Nest in the Hawthornes


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Winter is the most peaceful season of the year, here in our valley. I work in my east-facing study overlooking the fields and forest. Often, as the wind hurled snow and the house shuddered, I could see nothing but swirling whiteness.

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Or feel the house shake as the plow rumbled down the driveway during a blizzard.

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We went cross-country skiing over 80 times!

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On a warm week in January, we went to New York City, where I had my photograph taken in Central Park. The photo will accompany my essay, “Songs for Cricket,” appearing in Lost and Found and Other Pieces: 32 Women Reflect on Life, edited by Emily Upham and Linda Gravenson, with photograpy by Sedat Pakay. The book will be published by Simon and Schuster, March, 2010.

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At the end of the winter, our friend Peter de Graaf came with his Percherons, Emma and Judy, and “horse logged” dying red pine trees from our hedgrows. As I worked in my garden shed, I heard the muffled thud of hooves, the jingle of harness, birdsong and freshets. And I thought how in the early days of this farm these peaceful noises would have been the sounds of agriculture.

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I started seedlings in our sun room and set them out in the garden as soon as the weather warmed.

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A winter of rehearsing with the Sussex Choral Society, directed by David Mitchell, came to an satisfying culmination in a spring concert.

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In June, family and friends gathered to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. In spite of torrential rain, 40 people canoed on the Kennebecasis River in a dragon boat, a voyageur canoe, and kayaks. In the evening, we gathered at the Hampton River Centre for an evening of food, music, and outrageous story-telling.

Winter 2009 canoeingIMG_1109-2 Winter 2009 p and b laughing

Now we are deep into a summer of seemingly eternal rain, on our 20th day of cloud and storm. Conversations revolve around slugs, climate change, and failed crops. However, the energy of renewal evidences itself in many ways. In the barn, the swallows have raised another generation of babies; worm-carrying robins flit urgently to their nest in the hawthornes. Strawberries are ripening, the potato plants are softened with purple blossoms, and the ditches are filled with daisies, buttercups, and lupines.

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We’ve made a third vegetable garden, replacing our front lawn with rows of Jacob’s cattle beans, onions, and potatoes. Here it is on a rare day of sunshine.

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And our granddaughters are enjoying a flower house made of sunflowers, scarlet runner beans, and nasturtiums.

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I recently taught a one-day workshop at the Maritime Writer’s Workshop in Fredericton, called “Life Writing,” followed by a reading at the James Joyce Pub along with fellow writers Biff Mitchell, Joe Blades, and other members of The Black Top Motorcycle Gang (of which I’m a proud member).

The literacy project I have been involved with, which paired writers with new readers, has resulted in a book to be published by Goose Lane Editions, Fredericton, with a pub date of October 2, 2009. It will be called Breaking the Word Barrier: Stories of Adults Learning to Read.

My novel, The Sea Captain’s Wife, has gone into production. It is now away being copy-edited. Soon I’ll be reviewing the edit – second-guessing or confirming word choices, semi-colons, and facts. What was a wispy, dream-like glimpse of possibility becomes an actual book, and I feel a deep sense of excitement as the world I’ve inhabited for so long is on the brink of flight, its world soon to be shared.

With hopes that your summer will lead you down lovely paths,

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