“One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
A Time to Gather Strawberries
Strawberry Moon is the name the Algonquin North American Native tribes so aptly gave to June’s full moon because they knew it as the time to gather ripening strawberries. Although neither the wild mountain strawberries nor the plump green berries growing in my strawberry pot have yet ripened, our locally grown field-ripened strawberries are starting to flood the farmers markets. Each year, with my very first bite of that first red strawberry of the season, I am instantly transported back in space and time to a visit to my grandmother’s house as a little girl.
“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly,
“one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”
~Hans Christian Anderson
Bumping into a Good Friend
Several summers ago, as I stepped out onto my balcony garden, I literally bumped into my good friend, the Clouded Sulphur Butterfly. It was a beautiful, hot summer’s day and the vertical blinds of our sliding glass doors leading out to the balcony garden were closed to keep out the heat of the late summer sun. I was working in the kitchen when I heard some commotion on the street below. Curious as to the cause of the sound, I decided to step out onto the balcony to have a look-see. But, rather than open the vertical blinds so I could step out unimpeded, I lazily threaded one arm between two of the vertical panels, parted them, and gingerly placed one foot out onto the balcony. Half out, with one foot and one arm through to the other side and my other arm and leg still inside, laced between the vertical panels of the blinds, I bumped smack into a little Clouded Sulphur Butterfly.
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it
the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
~ Napoleon Hill
The words resonated with me so much that I transcribed them into my quote journal. Some years later, when I was going through a really rough patch, I remembered that quote, dug it out of my journal and copied it onto a small piece of paper which I carried around in my pocket. For weeks, I repeated it to myself often—because, for me, just saying those words brought me inner relief.
One of the early incarnations of my balcony garden, complete with a little pond.
A Surprise in the Reflecting Pool
We are having a gloriously early spring this year and I am starting to prepare my highrise balcony for the yearly planting of my container garden. I’ve been small space gardening up here on my balcony for many years—it’s one of my favourite summertime joys. Who says you can’t grow a garden in the sky?
For me, spring officially kicks off with the arrival of Peter and Lillian, two fanciful rabbits who have been turning up here each spring for eons.
Evidence of their existence came many moons ago. It was Easter break and I was in my second year of undergrad studies, buried up to my eyeballs in textbooks and study notes, frantically trying to prepare for final exams. I had a heavier course load than my friends, who had all taken off to go somewhere fun, while poor, poor me was stuck in the study hall. Continue reading →
My partner and I love to cook together. Neither of us have any formal culinary training but we really enjoy preparing delicious food and we both love the challenge and satisfaction of trying new recipes and learning new culinary techniques. After many years of being together, one of our favourite date nights is cooking a delicious dinner at home and watching a movie in our living room.
Death is not extinguishing the light;
it is putting out the lamp because the Dawn has come.
~ Rabindranath Tagore
Life and More Life
My father, whom I adored, died two years ago today. Interestingly, he chose November 11th, Remembrance Day, to move on to the next phase of life. He enjoyed a long, happy life knowing that he was deeply loved by his family. And although he is no longer physically with us, I must assure you that I am not saddened by his passing because—and this may sound strange—he does not feel lost to me.
I understand that there will never be agreement as to what does or does not transpire after we die—some believe that there is something more after we leave this body and some do not. And, while I have no desire to alter anyone’s beliefs, I admit that I fall into the camp that believes life is eternal—that our consciousness continues on in some fashion after we depart these bodies. Though I can’t say I understand how it plays out, I have an unshakeable knowing in my gut that death is simply a natural part of the continuation of life.
I was very close to my father, so when he died I wondered if I’d experience any signs that he was still around me in spirit—whether I would feel his presence around me in some way. And, yes, I can happily say that I immediately noticed many small signs, all very playful and humorous (my Dad loved few things more than a good joke). But the most powerful and beautiful experience came a few weeks after his death when my partner and I made the long trek to my small prairie hometown to visit my mother.