The Season for Birdhouses

When I was young people built birdhouses in the spring hoping to entice some feathered friends to move in. Most of those neighbours were swallows, but sometimes other birds would take up residence. Hubby still builds birdhouses and with all the extra time on his hands I’m sure construction will continue in the weeks ahead. Last year we had a family of chickadees as well as the swallows.

Here is the latest duplex that Hubby made completely out of recycled material. I hope the birds appreciate his efforts to reuse.

I realize that this house probably does not exemplify the meaning of physical or social distancing that is so important at this time, although I think so long as the birds don’t object they will be fine. In fact, I’m willing to bet on it.

In some ways I consider myself fortunate during these times of the COVID 19 pandemic as we have 7.5 acres to roam around on. Our property also boarders a lake. Yesterday, I sat by the water’s edge, felt the warmth of the sun on my face, and for a time I stayed totally present. I didn’t think about what all was going on in the world, the all the worries about the future and exactly what the world would look like when we finally come through to the other side. I didn’t fret about the launching of my book this spring which is obviously on hold. I pushed away my sadness of not being able to visit with our grandchildren in the coming months and the reality that rural living means poor internet access for many of us. We are not even able to set up virtual visit.

So I sat there yesterday, taking in the beauty and feeling totally grateful for the moment and the entire day which couldn’t have felt more perfect. The air was quiet and I could hear the sound of water trickling from one place to another. There was a trio of Canada geese peacefully maneuvering their way across the water. Ducks quacked and fluttered their wings. The geese honked.

As I sat there looking out across the water, I thought about the people who lived in our home before us. I thought about how much harder life was for them back then and how hard they had to work. They did not have any of the modern things we take for granted these days; washing machines, dishwashers, TV, computers. I wondered if they ever had the chance to just sit by the lake watching and listening or if they were just too busy to appreciate it all. I thought, what a shame it was if they didn’t.

As it is important for us to remain hopeful during these uncertain times, please remember that there have been many before us who have faced adversity and came through stronger. We will too. I will leave you with this wonderful symbol of hope.

 

Stay strong. Stay at home. We will get through this.

 

Another Blast of Winter in Spring

Winter just doesn’t seem to want to go away this year. Here in East Dalhousie we were blessed with about 10 cm of snow last night. Some of it melted during the afternoon, and the eaves are still dripping. That said, we’ve been told to expect another 15 cm overnight. I’m not sure what will happen to the tulips in our garden that suddenly burst through the ground late last week, but I’m hoping they’ re hardy enough to survive this next blast of winter weather this spring. But this is not unusual for spring, nor is our complaints that winter just doesn’t want to give up. Still, with each warm day we’re granted, hope stirs inside us. That’s the one thing about hope. It seems no matter how many times we’re disappointed with the outcome of something, we remain hopeful that next time the results we’re looking for will finally show up.

It’s like that when writing a book. Most times it takes several attempts before I end up with the results I want. Some authors write many drafts before they declare the story completed. I tend to edit and revise as I go along, and often never get a first draft completely written out so I have no idea how many drafts I go through. Back when I was writing Flying with a Broken Wing I became dissatisfied with the story and even stopped working on it, so sure I was that it was never going to amount to anything, let alone anything publishable. So I took a break from it and went back to it many months later filled with new hope that this time I was going to make it to the end. And I did!

I actually started the book I’m working on now about the same time that I started Cammie Takes Flight, and while Cammie’s been a book now for nearly a year, that other book is still waiting for me. I don’t expect I’ll ever be a fast writer. Many times I feel as though the story is struggling to find me. Sometimes there’s a lot of static in the way. But when the lines finally become clear, sentences and paragraphs begin to fall into place. That’s when I know for sure the story I’m working on will not get abandoned along the wayside.

And while I’m hopeful that spring will soon be here to stay, there is definitely no guarantee. Just as there is no guarantee that the story I’m presently working on will make it into book form. Still, amidst the struggles and frustration, I try to remain hopeful. It may not always be possible. I sometimes fall into a rut and become discouraged even with three published books and over forty published short stories. I’m fairly certain I’m not alone in this. We all become discouraged from time to time. But it’s our ability to pick ourselves up time and time again, to find that small bit of hope and run with it as fast as we can, that is responsible for all the accomplishments we achieve in life.

I’ll leave you with this quote that I find particularly inspiring. Maybe you will, too.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Winter Photos

There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself. ~Ruth Stout

Here are a few snowy photos taken at Black Duck Lake yesterday after Saturday night’s snowstorm. DSC04758

DSC04754

Before this happened there was scarcely a scab of snow to be found. It looked more like spring in these parts than winter. Not only that, the temperature was on the plus side all week long. Nice, since we’d just come through a cold snap.

But, Mother Nature decided to remind us that winter is far from being over. Although spring was flirting with us, she certainly isn’t ready to stay anytime soon.

DSC04731

I’ve been busy writing this winter, as you would expect. The cold weather makes me want to stay close to home and put a pot of soup on the stove to scorch  simmer. I  also have some reading to catch up on– along with all the usual boring things like housework– as I wait from spring to  arrive again.

What are you doing this winter? Are you enjoying the beautiful scenery or are you hoping for an early spring?

Don’t Let Crappy Keep You Down

We’ve had a bit of a crappy spring here in Nova Scotia, and of course we’ve been grumbling. There have been scarcely had any sunny days in May, and April wasn’t much better. Still, we have to count ourselves fortunate that we haven’t been plagued with floods, fires, tornadoes or earthquakes. Really, what right have we to grumble with all that’s going on in the world around us? There is so much for us to be grateful for.

Last week I won two books by entering online contests. Our son also graduated from university on Friday. Then too, I won on the lottery! That’s right, a whopping 5 bucks, but a win no less. There is a lot in my life to feel grateful for.

Today, as I wandered around outside, I also felt gratitude for all the new spring flowers and blossoms that are opening up. Just think, in spite of our crappy cold damp weather, they still recognize that it is spring. They’re out there doing their part without complaint.

The same could be said for us. In life, we are often plagued with difficulties. Things don’t turn out the way we want them to. We have to work harder than we’d hoped to achieve our desires, and we become disappointed when failure smacks us upside the head again. Why can’t things go along smoothly? Why can’t we get the things we want in life?

Still, there is usually something for us to look toward with gratitude. It doesn’t have to be something huge. It doesn’t have to be something as remarkable as having one of your kids graduate from university. What’s wrong with winning a book or even five dollars? What’s wrong with the sight of spring blossoms, their sweet aroma filling the air around us?

When discouragement sets in, and we’re ready to give up, don’t forget to acknowledge the good that is already there. When rejection comes my way, it’s so easy for me to forget about all the times an editor sent word that my work has been accepted. Remember that one disappointment should not take away from all the positive things that have come our way. Yet, I will admit, it is easy to forget when we’re down there in the pit of despair.

Sometimes we just have to dig our heels in further and keep on going once we’ve tried our disappointment on for size. Got to remember that it’s okay to try on the ugly things just to see what it looks like, but no way are we going to take that ugly thing home with us to keep.

So, here are a few blossoms for you and for me. A reminder that, even though things may be crappy, life goes on. We’ll still get where we want to go eventually. The apple blossoms don’t seem to realize that the weather’s been cold and dismal here in Nova Scotia. They’re still willing to show up regardless of the weather. So, how about you?

Signs of Spring

Yesterday, I was writing about Christmas and making lists. Now I’m back to blogging about Spring… Wonder why?

In my little corner of Nova Scotia, the pussywillow is one of the first signs of spring. We anxiously watch to see those tiny white bits of fluff break through their winter jackets.

Here are some pussywillows my husband picked just yesterday. December 5th.

Could it be? I mean do you suppose?

I like to think that anything is possible even if it is not probable.

Is It Really Spring?

Spring seems to have arrived early in Nova Scotia. Buds are swelling, mayflowers are blooming, and the lakes have been free of ice for weeks now.

And people are suspicious. They want to believe, yet they aren’t quite sure. What if this is just a taste of spring and they’ll wake one morning to find that winter has returned? They’ve been sending out warnings.

“Don’t get too used to it.”

“We haven’t seen the last of the snow.”

I choose to ignore the warnings.

Over the Easter weekend we had record-breaking temperatures. While Halifax was basking in 25 c temperatures, the normal for this time of the year is 5c. It’s been simply wonderful.

I’ve decided it doesn’t matter what might be waiting down the road because I’m going to enjoy the sunshine and warm temperatures today.

I’m posting a photo of some Mayflowers my Aunt picked for me over the Easter weekend. I only wish you could smell their fragrance.

I say, enjoy the gifts we are given and, try hard not to worry about something that might never come to pass.

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