Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year's Eve 2016

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.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Monday Moanings - December 12, 2016

Good Morning Snow!

How do I know it's Monday? I woke up to this view out my front door:

Which is not so very unlike the view last Monday morning:

Back in the day when I worked in Church-land, it was frequently said, "if something happens twice it's tradition; it if happens three times it's immutable tradition."

THEREFORE it hath been decreed that on Monday mornings, 20cm of fresh snow is a tradition. 

The venerable scrutineer has attested to the occurrence.

In accordance with The Tradition, snow shovelling shall be the appropriate workout of the day.

Robed in white, the Great Puffin has pronounced his blessing.

So be it!

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 5 December 2016

Monday Moanings - December 5, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like...

The view outside my kitchen this morning

I awoke to a winter wonderland outside my door this morning. I love it! Nothing lifts my spirits quite so high as December snow. I couldn't wait to get out there with my camera.


No time for sitting here. Now it was all hands to the shovel and the snow blower. The big machine struggled with the heavy wet snow, lurching, spinning tires on the unfrozen ground. Then there was the shovel work. The walkways, deck and 'trim work' where the snow blower cannot go, require the old fashioned brute force approach. That was some workout, let me tell you. I even logged it in my fitness tracker as "weight training."

So many memories are unlocked by the first good snowfall.
   - the tingle when catching a snowflake on my tongue.
    - flopping down on my back to sweep out my arms and legs to make a snow angel and then struggling to get back up again without messing up the creation.
     - trudging through snow way over my boots, while singing Good King Wenceslas.
     - making snow forts, snowballs, and snowmen complete with a carrot nose and stone eyes, and outfitted with a ragged scarf and an old hat. Yes, they were always 'snowmen' but issues of gender never occurred to me.

How about snow sundaes? Now there was a treat, except in my childhood home, it was Aunt Jemima's syrup that was poured on the snow. We couldn't afford real maple syrup.

Quebec City, March 2008

I recall my mother loved a winter wonderland but only when viewed from inside a cosy house. I never saw a snow shovel in her hands. No sledding for her either. That was Dad's department.

One year I recall he and I even built ski hill in the back yard. We piled snow upon snow, stripping much of the back yard of its white cover (mother was not amused!), until there was a hill - well really more of mound - about a metre high and just as wide. The slope stretched out for something like 4 metres. The first problem was getting on the top without destroying the slope. Dad put his old wooden skis on the 'summit' then hoisted me up.

Yup, that's me all right - uh huh, in my dreams...

I got on the skis then planted the poles and pushed off. The skis inched forward, once. I tried again. Same result. Then Dad got behind the hill and gave the back of the skis a push. Down the hill I went - lurching, squeaking, scrunching the whole way down, inches at a time. No speed records. No wind in my ten year old face. I tried a couple of more 'runs' before abandoning the slope for a cup hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows on top.

Dad may not have known how to build a good ski hill, but he sure knew how to build a great memory!

Winter in Canada - there's no life like it!

©2016 April Hoeller