Thursday, 23 March 2023

Thursday, or Thereabouts - March 23, 2023

Most mornings I wake up with a tune playing in my head. It might be an orchestral piece but most often it is a song and barring any upheavals during the day, this music sets the tone for my day. This morning as I walked from bed to bathroom, I did so to the tune of the Banana Boat song bubbling around in my brain.Here's the song made famous by Harry Belafonte in 1956 - have a listen:

It was a regular occurrence in my childhood home for either one of my parents to suddenly break into song and this tune popping into my head this morning took me back to any Saturday morning in that living room. My sisters and I are sitting around quietly doing our own things, my mother in the kitchen clearing away breakfast dishes when Dad ambles into the living room without any apparent purpose, stops then BELLOWS,  "Day-O! Day-ay-ay-o!" 

We all knew the song so well, that once we recovered from the surprise, we jumped to our feet singing along, "Daylight come and me wan' go home..." and forming up a conga line dance behind my Dad, a turn of two around the living room before moving through the hall to the kitchen, through the dining room and back to the living room. Such great fun!

A happy welcome to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, Feb. 21, 2023

Singing was an integral part of all family gatherings. A lull in the conversation, especially if the subject matter had become controversial or solemn, provided the perfect opportunity for someone one in the clan to break into song, or even just begin humming one. That's all it took. We all joined in, some introducing a little harmony, some inventing new words to throw us off and evoke uproarious laughter. Such great fun. Such joyous memories on this rainy day. 

I'm off to do a few more calypso turns around the kitchen, then on with my day. Cheers!

©2023 April Hoeller


Monday, 20 March 2023

Monday Meander - March 20, 2023

Wait for it... 

As calls to dinner begin this evening Lady Spring will slip in. With a simple tick, or perhaps it will be a tock at 17:24 EDT, she will sigh into her place along great wheel of the year. And just like that, her symphony will begin.

The opening notes consist of erratic percussion work as snow melt sends water droplets into the eaves troughs. Then a steady trickle builds along the roof line moving toward the entry of the downspouts with a  distinctive gurgle and rattle. Soon this glorious water music is accompanied by an avian chorus, filling the air with tweets, chirps and trills as winged creatures great and small swoop and swirl in the warm sun.

It will be a long percussion introduction this year. There's a lot of snow to melt! 

A  whole whackload along the roadside and 19cm (7.5 inches) on the ground outside my door.  But that is quite an improvement over the 49cm that was on the ground just 16 days ago.

My favourite part of the Spring symphony is unheard heartbeat that pulsates underneath it all -  a throbbing, that rises and falls, rolls and flows beneath the still winter wrapped ground, aching for emergence. This morning, amidst the debris of winter, the first signs of  this beating heart are visible.

 "Spring drew on... and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night and left each morning brighter traces of her steps." — Charlotte Bronte

Tis a grand day!
Take a deep breath.

Mother Earth is stirring.
Just below the horizon her greening has begun.

©2023 April Hoeller

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Thursday, or Thereabouts - March 16, 2023

The day after and the day before - the soothsayer and the saint

Julius Caesar made an error in judgment on March 15 in 44 B.C. Scoffing at a soothsayer's warning about the Ides of March, he went to the Roman Senate where he was stabbed to death by 60 conspirators. Helped in large part by Shakespeare's telling of the story, March 15 comes around each year with the warning: 

Well I'm still here on the day after. No stabbing pains anywhere, (which at my age is somewhat remarkable!) and I'm still in power - at my house anyway. All because I did not got to the Senate. So there! 

I've never belonged to a senate let alone gone to a meeting of one and I'm not likely to ever be a Senator, but surely that's a moot point?  I pay attention to warnings from soothsayers, saints, and those niggling bad feelings about situations and people. I do my research and proceed (or not) with caution. It's worked for me so far.

Now, on to the next celebration to which I have no ancestral claim: St. Patrick's Day. No Irish blood as far as I know, yet I will be baking up Irish soda bread and oat cakes today to accompany a few brew friends joining us on tomorrow. 

A cheesy friend or two will also be on board for Friday.

Today, tomorrow, and every day...

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.


©2023 April Hoeller

Monday, 13 March 2023

Monday Meander - March 13, 2023

Spring Forward?

The clocks have done their Spring Forward bit, the sap is running in the sugar maples, and it's the Spring Break for schools here, but the view outside my door is not springing along. I am less than thrilled to see that another 5cm of new snow has fallen overnight. Four months ago this sight would have tickled me with joy and set my feet dancing. Today it makes me grumble and stomp.

Twas ever thus! March has always been the battleground between winter and spring in these parts. Some years spring comes on strong, swiping away the winter white in quick time. 

Versus Today:

Some years winter gets the upper hand and spring is forced to scramble around underneath a white blanket until that magical moment when persistence wins and winter dissolves. The snowdrops, crocus, and daffodils then push their heads up through the soil and the land turns green. 

April 8, 2022

The pandemic has taught me to appreciate the unfolding of normal in my world, to embrace its ponderous process and breathe along with its ins and outs. The Spring will come. In fact all this snow outside my door bodes well for soil moisture at the beginning of the growing season. 

There's a happy thought on this Monday morning. Have a great week. 

©2023 April Hoeller

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Thursday, or Thereabouts - March 9, 2023

"I arise today

In the name of Silence
Womb of the Word,

In the name of Stillness
Home of Belonging,

In the name of Solitude
Of the soul and the Earth."

John O’Donohue, Irish poet and philosopher
“Matins” (Morning Prayer)
From To Bless the Space Between Us

Wrapped in warmth and sunshine I sat in the sunroom yesterday, my body comfortable in my writing space, my home. The many months since I last wrote a blog post or even a journal entry have been event-FULL while still wrapped in the pandemic. I could re-visit all the happenings, ups, downs, and sideways, but why bother with stuff in the rear view mirror? Today is a new day so I'll begin there and see where my "write" hand takes me.

In my journal writing I have noticed that in a frantic attempt to keep up with my thoughts, my pen moves onto the next word without finishing the last one. The page becomes messy with angry cross outs only to be replaced with a similar error and another cross out. My joy in writing comes in large part from physical act of writing longhand with a fountain pen. Errors in that process are truly annoying! Perhaps I need to make an effort to write more slowly. The thoughts can't disappear that fast can they? Maybe they can...I mean sometimes when speaking I start a sentence and then forget where I was going with it. Normal perhaps for one pushing 70 but not welcome. 

Just this morning I spent an hour looking for one of my favourite fountain pens. I was sure that I had tucked it away in a safe location before we went on vacation. This pen is my most expensive and I didn't want to come home to find it missing. Yet that is exactly what happened, no break in or theft required. I searched all the likely hidey holes umpteen times then went on to the highly unlikely but you never know places, before coming back to the more usual drawers and cupboards. 

The man then joined in the search, no doubt drawn by the sound of drawers slamming and expletives. Standing in the kitchen I looked across the harvest table to engage my husband in a discussion of search strategy.  I was about to open my mouth when my brain registered what my eye had seen amongst the clutter of stuff on the table - a tan leather case standing upright in its usual place, the case I had bought at the Toronto Pen Show in October. My inner critic screamed in my head, "You IDIOT! It's in the pen case the one YOU bought to hold all the precious fountain pens!"

Oh crap, Really? Well, yes there it was right where it belonged, tucked safely upright, hidden in plain sight. Humbled but not defeated, I headed to the warmth and light of my writing space, opened a brand new journal and began to write again. 

It's another sunny day here today and sunroom beckons. See y'all later.


Monday, 24 May 2021

Monday Meander - May, 24, 2021

Victoria Day 2021

It's the day that originally celebrated the birthday of the late great Queen Victoria (born May 24, 1819) but since 1957 also includes Canada's official birthday celebration of Queen Elizabeth II.  

God save the Queen. Bless her heart. 

Queen Elizabeth II - Canada's official portrait (March 2019)

It's the long weekend known as the May "TWO-FOUR" weekend, with a generous nod to what is known as a case of beer in Ontario. I wonder how the grand ladies Victoria and Elizabeth feel about their party being supplanted by hops and malt? Amused? Or not? Well actually, none of us is amused that this is the second year in row when the #1 long weekend of the year, the one that kicks off the summer season, is hemmed in by pandemic restrictions.

Ah, but the sun is shining on this holiday Monday. It is a grand day to celebrate the little things, the simple joys...

 A solar fountain in the bird bath....

...that needs more water according to a special little one.

Nothing more needed to say.

©2021 April Hoeller

Monday, 10 May 2021

Monday Meander - May 10, 2021

Baskets and Birds

The Mother's Day weekend has always been the time when I set out six to eight hanging baskets of blooming colour around the house. At first, this year looked like it would be a fail as my perusal last Wednesday of my usual sources turned up nothing I either wanted nor was willing to pay. Two garden centres were just setting out stock and what they had was, in a word, meh. Friday's excursion proved modestly better but Saturday's drop in at a grocery store outdoor garden centre was perfect.

Hanging baskets are the best choice in my part of the world for this time of year as frost remains a distinct possibility until the first week of June (even later there can be unwelcome chilly surprises).

Every evening since Friday, I've had to bring the blooms into the garage as temperatures dropped to freezing. Tonight's forecast again is advising of frost. I might be okay with that, but unless one is up and out first thing in the morning, sunshine is also missing from too much of too many days. As I've been writing this, the clear blue skies of 9am have have once again been overtaken by clouds. It's getting as tedious as a pandemic lockdown! 

Even the hummingbirds are tentative in their return with just one showing up now and then.

And I've yet to see a Baltimore Oriole at the feeder, but I know they have been sighted in the vicinity. The orange, nectar and grape jelly are all set up for them. Goldfinches, chipping sparrows and pine warblers are the main attraction at my feeders.

Pine Warbler

Elsewhere in the yard, the first trim of the lawn  has been done and the forget-me-nots and wild strawberry blossoms are popping up... are the tulips, though the cool temperatures keep them closed up to stay warm.

The rhubarb is set for first harvest by mid-week.

And that's the way it is as the second week of May kicks into gear.

Stay safe. Be well.
Enjoy the emerging colour and bird song of spring. 

©2021 April Hoeller