it well enough...the writing
is faded and the paper is thin, after having been folded so many times.  The ingredient amounts have been erased with time. I wish I had asked my mother once again for this recipe, while she was still alive.

That's the thing...regret can become a friend once one's parents are gone...

So this is my mission find a recipe which is as good as the one my mother baked that long ago afternoon.

Perhaps this new recipe will not have all the ingredients my mother used, since many of them would have been European, but I will adapt it to include as many of them as I can remember. And I will cover the baked loaf with Almond paste, just as my mother did.

Recipes are all about adapting, aren't they? No matter what the recipe is for..

And then...then the Fire will still beckon. With a cup of  hot Tea in hand and a slice of Gingerbread, I promise myself I will spend the rest of the afternoon in warmth and comfort, watching the Snow fall with silent speed.

With my mission accomplished.

" Had I but one penny in the world thou shouldst have it to buy ginger-bread." Love's Labour Lost...Shakespeare

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Traditions and Memories

As the years go by, I find I have largely forgotten many of the old traditions my Mother kept alive for her children.  Yet I have remembered St. Nicholas Day on December 6 for ever...and I believe it was because my Mother, by her awesome storytelling ability, ingrained this one very deeply within me.

December 6 was more fun for me than Christmas. Perhaps it was because it began the Christmas season and the lovely attendant  anticipation, way back when I was small.

My mother would begin by reminding me that St. Nicholas was on his way, about two weeks before the actual date.  She would tell me our home would have to be sparkling clean...and that included my room.

I was notorious for stuffing clothing, books, shoes and toys under my bed. This was the one time of the year when I made sure to drag each item out from under the bed and put them in their proper place. I recall so well feeling as if St. Nicholas was in the room with me...I did not dare shirk my duties.

My mother told me I had to polish my shoes. As a young child, I was not sure how to go about polishing shoes. And I remember dowsing my patent leather shoes in a tub of water, because I thought this was the way to make sure they were really clean. It took days for them to dry out; the patent leather was not ever the same.

I was terribly afraid these shoes, almost brand new and bought for the Christmas season, would end up with a piece of coal in them rather than the goodies I had received in previous years.

You see, on St. Nicholas Day, those same shoes, clean and now a little cracked, would be placed on the window sill. I would draw a picture for St. Nick and put it in one of the shoes...and in the other shoe was my list for Christmas. And there was a plate of carrots for St. Nicholas' white Horse.

But it was not only clean shoes and a clean house St. Nicholas looked for, when he travelled from home to home. He apparently, my mother told me, had a very large Book in which all children's behaviour, good and bad, had been chronicled, never to be forgotten.

I couldn't begin to imagine it. But I wanted that Book.  A budding writer and voracious reader even so long ago, I thought that Book St. Nicholas had would give me years of enjoyment, as long as I did not look up my name. Even now, my heart races a little at the thought I might ever find the tell-all Book...and my name.

It was all I thought about.  I visualized St. Nicholas leading his Horse through the Snow, holding tight to The Book.  And when he came to a house, he would open it wide, and find the resident child's name. Depending on that child's behaviour, he would either place a piece of coal in the shoe or he would fill it with amazing chocolate goodies.

I would bother my mother, possibly non-stop, about The Book.  Was her name in it? Yes, she replied. Had she ever received any coal? Perhaps, she would say...she couldn't quite remember.  But she had once had a friend who received coal year after year!

My eyes as wide as saucers, I clamoured to know more about my mother's friend.  Why did she receive coal year after year? Well, my mother explained, she just could not be good.  She could not remember her manners, she wore stained and dirty clothing (to my mother, cleanliness was next to godliness) and her shoes were forever covered in mud!

Well.  Upon hearing the news about this unfortunate girl, I wandered away to digest what I had heard. Then, as well as now, I needed time to run through all the scenarios in my come up with more questions for my beleaguered Mother.

Hmmm. I remembered how my shoes could get covered in mud...sometimes even my socks! And my clothing could certainly get stained and dirty. My manners were not all that great, either. I was shy and quiet...greetings to other people were not my strong point...I'd hide behind my mother, mostly.

I had some fearful thoughts that my name would have that black mark against it, in St. Nicholas' Book.

I went back to my mother. What if, I said with great anxiety, what if my name had a black mark against it?

My mother did not let me off the hook.  She said, We'll have to wait and see.

Her answer kept me very good...I outdid myself in keeping clean, remembering my manners, staying out of mud...

That is, until St. Nicholas arrived and filled those pretty, patent leather shoes to the brim with the much coveted chocolate. There was nary a lump of coal to be found!

I stayed good for a week or two, after December 6, but my memory for continuing that goodness faded after awhile, and I went back to wallowing in the mud.

The whole scenario happened again when the Christmas season began, shortly after St. Nicholas Day. Santa Claus, according to my mother, also wanted children to be good.

But for me, Santa never had the same clout as St. Nicholas...he only kept a list.  He didn't have that big, black Book.

The tradition faded as I grew older.  I tried to implement it with my children, but they were far more sophisticated than I...they knew inherently they would receive candy in their shoes.

Black Book or no. 

Note:  The top photo is me at the approximate age of three with Santa Claus.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Scent of Pineapple

I struck up a conversation with a woman as we were waiting in the Dentist's office the other day. As is common, we began by discussing the weather.

The weather here in the Cariboo has felt a little strange, lately. In October, there were occurrences of Arctic Air, which dropped our temperatures well into the minus category. We had Snow, which I would have enjoyed much more, had I known it was only going to last a day. Then the Rains came, in fits and starts, along with much warmer and Sun-filled weather.

The lady shook her head, as we talked about the anomalies we were experiencing. She is keen on snowmobiling and Ice fishing; she felt with the lack of cold weather, perhaps her hobbies would not be available this year.

She said...What will I do during the long Winter, if there is no Snow or Cold, to freeze the Lakes?

Quite honestly, I did not know how to reply to her comment. A Winter without Snow is right up my alley...I would be ecstatic if this were to occur!

We discussed the Coast,
from where I have recently moved. I told her a Winter without Snow was quite common there, and the Snow which did fall rarely lasted long, although last year the Coast received an Arctic blast, which included much Snow. I told her, as well, that the warmer temperatures we have enjoyed lately remind me so much of Fall days on the Coast, where I would be planting bulbs and enjoying the Fall colour.

Of course, she knew all this, as she had cousins who had moved South to Vancouver Island. And she told me they would call and tell her they were mowing their lawns as early as February. She would tell them, in return, of the beau
tiful, blue, sunny days here in the Cariboo, where she could ride her snowmobile for miles and miles, without fear of Rain. But, she reiterated, she couldn't do this without Snow...

Later, sitting in the dentist's chair, I mused about our differences, a born and bred Cariboo resident and Island girl.

To me, there is no doubt both places are beyond beautiful. Mother Nature has outdone herself in the province of BC. She has
carved and smoothed Valleys and Mountains, Rivers, and Lakes. She has molded the beaches and craggy cliffs for the Pacific Ocean, which laps all along the shore. She has built high, semi-arid plains and plateaus...there is a place in the Chilcotin which I swear cracks my heart a little, each time I visit.

In so doing, she has built a Land which has a place to please everyone's wishes and desires, as she honours our differences.

I think about how I have recently felt I am beginning to know and
understand the Cariboo and her people. I have lived here almost two years; during that time I have gained a little knowledge of the Land and its weather.

I consider...would I really understand a Winter here without Snow and the atten
dant Cold? It would feel strange. This is not the Cariboo way, it is the Island way. Some people who have lived here all their lives have built their livelihoods around Winter and his playground.

While I...I have built my life around green gardens and walks along a wind-swept beach, with scudding black clouds in the distance, promising Rain. On the Coast, there is always the promise of Rain...

So, of course, Rain and the soft, southerly Wind is completely known and welcomed by me. It is what I hanker for; sometimes I will go out onto the deck to fully embrace the lashings of Water thrown at me by that gracious South Wind, as she takes me back to the beaches of the Island.

At the same time, I have learned to love the extremes I exper
ience in the Cariboo. I feel as if the inhabitants here are as attuned to the Land as I am. People here, it seems to me, have learned to listen, gaining knowledge and therefore, power over the extremes. They know each Season well. They know what to expect.

And through innocuous conversations such as this one and others, I am learning to accept, if not exactly embrace, the length, breadth and Cold of the Winter Season.

But. As I told the lady in the dentist's office, right now, today, I am enjoying unseasonably warm, lovely weather.

And...right now, today, I am going for a walk outside, to sniff out the scent of Pineapple on the breeze.

Winter will arrive soon enough.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


When we first moved here, quite often I would notice movement and sometimes actual figures in the near periphery of the boxes I was attempting to unpack. I felt no fear of these strange sightings, or powerless...but I remember wondering who they all were. And why were they converging on me?

Most were dressed in old-fashioned clothing...I recall one in particular who wore what appeared to be tan coloured canvas pants, thick brown boots, and a heavy, woollen brown coat.  He was bent under a backpack tied to his back, and he carried a long, wooden stick...I can see him in my mind's eye now, as I write this.

He smiled at me when he appeared, for only a few moments. I smiled back. There seemed to be little else I could do...

But I was left shaking my head in wonder and awe, as his figure disappeared from sight. And eventually, I took the sightings for what they were...a true welcome to a part of the country I had not even visited before.

At the beginning, there was a flurry of sightings.  After a bit, these began to fade and it became rare to catch a glimpse of these amorphous Spirits.

And so I felt perhaps the sightings were over, although I still continued to be conscious there were Spirits about. Even for the Cariboo,where wildlife is abundant, I managed to connect with an amazing number of wild animals.

And quite often, those animals did strange things, things uncharacteristic of a wild animal's behaviour. Each and every occurrence left me awestruck. I noticed my belief in a Universal connection to all beings...becoming stronger, even more deeply entrenched.

There are signs throughout the property of someone practicing their spirituality. Boulders in certain areas, within well-defined circles of smaller Stones, are palpable in their energy which radiates outward with great warmth towards the receiver.

I have found small Stones placed on stumps or Rocks. I feel, because of their placement, they denote East and West, North and South. Beyond this, what each Stone represents is left to the imagination and sure knowledge.

With the big, tall Fir trees surrounding our home, it feels like a natural cathedral, especially when Sun eases his long fingers into the Forest and caresses each it from within. It is very easy for me to see how there may have been ceremonies, ancient or otherwise, here, then...

I am not the only one, here in this home, who senses other beings. Our two Dogs become strangely cowed when a visitor(s) manifests. I know they see him/her; I have not, so far, other than very early on.

Nate, for example, has his experiences on a certain portion of the deck.  There are times when he will not pass a very innocuous looking few feet, to come towards me. He becomes completely cowed, very anxious and whines desperately, all the while looking towards something in a totally abject way.

Not even a biscuit will make him pass that spot.

Lucky will,  on some mornings when I awake, have anxiety and worry written all over him. On those mornings, Nate will look at me with deep thankfulness the dark night is through.  And after I am up and about, they will settle and sleep for the rest of the day...unusual behaviour in itself.

It is as if they guard us on some nights; I can only imagine who they see...but I can feel leftover energy on those mornings.

The Spirits' energies are benevolent for the most part, but I have sensed there may be some which are not. And these are the ones who will make me smudge later in the day.

And there is a space on this property I do not like. It is dark, dank even on the hottest day. My main impression of it is one of blackness...I barely see the tall, thin Trees which attempt to grow there. For the most part, I avoid it. Better to leave it be.

As time goes by, I hope to have more experiences, here, on this magical Land. Each one is miraculous, each one has its own special blessings.

I am, in particular, looking forward to Hallowe'en, when the veil between planes of existence is thinner than usual. Who will make their energy felt this weekend?

My beliefs are not mainstream. I am grateful for the opportunity to live a life which shows me, on an everyday basis, my practice of spirituality is right for me... and with that, I am the recipient of an inner calm and peace.

For the most part. 

Chasing bad Spirits away from our Dogs can tend to chip away at that peace, a bit!

Friday, October 16, 2009

An Early Warning

Winter's early breath had frozen all plants which had been blooming merrily, without any thought of  their forthcoming Death, when we arrived back home after our trip South.

The garden looks eerie...dead and skeletal Sunflower stalks rise out of the Soil with their leaves blackened and limp. Geraniums, once with such red, glowing flowers my eyes hurt to look at them, are now withered and brown.  It looks like a set for a movie about Hallowe'en.

I remembered to say goodbye to the late blooming plants before I left on holiday.  And when the weather forecaster warned the temperatures were -15C, here in the Cariboo, I was glad I had. I realized then there would be no more home-grown beauties I could cut for the indoors.

It was still a shock, on my return.  How quickly Mother Nature takes my efforts and destroys them! In the window boxes, dark, slimy vegetation has taken over the once sprightly blooms, making the house look abandoned and rather frightening.

It felt like a welcome home gone wrong.

It did not take long for the shock to recede...we live in the middle of the province, in the dry, cold, high interior, after all. What else could I expect?  It is the way of things, here.

There will still be a few warmish Days, before Winter blows in for good for a few months. During those Days, I will clean up the garden, also finishing the new beds I am in the process of creating. I could not pull out plants which were blooming heartily, before; now I look forward to cleaning them out.  Nature has a plan in mind, after all.

And this urge to clean, to prepare for Winter, has also moved indoors.  I am anticipating cleaning closets, which, during the Summer months, have somehow filled to bursting.

I wonder whether clothes procreate. Some of the items in the drawers are new to me, even, and I wonder when I bought them. Nevertheless, I am determined to have well-ordered drawers and closets in time for the full onslaught of Winter.

I imagine opening the sock drawer and finding just the perfect pair of warm socks immediately, instead of the wild searching I am doing at the present time.

With inclement weather arriving, it feels prudent to have the interior of our home just as sparse and spare as the outdoors.  Summer Flowers on the dining table have been replaced by a selection of Gourds and small Pumpkins, denoting the season... and the only decoration to be seen.

Candles have replaced the wildly profuse greenery which graced each table surface. Candles are important and useful; they are required during the times electrical power fails, and they lend such a cosy ambiance, when Wind rages outdoors.

Autumn is like this. Just now, a ferociously powerful South Wind is pushing back the strong North Wind.  Yet North Wind is implacable; he will be back, waiting and hovering just over the rise...

Even with the recent Winter warning residing in the back of my mind...I love, love, love walking with South Wind's breath full on my face. She is soft, caressing...she whispers her intent to return...

The Dogs are wildly excited, during this Morning's walk. They chase leaves, which blow about everywhere. Quickly, the ground is becoming a golden carpet. Just yesterday, I glanced out the window and was struck by the beauty of the red-brown-gold of the Saskatoon bushes on the far hill.

And so. Even with momentary disbelief upon my arrival home at the quick death of a garden, I can only think...

How perfectly and absolutely... beautiful and right...this time of year is!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


We're off to visit the family to celebrate Thanksgiving on the Coast.

Whether or not it is your country's day to celebrate and express your gratitude matters not.

I still wish you all a very happy, safe and warm Thanksgiving, wherever and whenever that Day occurs!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bear and Broken Tooth

Last week, as I was enjoying my dinner, I broke a cap on one of my teeth.  The cap was porcelain; when it broke, it felt like a broken shard of glass to my tongue.

It was time to find a dentist. This is one of the things which was put off, when we moved. And since I am not partial to dental work, it would have continued to be put off, had my cap not broken.

Procrastination certainly comes to the fore when it comes to dentists and me.

I made an appointment with a dentist to whom we had been referred. That was the easy part.

When I was a child, dentists seemed to be little more than cruel, grumpy men. One even suggested he might like to strap me in the chair, if I continued to move around.  And having work done on my teeth reminded me of a construction site...the sounds of the drill and other accoutrements of dental work were very like the whining, buzzing reverberating noise of a table saw, router or drill.

Only louder.

I did not easily heal from these early childhood visits, either in body or mind. There were constant infections which appeared after a visit to the dentist, auguring more and more visits to the very same dentist who had incurred them.

I've spoken with many people my age who have similar memories of dentists from their childhood.  We wonder...Where did these men get their training? And why were they all so cantankerous?

I lived in a small town where there were only one or two dental offices, as I grew up. Both dentists went to the same school, it seemed; there was no sense in trying the other for better care.

Friends of mine went to a larger centre for dental work; I was not so lucky.  I used to listen to their trips out of town to visit a dentist who gave them lollipops(!?) when they were finished, leaving me in total awe.

Time goes on, however, and as much as I ran away from any dental work as I matured, there came a time when my teeth required it.

I was completely surprised at the difference between the dentists of today and the dentists of yesterday. When I finally went, there was huge understanding and acceptance of the fear I had, and my dentist, at the time, did everything he could to make me comfortable.

I swore I would never use another dentist again. And then I moved...

I reminded myself of the difference between now and the past regarding dentists, as I drove into Williams Lake.  But the small child who resides within me clamoured to be heard. I became tense and nervous, as I listened to that small child who would not be silent.

The office looked and smelled and sounded like any dentist's office, except this one had a sculpture of a life-size Bear at the entrance.

Bear has guided me throughout life, as he has for many of the human population...the ones who held a Teddy in their arms as children know what I mean. I've told Bear many, many secrets, not the least of which was my fear of Dentists...

What were the odds I would find a Dentist's office with a very large Bear guarding the entrance? I smiled to myself as a great calm descended over me, when I stroked his giant claws. Had this Bear not been three times my size, I would have hugged him. And I many others have been calmed by passing this huge sculptured wooden Grizzly Bear on their way into the dreaded Dentist's office?

The visit with the hygienist and the dentist went new dentist seems very young to me, but she certainly knew her stuff!  She filed off the offending portion of the broken cap on my tooth, informed me I needed a new one...and oh, by the way, there is another tooth which requires a root canal and cap...

Oh well...ageing hits teeth as well. And certainly, at my age, it is time to let childhood fears go.

On the way out, I thanked Bear, stroking his long claws, and smiled to myself at the jolt of energy I received from Spirit through Bear.

It is reassuring to me that he is there, since it seems I will get to know him well during the next few weeks...and I am sure I will require Bear's special brand of energy again.

It is all very well and good to proclaim it is time to let childhood fears go; I know well that on the day of the dentist's appointment, I will need Bear's strength.

If only to help me stop the profuse sweating at the thought of the root canal...