Tag Archives: Mother Nature

Wind storm prompts Only Child to random acts of kindness

Trees  bleak fall wind stormSouth and southwestern Ontario, Canada got hit with a horrible windstorm – gusts over 100 km in some places and much wind damage including trees down and power outages. Some places such as Kitchener and London, Ontario received flooding from the heavy rain. As I watched the videos about it on the weather network and listed what I did and didn’t want to happen, something good came out of all of this.

But first some background.

As many of you know I take the weather situations around the world seriously. No matter where you live you get plummeted with what I call the wrath of God, weather-wise. If you think I am nuts, just check out The Weather Network www.theweathernetwork.com or watch it on TV. The Force of Nature video clips are especially interesting, not just because they go round the world, but because of that title. Think about it “Force of Nature.” Really? Nature in that sense doesn’t seem appropriate. And then there is my favourite “Mother Nature” who in my mind doesn’t exist, especially when you think of all the extreme weather conditions as the norm worldwide. For those interested in the earliest recorded info about Mother Nature (not the Bible folks), and some variations through the ages, go to http://www.gotquestions.org/mother-nature.html

In previous posts I have also mentioned my takes on praying to God and the shakiness about “ask and you will receive.” So, with this storm coming and while it was here, I decided to lay it on the line, so to speak, to God about what I didn’t want to happen – not just for me but for everyone in the area being hit by the windstorm.

Those videos and stories on The Weather Network show that he didn’t listen completely. However, as I was checking for damage here and so far found I was lucky (We still have somewhat higher winds here in Toronto but not nearly as bad as last night, buy I’m keeping toes crossed), I made a decision.

We are all in this mess of weather God sends us. Some worse than others. As I watched some of the videos I felt badly for the people who lost homes from floods, winds, and in the Buffalo, New York area, from way too much snow last week. The latter claimed a dozen or so lives

Not right.

While I will continue to make my take on it all to God, etc., I plan to do some good. No I’m not rushing out to the damaged areas to help remove trees and restore hydro service. That’s for the experts.

Instead, I’m going to try to do random acts of kindness – once a day – all spontaneous. It may be as small as opening a door for someone or giving directions for someone trying to find a location. (I like to do the latter, perhaps because I have gotten lost before and just the thought of it is frightening).

Just to be clear, I am not doing it as Christian or Catholic duty. After all that has happened to me and what I have seen happen to others, I don’t consider myself Christian or Catholic anymore. Not sure what you would call me here – not agnostic or atheist and probably not even humanist, as I do believe in God – what I believe about him is just not any conventional belief. So what I want to do has nothing to do with God, religion and anything related.

I’m doing it because we are in the same leaky boat (any pun intended) in this life and if we don’t help one another some way, who will do it?

You probably can guess whom I think won’t do it.

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Floods, God, Only child, Prayer, Rain and wind storm, Sharon A. Crawford, Snow, Trees and Shrubs, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child on gardens back then and now

Only Child's new garden tool area on the patio

Only Child’s new garden tool area on the patio

In April, when the first tulip showed its face in the flowerbed under the living room window, Mom had to get out in her garden and do her vegetable, fruit and flower business. In the beginning, Mom and I moved in tandem with the garden and religion like we found parallels in them – both had beauty, filled us with awe, seemed to bring some order and ritual to our lives: plant seeds in spring and be rewarded with beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables and fruit in summer; go to Mass and communion on Sunday and be rewarded in life with only good. (Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2014 Sharon A. Crawford)

So starts that chapter of my memoir. That was in the early to mid-1950s. Compared that to this April, 2014.

Mark Cullen about sums up the havoc of the worst winter in memory in his weekly Toronto Star gardening column. The gardening expert and lecturer takes readers out to his large garden. Except for the crocuses popping up, the sights do not show a happy spring. He writes about winter burn on evergreens such as cedars, yews and boxwoods, snow and salt damage on soil. See http://www.thestar.com/life/homes/2014/04/17/damage_control_in_your_garden_begins_now.html for the full article.

My garden echoes his on a smaller scale size-wise. I don’t have any cedars and my yews have only a few brown branches. But my precious boxwood’s south-facing side is brown while the rest of the boxwood is turning green.

To top it off, Sunday when I finally opened the tool shed I found some water had seeped in- despite having put plastic around the bottom where walls meet the floor. The carpet was damp and the floor underneath wet. Fortunately in the fall I had enough sense to place the push lawn mower on top of something and wrap it in plastic. My experience has taught me not to trust that all will be okay.

This spring is not our usual spring, thanks to God and his weather. And for those scratching their heads at that comment, I am well aware of global warming. I also know that God gave us humans free will. Might it be that he doesn’t like what humans are doing with that free will so he is either letting the weather take its course and/or not looking after us and listening to our prayers? How many besides me prayed to have the ice storm not descend on us in Ontario last December 22 and afterwards?

And you can forget that Mother Nature stuff. No such person. Even if there were, the name “Mother” and destroying the earth just don’t go together…in my mind at least.

So after giving God a good scolding about the tool shed and telling him he owes me extra funds to pay someone to help me remove the heavy stuff (so I can dry it all out) and seal around the bottom, I got to work.

I removed what I could from the tool shed including patio and lawn furniture which (hopefully) can stay out until late fall. I turned the carpet back as far as I could, then dried its underside and the wooden shed floor with my hair dryer. It worked – what I could get at. Now, on warm days when it isn’t raining, I open the tool shed door and spread the carpet back out so some of the top can dry.

Of course someone with more muscle and know-how will have to remove the heavy stuff and do the sealing. Meantime, I tried to bring some beauty and joy to all the deadwood and brown still outside. I arranged the lawn/patio furniture, placed some pansies in pots around, and removed more of the dead branches from plants and shrubs in the backyard so the new could grow in – if it will. Some has and now, almost a month late, the tulips, irises and day lilies, some left over onions, and the rhubarb stems and leaves are surfacing. The small backyard grass area is beginning to turn green. No hyacinths, peonies yet though. Just a few crocus flowers but I’ll take those and try to breathe in some joy. My umbrella is up and on sunny warm days I can sit at my patio table to eat my meals. I also created a new area setup for my rakes, watering cans and other gardening “tools” on the patio. It shows good colour contrast and cohesion and exemplifies my purpose.

No matter what God shovels at us, I’m going to garden and get some joy out of it. It (along with my writing) is what saves any sanity I have left. The robins have finally returned as well as some of the other birds and I am enjoying their singing. Squirrels are back too and as long as they aren’t too rascally, this year I will try to live with them. The racoons are another matter.

Inside on my bedroom window sill I have tomato, peppers, basil, marigolds and other plants started and on their way to readiness to go out in my garden…whenever that will be this year.

May your garden grow well and bring you joy. And if you don’t have a garden, then adopt a park with flowers and spend some time there.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Sharon A. Crawford teaches memoir writing workshops and courses in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her next workshop, Getting Your Memoir off the Ground is Saturday, May 10, 2014 at Hugh’s Books and the Studio @ Hughs in east end Toronto. If you are in the Toronto area and want to learn more about writing memoir, this might be the workshop for you. More details on at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/SpeakersBureau.html

Leave a comment

Filed under 1950s, Garden Destruction, Gardening, Memoir writing, Only child memoir, Spring, Toronto, Weather

Only Child on gardening and weather

 Only Child as a toddler  in the backyard garden with her late Mom

Only Child as a toddler in the backyard garden with her late Mom

Yesterday I spent a bit of time clearing some of the garden. Removing  the dead perennial stems and branches so that the tulips, crocuses and hyacinths could appear in all their glory (finally) helped bring on the illusion of spring. I say “illusion” because of all the crappy weather occurring in North America and elsewhere in the world. I’m not convinced spring is here to stay but I’m taking what is offered.

The ritual and actual practice of doing anything in the garden tends to slow me down, including my usual racing mind. I can admire the different colours (although mostly purples so far) and smell the hyacinths. I can check out the tulip plants and see the beginning of a bulb in one and imagine the red tulips that will emerge and colour my garden.

If the “weather” doesn’t mess it all up.

Not a fanciful worry if you take into account all the recent/current floods in Ontario’s cottage country, in Illinois and Texas and what is just waiting to happen in North Dakota and Manitoba. There was even a tornado in Shelbourne, Ontario over the weekend as well as snow in different parts of Canada and the US. Around the world there are earthquakes, snowstorms, heavy winds, droughts, extremely hot and humid weather, etc. – much of it way out of typical seasonal weather.

But nothing is normal about the weather on planet earth anymore. No matter where you live you can’t escape it. The mostly calm and normal weather when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in southern Ontario, Canada (Toronto to be exact) no longer exists. Sure we had hot humid summer days (and no air conditioning). My mother used to set up the card table and chairs in the shade in the backyard or in the unfinished basement and bring out all the dishes and food for supper. Sure, we had Hurricane Hazel hit us in fall 1954 (and that is dating me) but that was it for extra-ordinary (that I can remember). None of these extremes in weather we experience now and certainly not what is now a given – basement flooding at some point or points in time.

And I’m going to go out on a limb here (figuratively speaking, for now anyway), and say I’m not sure it is all human-caused global warming. I’m not religious, but I think there might be something in the “ranting” and “predictions” of some religious groups. The world didn’t end in October 2012, but when you see/read about all the crazy weather, you start to wonder. To paraphrase a line from a commercial “it’s not nice to offend Mother Nature” – however, Mother Nature is a figment of someone’s imagination. I’ve touched on this in a previous post. The very word “Mother” does not bring up visions of constantly living on the edge of a bad weather precipice.

So what is one to do? I’m going to try to get out in the garden as much as I can…and enjoy the relative peace – that is when I’m not anchoring down garbage bins, chairs and potted plants.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Only Child' front garden - later in summer.

Only Child’s front garden – later in summer.

4 Comments

Filed under 1950s, Extreme Weather, Floods, Gardening, Mom and Dad, Only child, Rain and wind storm, Sharon A. Crawford, Sign of the Times, Snow, Toronto, Weather

Only Child asks why bother with hope and faith?

Only Child again contemplates some harsh realities

Only Child again contemplates some harsh realities

Last Wednesday’s mixed precipitation storm of slush caused me to cancel my monthly writing critique group for the first time ever. At first I thought it was an indirect way to give me the extra time needed to complete my prequel novel for my publisher’s deadline.

Then I went downstairs to do my twice daily check of the rec room floors. To my horror I discovered some water had leaked in through the inner wall where I hadn’t placed towels. I’ve had these water problems before and despite a big excavation two years to “fix” the problem, I still check the floors regularly and place down towels when it rains – because I have learned not to trust that all will be well. Last Wednesday’s was the first leak since the excavation. But, guess I should have spread towels out on the inner wall. I called the guy who did the repair work two years ago and he finally showed up last evening after dark. He says it is probably the caulking he put around one of the windows has come loose and he will just need to caulk it – no charge for that. But he can’t do it until it warms up (including during the night). Guess what? Later tonight we have possible freezing rain and rain tomorrow. Which I found out on the weather network online because…

When I turned on the TV this morning to get my morning weather dose from the weather network  I found nothing but black static and a message to call my service provider. Which I did – after 411 interrupted to give me the correct phone no. Apparently the one on my cable bill is incorrect. When I got through to technical support I heard a message that there is a problem with the digital adapter service in the Toronto area; they are working to fix it and service will be restored as soon as possible. So far… no service. They apologized.

Not good enough. Some of us (myself included) who live just above the poverty level can’t afford to convert to full digital service. For me that isn’t just getting an expensive digital TV, but my electrical outlets by the TV need converting to three-prong. An electrician refused last year to do the job because of having to cut through walls, etc. He made it sound like a real mess. Newsflash. I had this done in another area without any mess to create a new outlet so the air conditioner could have its own outlet. So I opted for an alternative last year – a digital adapter supplied by my cable company. The adapter and its delivery were free of charge but they wanted to charge to get one of their technicians to hook it up. So, I pulled the senior card and after much hassle and talking I got it connected free of charge. It has a two-prong plug-in and I use an extension cord to plug in the TV and a lamp.

These are just recent examples of why I have so little trust and faith. Fool that I am, I still put it out there daily to god, universe – whatever you want to call it (Some would call it “praying”). Every day I also give gratitude for what I am grateful for and do the opposite for what I’m not grateful for (i.e. what is wrong in my life). The latter list is getting longer and may catch up with the grateful list.

I don’t expect my life or anybody else’s to be perfect, but I think less aggravations and problems would help. Being an only person having to deal with everything myself puts me in a more precarious position.

Somewhere back in the days when I was growing up Catholic and still believed in trust, faith and miracles, I was taught that nobody gets more crosses to bear than they can manage.

Not true. I’m living proof of that and so are many others. To take it beyond the personal – look at what is happening around the world – for example the homeless and some of that due to weather.

Yes, back to weather. As the guy who did the excavation said, our winters are no longer just cold and snow; we get rain mixed in and that causes a lot of problems. I remember even as far back as the early to mid-1990s when winters were winter with no rain until spring.

What have I learned? Besides life being unfair, you can really count only on yourself. And if you can’t, you might as well be dead.

One more thing. If I hear anymore reference to Mother Nature in connection with bad weather, I will scream. “Mother” and “bad weather” (any kind) is a misnomer and an oxymoron. Just think about that.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Aloneness, Floods, Learning Experience, Life demands, Living alone, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Trust, Weather, Winter Weather