More and more I’ve been feeling tuned in to the changing of the seasons, the moon cycles, and the sludgy slowness of my own body and self over the past months. It feels less annoying when I tune in to the world itself – also hibernating, cool and damp.

We just passed Equinox, that balance point of day and night that happens only twice a year, and finally, finally, we’re sliding into spring.

There is a magnolia bush outside my front entrance, framing the right side of the deck, and although I’d noticed buds everywhere, it wasn’t until the other day that I SAW the blossoms unfurling. Creamy white, still tightly furled, but with shadowed openings where the edges of the blossoms have started to pull away.

There’s nothing like a fully grown and energetic kid to remind me that I’m getting older. We went for a run the other day. She’s on spring break, I have extra time on my hands, and the timing has turned out great.

Needing to get out of the house, and finally having a non-raining somewhat clear day, we found a compromise. I wanted a hike in a forest. She didn’t. So a run it was. A short one – just 4.5 km. However, I’m an intermittent runner, despite my best intentions, which are always falling flat.

There’s also nothing like running with a springbok 13 year old, legs going on forever, to remind me, as she sprints ahead, and sits to wait while I sluggishly and out-of-shapedly plod along, that’s I’m 1 – out of shape, and 2 – no longer the 16 year old who could run 5km in 22 minutes without a single bit of training. Embarrassingly, with breaks to walk, we (I) did it in 48 minutes. Well, yes, I’m not 16 anymore. A little lazier, a little older, a little heavier. But, it was an enjoyable 48 minutes. So it is.

Over the past winter I’ve been enjoying reading again. Real books, real fiction, real literature. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like I could sink into a good long story. Since before my university days actually.

These books, by Canadian authors, have been enriching and inspiring me, and have created many moments of pause as well.

Human nature, and the crushing relentlessness of the social and national stews we are steeped in, no matter what generation, it’s all so eloquently written about in Ann Marie Macdonald’s book The Way The Crow Flies. Haunting too, as it’s inspired by the real life story of Canadian teenager Stephen Truscott who was falsely convicted of murder.

Joseph Boyden’s harrowing book The Orenda explores a turning point in the colonial history of Canada and the United States, following the intertwined lives of a Jesuit priest, a Haudenosaunee girl and a Huron chief.

Joseph Boyden, the author, is also an interesting and polarizing man. This article discusses his growth into a writer, and this article is a critique of his book.

A few months ago I stumbled across The Love Queen of Malabar somewhere, and really loved reading about these two women writers and their friendship. It was my first introduction to the poet Kamala Das, and I’m truly smitten by her words, the grace and rawness of her language.

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan was a revelation in language, history and how deeply the choices we make affect us. Harrowing, and beautiful. Because the author lives a 45 minute drive from me in Victoria, BC, I entertain mini fantasies of running into her somewhere, and exclaiming with praise over her book.

And, I most recently finished The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood. In fact, I’m falling back in love with her, she’s got such an incredible halo of curly grey hair, such a wickedly intelligent somewhat sassy smile and gaze, and her words, her cultural referencing, her deep, playful and searing insights are feeding the part of me that’s been so hungry for fun and intelligent literature.

I imagine a dinner party with my daughter, myself and these authors. I’d set the table with my best (thrifted) china, wine glasses (gifted from a friend), a gorgeous white doily table runner (from a thrift store) overlaid over a blue tablecloth splotched artfully (thrifted thick blue bedsheet used as a painting drop cloth), light some candles (dollar store), and leisurely serve up food, course by course. I’d have my mom there too, she’s such a great and unpredictable host, and she’s stir some sort of sassiness up in some way or other, and we’d finish off with the most wonderful Devil’s coffee. Dancing would ensure in the yard outside. Conversation would be wide ranging, intense and fantastical. I’d be in heaven!

Ah. We can dream. And that’s what I’m appreciating about the books I’ve just read. They’ve been sparking thoughts, feelings and ideas for me, including a book that’s been brewing inside me (but I anticipate it will take about 10 or 15 years to create).

Whatever your faith may be, I hope you’re enjoying this long Easter weekend, and feeling the bubblings up of energy, new life, and a new season.

Until next time,

Janelle

ps – I’ve created a small artist residency program in my home. If you’re interested, or perhaps know someone seeking a warm family environment that also provides time and space to create, please pass it on. More information here.