Thursday, February 27, 2014

What a wonderful world

I was walking along the seawall today and noticed so many people walking and talking on their phone, walking and texting on their phone and it made me sad for them. The waves, the freighters, the dogs happily chasing balls and sticks, getting muddy in the, well, mud. The people I passed who met my gaze and smiled.

Those on their phones missed all that. But the saddest thing was the number of little ones, standing, looking up at their moms while their moms texted, or talked on their phones. Perhaps some of those calls and texts were earth shatteringly important, but somehow I don't think so. More then once there was also a dog looking up towards its master's face and waiting for the text to be sent.

I am glad that when I was walking my dog, and later my children, I didn't have the distraction of a cell phone and I could just chatter away to them.

Just chatter away.
The text can usually wait.
Those little ones won't be looking up at you forever.
Those waves, and birds, puppies and mud will soothe your soul. Really.
So will those smiles to those passing by.

I am glad for the technology we have available to us today. But it needs to be put into its rightful place.
And sometimes that place is in your pocket and turned off, or at the very least silenced.

Louis Armstrong was right - What a Wonderful World. We shouldn't take it for granted. Not any of it.

I see trees of green........ red roses too
I see em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are also on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do
They're really sayin......i love you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
They'll learn much more.....than I'll never know
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

Sunday, February 9, 2014

blanket memories

I am knitting a blanket for our bed. Our king-sized bed. I am using all the odd balls and left-overs of sock yarn I have accumulated over the years. I have over 2000 gms of these leftovers waiting to become a blanket of memories.

As I knit four-inch mitered squares I remember the socks or shawls I made with the yarn I am using. So many memories already and I am only 32 squares in on a blanket that will likely take about 1000. Socks I made for my sister to honour her love of elephants. Socks for my dear friend to commemorate her Camino adventure and her 50th birthday. Socks for my daughter to keep her feet warm on those cold maritime days and nights. Socks for my husband's hobbit feet (not hairy, just very, very wide). Socks for my son to wear as he tended his sheep and garden in the north. Socks for another dear friend who has known me for a long, long time. Socks for myself to remember my aunt who taught be how to knit. Those socks are the colour of her autumn flower garden. A shawl that I gifted to my aunt living far away. A shawl knit for a friend now living in Rwanda.

Currently I am knitting a square out of a tiny bit of blue yarn I have left over from a pair of socks I knit years ago. I knit them in my sister's little cabin and knit them in the company of a woman who was living with Alzheimer's. She didn't say much, but she did ask me about those socks. So this little square is a memory of her. And her partner of many years.

I am creating a blanket of memories as my aunt used to create quilts with pieces of fabric from dresses and aprons she had made for herself, her mother, her nieces. I used to love pointing to different pieces of fabric and asking her to tell me the story of that dress, that person. I imagine some time in the future I will be sitting with my children, maybe even my grandchildren, and telling stories about each square of this blanket.

It makes me happy to remember as I knit each little square. I imagine it will make me happy to wrap myself in those memories in the future.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I am knitting a shawl with the name of this blog post. Chincoteague. The name caught my attention and reminded me of the young girl I once was. I read books about horses. A lot. Misty of Chincoteague was one. Brighty of Grand Canyon another. All the Black Stallion books. And, my favourite, Man O War. I probably have read Man O War at least six times. There is a chapter where the young man who is the voice of the book takes Man O War out at night for a run. No limits he lets him run as fast as he can. As fast as he wants. As fast as he is able. And the young man, who is too big to be a jockey, for that brief ride, is a jockey riding the faster horse in the world.

I have such memories of riding as a teenager. In the US at Doran's stables, at Webb's Holiday Acres on long weekends in October and May, and once even a week long at Easter. Then as a young woman in my 30s and 40s riding at the Flying U Ranch up near 100 mile. With my sisters, my girlfriend, and later with my children. The last time was a weekend together, just my daughter and I.

I remember their names: Brandy, Little Prince, Nellie, Blackie. Blackie was my favourite. He and I had such adventures. He was 16 1/2 hands high, and I rode him bareback. When I fell off (which was often) I would have to find a stump or fence to climb up on to re-mount. One time he and I ran through a wasp nest. I slathered mud on his chest and my face to take out the sting and we rode on. We must have been quite a sight when we returned to the ranch!

It was so liberating. Riding in the morning, dew sparkling on spider webs, riding alone through the trails.

And the time my sister and I got lost on horseback, far from where we started. We let the horses lead us home, but we were sore and tired and very dehydrated when we finally got back to camp (two hours late!). An adventure to remember for sure.

So, I am knitting a shawl that reminds me of all those moments of me and a horse. I hope there will be more.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Why is it so hard to be happy?

Last Friday night, as I sat around a warm campfire, surrounded by sparkling snow, and a sky full of bright stars, I wept. I was unhappy. No reason, really. Just unhappy. And my thought was the title of this post. Why is it so hard to be happy?

The next morning it was all ok. I had a good day, and I was happy. A mere eighteen hours later and it seemed the fog had cleared. But why had it settled in the first place?

I could blame it on low blood sugar, on bad planning, on disappointment in things not going as planned. But really I had nothing to be sad about. And yet, sadness often hits me, hard, suddenly, inexplicably.

And not just me.

A woman I greatly admire said to me a few months ago. "Why can't I wake up happy? At my age I feel the moments from waking up to the realization of happiness can be hours apart." I realized she had spoken aloud what I felt too. I don't think it was always so.

Happiness can be elusive. But then it can arrive inexplicably as well.

I don't know why it is so hard to be happy, but, today, I feel that I need to look at happiness like the hummingbird that comes to my window. It comes when it comes and I have to stop and appreciate that moment. Stop and recognize that moment of happiness. I have to learn to not take happiness for granted, to be thankful for it when it appears, and to look forward to its arrival again.

Maybe it isn't that it is hard to be happy. Maybe it is that it is hard to take the time to recognize it, appreciate it, and acknowledge it when it lights upon your shoulder.

And perhaps that is why I have a hummingbird tattooed on my shoulder. She isn't just my totem. She is my reminder that I can be happy.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

For your broken heart

Another broken heart
Not the first
not the last
I wish you lived here
So I could
Hold you fast
Tell you the pain won't last
This too shall pass.

Sometimes the heart breaks
with a crack
not for lack
or looking back

or a slow demise
where silence lies
love in disguise

Make the pot of tea
pour me a cup
I will drink through the miles

and listen
as you write lines that might ease
or sing songs
to appease
the silence

Your broken heart will heal
make the deal
to feel

Empty the cup
Make another pot
I am holding you fast
This too shall pass.