Ontario is emerging suddenly from what was beginning to feel like an endless winter.
Life is bursting out and shooting up everywhere. It seems as if the whole earth is singing with joy at this spring.
This week I was driving back to the office from Stouffville, along Bloomington Road, when I glanced to my left and gasped in wonder at the sight of six riderless horses; two dappled gray and four brown, galloping with abandon across a field. I glanced in my mirror, slowed down, and pulled off the road to stare at the breathtaking sight; freedom epitomized.
Manes and tails streamed in the air and the mud kicked up behind their hooves. I could almost hear the thunder in the ground.
And then just as suddenly, they stopped, and two of them pranced at each other, taking to the air in defiance of gravity, dancing and jumping for joy.
I reluctantly left my roadside seat in the theatre of nature and drove on to the office where paper piles, a computer screen and endless emails awaited me. For that moment I wished I was a horse.
Tonight I walked in the bright evening light down our long, S shaped driveway, to pick up the blue boxes from the curb side. I heard what sounded like a crow's call, and looked back to see a child, high in the silver birch tree, head held up, face into the breeze, mimicking a crow perfectly.
It was Tiffany-Amber. It was reassuring to see her having a relapse into childhood and tom boyishness. Yesterday life was all about hair. Today not so much!
I went inside where a bloated bag of Amish Friendship bread batter was waiting on my counter (yes I know, I promised never to mention it again but I can't help it). It should have been baked yesterday, but my friend Susan told me that the sky wouldn't fall in if I didn't bake it on "day 10"; and it didn't.
Victoria wandered into the kitchen and said, "What are you doing Omie?" When I told her I was baking a LOT of Amish Friendship bread she asked if she could stir. I was making a triple batch because I've run out of people to give the extra batter to.
"Why don't you throw it away?" she wanted to know.
I wondered that myself and said, "I just can't seem to do it."
"I had a caterpillar once," she said, "And Daddy made me throw it away. I had perfect leaves and everything. I didn't want to do it; it was really hard. I don't know why he made me let it go."
I was beating eggs, measuring oil, flour, sugar and other ingredients and adding them to the bowl as she stirred the big batch of batter. I showed how to stir in small circles and fold the ingredients in.
I explained that the six loaves we were baking, were for a bake sale to raise money for the family of a girl whose father had stabbed her. I knew immediately that was too much information.
"With what?" she asked, wide eyed.
"Aaaargh," I thought; sometimes grandmothers have big mouths.
I explained that the girl who'd been stabbed (suddenly that word sounded even worse than before, if possible) was a friend of France's daughter Summer, and that the daddy was in jail now, but the family still had bills to pay.
"My daddy would never do that," she said, "He looks after us and never lets us go anywhere unless he knows the people."
"That's right darling," I agreed.
I had filled six loaf pans with the batter as we talked, and she was now at the best part of all; licking the bowl.
Her eyes were dreamy as she thought of her parents.
"They are like angels; they are always around you to keep you safe," she said, and then she gave a little shiver as she thought of the girl, Ashna, who had not been kept safe.*
The loaves were in the oven and it was time for a story from Parables from the Pond, before going back downstairs. She went to get her sister Tiffany-Amber.
*(Frances and Brian have set up a trust fund for this family at a bank in Alliston. If anyone feels prompted to help them, please contact me and I will give you the bank transit number)
Psalm 8:1-2 A (New International Version)
A psalm of David.
1 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
2 From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise