Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Nest

By Belinda

The kitchen was fragrant with perking coffee when the doorbell chimed. It was Carolyn Morris, come early, and staying just long enough to sign Bonnie's card. She had a daughter at home with four holes where her wisdom teeth used to be. Carolyn's motherly mission for the evening was wrapping her daughter in tender loving care and getting ice packs for her face. Before she left though, she shared a surprise--her eyes sparkling with excitement. The first copy of her newly published children's novel, Mourning Dove, had arrived and she had it in her hands. It was beautiful, illustrated by another member of the Writers Nest (our writers group;) Anne Brolley.

Carolyn vanished as suddenly as she had arrived and I was almost ready for the party about to happen when the rest of the writers who make up the Writers Nest, began to arrive. A few couldn't make it--we missed Melody, Sue and Vi, and Claire is in Montreal, but there were still 14 of us; lovers of words and writing; poets, artists; contemplatives; quiet souls; extroverts, jokesters and ages spanning many decades.

This was a special evening. It happened to be the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Writers Nest. It was in 2001 that Susan felt God prompting her to start a writers group. Meanwhile I was praying, "God, if Susan starts a group, I will go to it!"

Susan asked our friend Bonnie Gilpin if we could have it at her house in Tottenham and Bonnie said, "Sure." Since then Bonnie has hosted about 120 gatherings of writers at her house, give or take one or two--spreading a lavish feast of goodies before us every month.

This was Bonnie's last Writers Nest though, because she's moving to Peterborough. I just hope it wasn't because it was the only way to get us all out of her house! :) Bonnie even offered to have the meeting there this month when she would be in the middle of packing. I said, "Are you crazy?" I know that Bonnie would have done it had we let her.

Instead we all met at my home in Bond Head; the new "nest." Bonnie gave me the picture of a bird's nest that for her symbolized our group. It now hangs in my kitchen.

She also brought boxes of books and a bookcase and left them in our sun porch. It is our groups' writing library, which used to be stored at her home.

I haven't decided where they will go yet. This means that I now have 8 book cases. :) But you can never have too many book cases, right?

My heart overflowed when two dear young friends, Angela and Ellen walked in, lighting up the room with their energy and sparkle (they are in the centre of the photo below.) It was SO good to see them both. They are both in busy seasons of life right now and can't drop in very often: Ellen home schools her family of five children whose ages range from 6 year old twins to a 13 year old daughter and Ang is managing a "fine thrift store" store called Alliston’s Attic, as well as raising a young family of four. I love this pair, and once was privileged to lead them on one of my teams at work.

Our assignment for the evening was to write a biography and the first thing we did--those of us who had written something--was to read them out loud. They were fascinating in their creativity and variety--something that always stands out to me in this group.

And then we celebrated--ten years of existence--and Bonnie.

We presented her with a necklace to remember us by. On a fine gold chain, a circle of clear sapphires, wrapped around a cluster of semi-precious gems: garnet, smokey quartz and citrine. It symbolizes "the circle of life," but to me it meant the circle of friendship that exists among us and never ends, and the fact that though we reflect different shades and colours of the light of God in our writing, we are all encircled by him. Bonnie (seated in the chair next to me) loved it.

And then we ate cake and drank coffee and tea and talked all the way out to the cars that lined our driveway, while swatting the mosquitoes that pricked our arms, in the warm evening air, as we reluctantly faced the fact that tomorrow was coming and we had to go to bed.

What will be the next chapter for each of us? That story is yet to unfold.

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Tracy Campbell said...

What a lovely nest.
I'm looking forward to meeting you your baby chicks.
From one mother hen to another.

Belinda said...

Ha ha, Tracy, I enjoyed reading about your quick accumulating of chicks at Write! Canada.