Thursday, 20 September 2018

Thursday, or Thereabouts - September 20, 2018

Ahh - the moment I've been waiting for, the glory that is autumn, my favourite season of the year, arrives outside my door on Saturday evening. I can hardly wait!

The trees have known the dimming of the light for some weeks now and so began their season of change.

Soon little ones and big kids like me, will be able to scuff through thick layers of brown, yellow and red. Rustling, crackling, crunching - the leaves last words on the growing the season.

Though they stayed three weeks longer than usual, the last winged wonder swooped in four days ago. Now the hummingbird feeder hangs unvisited, except for the flies, its sweet nectar un-sipped by slender beaks.

But the other feeders remain swinging with activity as finches, chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals, and more fuel-up for flight or cooler temperatures.

Cooler temperatures and fall markets signal to me to get cooking again.

There are pastries to be made then tucked into the freezer for a taste of summer in February.
Even pumpkin puree can be frozen for pie perfection later.

Apple Pie

Apple strudel

pumpkin pie

There are still some tomatoes yet to ripen on the vine, but most I've already frozen whole. They will all soon become rich garlicky sauces for hearty pasta dishes - the perfect antidote to bleak November days as well as those in March.

Comfort food rules in this glorious season.

Pecan Sticky Buns

I do so love this time of year -  a tone poem of colour and form, tempo and texture, light and shadow, sweet and savoury.

Bring on the misty mornings!

©2018 April Hoeller

Monday, 17 September 2018

Monday Moanings - September 17, 2018

The day began badly...

A steaming cappuccino to my left, I began my day with a leisurely scroll through my Facebook® news feed. The second drag of the mouse wheel brought me to this little pearl of wisdom:

One day, you'll just be a memory to some people.
Do your best to be a good one.

How lovely - NOT! I got blindsided by the first statement. It dropped me into a bucket of dreck where I spun and sputtered and sprawled for much too long. At the 65 year mark on the wheel of life, that "one day" is not as far away as it used to be!

A life review movie flashed across my mind in a uniquely unimpressive trailer that lasted all of 2 seconds. Panic wicked up the hairs on my neck - omg I'd better get out there and do something spectacular, sensational, significant; something memorable and above all good because time is running short and I haven't done anything meaningful ... not a single indelible accomplishment to my credit...

My gut curdled. My morning soured.
I shrank from the day. I shrank from life.
Oh, woe is me!

But remember that steaming cappuccino? It was still there. Still hot. Still fragrant. Still fresh from my Love's hand.

I took the warm cup in my hands, turned from my desk and headed out into the dappled sunshine of the deck. A warm and still very humid morning greeted me. Heavy dew blanketed not only the lawn but also the coated the windows with dampness. Still, the air was fragrant with a rich earthiness that was wonderfully restorative. Perspective flowed back into my soul. Gratitude overcame self-doubt. Sunshine blasted away the darkness. And caffeine evicted the doldrums.

And outside my door, the day really looks like this:

At least the trees know the summer is over!

And of course, my life is not a wasteland.
I cannot orchestrate what others will remember of my life on some distant day.
I can and will, do my best with each day I'm given.
So be it.

©2018 April Hoeller

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Thursday, or Thereabouts - September 13, 2018

Yesterday, I was feeling a tad overwhelmed by the news cycle, both local and global. I was engulfed by a hurricane of thoughts, none of them any good. So I punched the ejection seat button. I came down in the middle of nature - the Nokiidaa Trail. I strolled along that part of the trail that wends its way south along the East Holland River, past Fairy Lake in Newmarket.

Nokiidaa is an Ojibwa word meaning, "walking together." Camera in hand, I strolled along with my intimate friends, heart, mind, soul, and body.  I listened, I watched, I took long and deep breaths.

Mallard Ducks

blue heron


Bull Thistle

Red-legged Grasshopper


Himalayan balsam Impatiens grandulifera (aka policeman's helmet)

Orange Jewelweed

Orange Jewelweed

Sow Thistle

Refreshed, relaxed and re-centred, I returned home. Along the street where I live, these beauties displayed what my heart, mind, and soul had just rediscovered.

Red Maple

"The leaves are about to show us how lovely it is to let go." 

©2018 April Hoeller

Monday, 10 September 2018

Monday Moanings - September 10, 2018

On the Eve of a Seventeenth Anniversary

I'm a little surprised to find myself writing about this today. Until this morning the anniversary of September 11, 2001 wasn't on my radar. But a dreary weather day encouraged a longer than usual perusal of newsfeeds and there it was. Not front page news, but neither buried too deep to find.

Tomorrow will mark an astounding SEVENTEEN years since that frightful day. I suppose it is the realization of just how long ago it was and how that simply doesn't jive with so sharp a memory, that makes this anniversary so captivating.  As I think about tomorrow,  September 11, 2018 questions pop up, the biggest one being, "What have we learned?"

image credit

I struggle to find an answer, any answer.  The best I've come up with so far is that we have learned to be afraid. I don't find that very helpful nor encouraging. How are we better people than we were seventeen years ago? I don't believe for a moment that we are any safer and I can find little evidence that we are truly any wiser. The world is just as vulnerable as it has always been and as human beings in the world, we are pretty much as we've always been -- generous yet also stingy, compassionate and also indifferent, forgiving but also vengeful, loving when we're not hating, capable of great good but just as great (and even greater?) evil.

I believe our greatest freedom is that of choice.  I can choose the better part of whatever a day brings, or not. By a fortunate accident of birth, I got to be brought up and live in a good land and I am privileged to live well here. A few years ago my husband and I traveled to India. I was surprised and utterly amazed by the joyful energy I saw in the faces of Mumbai's poor. The people I saw in the streets, living under the bridges worked hard to make the best of their day and their space in it.

We were told by our guide that the day always begins with an act of gratitude, whether it be a flower or garland brought to the temple, a spice offering at the neighbourhood shrine or a prayer and incense in one's own sacred space.

Perhaps the best thing that I can do on this 9/11 anniversary is to re-dedicate myself to beginning each and every day with gratitude and then consciously choosing the better part whenever I can. The better thoughts -- even when, perhaps even especially when, that means working to reconcile with worst-case scenarios; the better words in all conversations including the ones with myself; the better actions in response to the people and the world I meet.

All life is precious. Handle with care.

©2018 April Hoeller

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Thursday, or Thereabouts - September 6, 2018

On this day...
      ...A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

White lace and promises

a kiss for luck...

...and we're on our way.

We'd only just begun.

Three years later, we cleared the land on a property on Cherry Street.

And built a house.

September 1978

1978 - With Gramps the Engineer

May 1980 - Norbert and my Dad

May 1980 - Mom & I

Then we got a dog of course: Sheba our first German Shepherd.

Children took a little longer, but arrive they did.

January 1985

March 1985

March 1987

Christmas 1987

We grew, we traveled.

Austria 1996

Spain 2005

We walked two dogs across the rainbow bridge when their time came, Sheba and Sasha.
#3 - Sophie is keeping us in line these days.



Cuba 2012

The house got a make-over and then a sunroom.

Wedding bells rang out again, and we grew some more.

June 2011

July 2015
July 2015

So here we are in 2018, 43 years later and still traveling together.

Iceland - June 2018

"Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin' it over, just the two of us
Workin' together day to day
Together, Together."

Songwriters: Roger S. Nichols / Paul H. Williams; performed by The Carpenters

©2018 April Hoeller