Monday, 14 January 2019

Monday Moanings - January 14, 2019


I am so scattered today, unable to settle on anything. Like the chickadees and nuthatches at my birdfeeders today, I'm flitting around, in and out, over and under. There is no root cause that I can see, no smoking gun, just a jumble of knotted strands of life threads that for some reason have taken over all matter of brain function.
I'm heading out on a hike in an attempt to clear the clutter.
In the meantime enjoy this day with the birds...

Black-capped Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker and Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Mourning Dove

©2019 April Hoeller

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Thursday, or Thereabouts - January 10, 2019

Correspondence Day

Winter is back!  After a brief sojourn in rain and slush and muck, our land is blanketed in white once again. The temperature has sunk to -10°C (14°F) with a wind that will rip your face off. The good news - the sun is shining! Still, it's going to be an indoor day for me.

I will surround myself with warmth - fleece, blankies, and tea - while I have a poke around my inbox. Would that it were an actual box, with real letters in it, handwritten missives telling of concerns, questions, well wishes, and interesting tidbits of life; something like the red box of government papers sent to the Queen daily.

I don't want to sit in front of a computer screen tapping out individual elements of the English alphabet to make words, sentences, paragraphs. I want to sit at my writing desk today, pen in hand, fine paper before me and do that old-fashioned thing. I want to form flowing cursive script on cream coloured pages with torn edges.

I don't want to use emoticons, however yellow, cute, funny, clever or animated, to convey some kind of emotional state. The honest moments and movements of my heart need words, real words born of thought-FULL-ness; words that don't always come easily, that often struggle to be a handhold, a hug, a substitute for eye to eye, heart to heart communication.

If I find that writing takes too much time, there is a Plan B. Another old-fashioned instrument lies within arms reach, the one invented by Alexander Graham Bell (and Yes, I do still have a landline!). To speak and talk in real time, with a real person - what a concept! It is so much more satisfying and effective than a ping and flash of words across a smartphone screen. And there is far less chance of miscues and mix-ups occasioned by the plethora of abbreviations.

This is not a rant against tech. I use it - no kidding, eh? I appreciate its speed, efficiency, and encyclopedic (though not always accurate!) data. And yes, at some point, I will end up keyboarding some of my cursive paragraphs. The information superhighway is unlikely to get buried by an avalanche of paper anytime soon.

BUT I don't want to sacrifice the irreplaceable skill of written, hand-written, words on paper and that two way street of listening and speaking that is person to person conversation, especially in matters of the heart, in those relationships that matter most.

The kettle is boiling, my pens are fueled up with ink. WRITE!

©2019 April Hoeller

Monday, 7 January 2019

Monday Moanings - January 7, 2019

The massive undoing of Christmas as it is on display in this house lies before me, a task that brings me no joy. The Christmas Magician who worked so hard to pull the feast and festivities out of the ordinary hat now must become the Christmas Undertaker directing the interment of wreaths and garlands, trinkets and treasures, and umpteen baubles and bells.
January is such a downer! 

Unless... follows the Julian calendar...

... then today is Christmas Day!

Just for today let me set aside the undoing of Christmas to stand in solidarity with Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters.

Let me rise to belt out one more rousing chorus of Hark the Herald Angels Sing!

In celebration with my daughter-in-law and her family,
        let there be one more lighting of the tree and the Christmas candle,
one more heart to heart and hand to hand.

Let there be one more

Merry Christmas!

Srećan Božić
Hristos se rodi

©2019 April Hoeller

Friday, 4 January 2019

Thursday, or Thereabouts - Friday, January 4, 2019

Returning to Regularly Scheduled Programming...

It is indeed January and here I am back home on the blog for January - albeit a day late. "Thereabouts" is the surely the adjective of the week. Nothing seems certain except that somehow it is 2019 and I am here sitting in my wagon ready to push off into the new month and new year.
               Well, sort of ready.
                              Maybe just thinking about getting ready...
and facing backwards.

That season we were in such a rush to get to, in such a frenetic flurry of frolic to celebrate, now seems to be the season we can't get rid of fast enough. It's a shame really. I mean not even the Wise Men have shown up yet and we're being pushed to kick the family and feast to the curb.

But in my house, the creche, the tree, the lights indoors and out, stay up and twinkling until Epiphany (January 6) and then a couple of days more in honour of Orthodox Christmas (January 7).

The only elements of our faith-full celebrations that have been tucked away are the menorah and the dreidels. Hanukkah enriched our house from December 2nd to the 10th.

Though slow to step up to the plate, a week from now I too will join the throngs of those batting Christmas out of the house, out of sight, undoing much of what was done in December.

From twinkling lights to festive tables;

from Christmas trees to crystal stars...

... and crafted angels;

from creche to shepherds and a trio of late magi, who I'm sure will show up at the appointed time;
from dancing rabbis and candles,

from cookies to waistbands; all in their own way must give way to the new year.

Empty of the razzle-dazzle that powered December days, a hodgepodge of resolutions -

 to do more, to do less; to be more, to be less

- rush in to fill the void in life's fuel tank. 

January is just one big correction after another.

©2019 April Hoeller

Monday, 31 December 2018

New Year's Eve - December 31, 3018

The Gate of the Year

First published in 1908 with the title "God Knows" this poem gained greater prominence in 1939 when King George VI spoke the opening lines in his Christmas broadcast to a British Empire plunged into World War II.

The words of Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957) capture my heart on the threshold of this and every new year.

 "And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
        “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
        “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
          That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East."

"So heart be still:
    What need our little life
    Our human life to know,
    If God hath comprehension?
    In all the dizzy strife
    Of things both high and low,
    God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
    Is best. The stretch of years
    Which wind ahead, so dim
    To our imperfect vision,
    Are clear to God. Our fears
    Are premature; In Him,
    All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
    God moves to lift the veil
    From our impatient eyes,
    When, as the sweeter features
    Of Life’s stern face we hail,
    Fair beyond all surmise
    God’s thought around His creatures
    Our mind shall fill."

Happy New Year
to all my readers and friends. 
I wish you health and happiness.

©2018 April Hoeller

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Thursday, or Thereabouts - November 29, 2018

ENOUGH Already!
I will certainly be happy to kick this month to the curb tomorrow!

The last Thursday of this wretched November dawned much like every day before it - overcast with below normal temperature and some new snow. The graph of the energy output from our solar panels says it all:

And the comparative graph proclaims this November to the worst month in their six-year history on our roof.

This November has also dumped a heavy coat of gloom over my internal landscape. It's been a struggle to be energetic, though the occasional fresh coats of snowy whitewash do much to prevent such listlessness from becoming overwhelming.

The "in-my-face" non-stop bombardment of retail advertising that has also characterized this month has only increased my grumpiness. Enough already! I don't need more stuff in my life, or my house. I will not be thrilled beyond measure to get a good deal on one more bauble, gadget or even ugly sweater. What I wish for is less junk, less clutter, more clarity, more confidence. Oh, and more SUNSHINE would be nice.

"Your wish is granted," announce the ancients from the dark times of old...

Come this Sunday, the lighting of the darkness begins. It is the First Sunday of Advent and a single light will be kindled on Advent wreaths all over the world.

Later, when the first star of the evening appears on Sunday, two lights will brighten the night as the shamash and the first candle on menorahs announce the beginning of Hanukkah all over the world.

The light is coming. Amen to that!

©2018 April Hoeller

Monday, 26 November 2018

Monday Moanings - November 26, 2018

Some kind of virus has taken over every media platform, website, radio, and TV station.
It came in two waves:

Followed by:

There was a time a few years ago when the sales rant was a tad less virulent, the deals more real, and I was more tolerant. I happily indulged in the "not to be missed" offers. I wrapped up Christmas gifts in just an hour or so of mouse clicks.

BUT these events have morphed into something of a global epidemic, due in no small part to the older sibling Black Friday's girth. Together Black and Cyber have crept into the days between and around the namesakes. Black Friday advertising began a week ago - and don't get me started about Black Friday's invasion of Canada! Cyber Monday adverts began on Thursday.

I don't want to see or hear another word about it. I am sick of it all. My footfall has not echoed in any mall or big box store since over a week ago and I'm not going to buy a single thing on the web today. I'm not even wasting any time perusing the offers. I delete them as fast as they plink into my mailbox. And I'm not alone in my rising distaste for such overblown consumerism. Hashtags such as #NotOneDime and #BuyNothingDay have gained traction of late. There is hope...

The day after all the frenzied sales pitches has acquired the moniker of  Giving Tuesday. Charities will be out in force trying to pick up any crumbs of coinage left after the spending fury. Good on them for trying to counter the retail onslaught. And YES I will be supporting my favourite charities - Medecins sans Frontieres, my local hospital, and arts community.

But WHY let me ask, is giving always in third place after getting and more getting? It's wrong!
Giving Tuesday belongs BEFORE the hoopla of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

I don't suppose the idea will gain much traction...except in my house. It's a start.

©2018 April Hoeller