Monday, January 7, 2019

special sparrow

I wheeled up the drive and there like an ornament was a plump bird perched atop a shrub. It's head was dusky black, belly, roundly white. It was only as it turned and flashed russet that I knew.
A Towhee.
Not an unusual bird but somehow, in the cool afternoon light, it seemed an exotic stranger to the yard.
A special kind of sparrow.

hope on

I heard a sudden commotion behind me in the room.
"Snow!"
"Look, it's snowing."
"There's snow."
I turned and gazed at a cluster of teenage faces and followed their gaze to the windows beyond.
I squinted.
A few sparse flakes were dusting down like salt sparingly shaken.
Only in Abbotsford, I thought.
Only here at the coast would there be such awe and joy over next-to-no-snow falling.
We always hope though.
A few trees are pushing leaves already and bulbs are poking up through the soft, rain soaked ground.
But we still hope.
Pussy willows are just five or six weeks away.
But we hope on.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

it was me

From my high and lofty perch in the stands I spy my granddaughter, hockey stick in her grip, eyes on the play.
Yowzah, there was the puck!
But, could she get to it? Could she get to it before someone else?
She did!
But could she swing her stick AND hit the puck?
And before someone else came.
She did!
But would the puck head for the goal?
It did!!
That puck skimmed straight as an arrow.
Right through the startled goalies feet.
A goal.
Her first goal.
I heard someone screaming her name and realized it was me.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

unhurried sort of way

In September my littlest granddaughter clambered into hockey gear, hockey jersey and hockey helmet and teetered out onto the ice.
Ice is slippery.
Hockey sticks look like something to lean on but they slide too.
Her first practice was a lesson in getting up.
Tears and sweat were involved.
The second practice was still a lesson in getting up but no tears. Lots of sweat still though.
She was very determined.
"I'm going to do MUCH better next time," she declared joyously to me after school one day.
She had a goal in the beginning as most beginners do.
Hers is to be a better hockey player than her big brother.
She is starting younger than he and she is counting on that giving her the edge, no pun intended.
Today was her first game.
She has learned to skate.
She has learned to skate AND hold a hockey stick AND change directions whilst watching a puck.
She made contact with the puck more than once.
On purpose!
It was a joyous moment.
There will be a whole teams worth of joyous moments ahead no doubt, as well as for those of us huddled on the sidelines tapping our numb toes.
One of those moments today came as the other team toiled up the ice towards our goal.
It was at that exact moment our goalie decided to take a little break.
Here came the other team.
He lay down his stick.
Still coming.
He took off his gloves.
Still coming.
He took a little drink from his water bottle.
Intruders stormed the castle.
The puck made contact with a random stick.
It missed the goalie.
It missed the goal.
The goalie put down his water in an unhurried sort of way and picked up this gloves and stick.
Calm and cool as a cucumber. Good qualities in a goalie. The rest will come.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

sweet and clear

They had been to the rec center, the young father and his little girl. Now they were hastening to their car. Rain was steadily falling and puddles stretched far and wide. Especially wide. I heard him ask her something and then her voice answering, "I was jumping for joy,' she explained, her voice sweet and clear.

Friday, November 23, 2018

so much good


My grandfather is bending over a plow as my uncle Don sits astride Old Tommy the school horse. Something about this partnership motivated someone to fetch a camera. I can't be sure, but I wonder if the plow had been 'hacked' by my grandfather who like many in the 30's, was part inventor, part blacksmith and part magician.
Clearly the horse is a newbie at plowing potato patches.
A child is going to tell him where to turn and how quick to do it.
Old Tommy's ears are back and he is muttering to himself in 'horse.'
Grandfather is intent and bent.
His horse and a plow didn't come together but he is planning to make them work together.
The potato patch is large.
Sitting aloft is my uncle Don. His young face is serious. He and my grandpa are part of a team. He is needed and important to his father. I think this is why my eyes go first to this child on the horse every time.
Being part of a team; a useful, working, contributing part of family life, is the foundation of so much good.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

paid off

From her perch, high in the saddle, my granddaughter gazes steadily ahead as the horse crunches along the track. "You're sitting so nice and straight," her aunt admires. "My ballet paid off," she calls over her shoulder.