Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Advice ... from the OCEAN

Viewing my previous blog...Advice from a Tree...I trust you envisioned a sturdy tall tree set against a full blue sky...whether maple, pine or redwood...with numerous strong branches and full foliage of leaves or pine needles and cones.

Observing lake or ocean water, I've always been fascinated with the shadings of blue from the far waters being a marine blue, and as the waves crest toward the shore, the water depths lessen, the colour alters to azure and pale blues. Amazing, that water in the hand is colourless, yet a body of it gives intensity! Lake and ocean waters are also believed to reflect the sky and clouds...and if so, the far shadings of water could be slate gray.

Picture this scene with a sail boat on the far placid deep lake water, billowy white clouds drift above the horizon and sea gulls grace the sky ...either sight-seeing or searching for their next meal. As the pale blue water washes upon the sandy shore, you can see starfish and other shells. Imprinted on this peaceful scene is the “Ocean's Advice”:

Be shore of yourself.
Come out of your shell
Take time to relax and coast.
Avoid pier pressure.
Sea life's beauty.
Don't get tide down.
Make waves!

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 11, 2011

Advice ... from a RIVER

Do you imagine the tumultuous Niagara River as it tumbles over the Falls? Or the lengthy Grand River as it flows from a northern lake, through the Elora Gorge, small towns and passive countryside to its destination? Or with a fishing rod and bait, your lure is the river and the fish you can reel in? With a view conceived in your mind, you may read and absorb these words:

Go with the flow.
Immerse yourself in nature.
Slow Down and meander.
Go around obstacles.
Be thoughtful of those downstream.
Stay current.
The beauty is in the journey.

Ilan Shamir

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 11, 2011

Advice ... from the NIGHT SKY

Visualize your setting...from lakefront; from a country valley; from a mountain top or escarpment cliff; from a city balcony, terrace or patio. The deep purple sky is sparkling with stars...Polaris, Vega, maybe Venus, Ursa or the Dippers are recognizable. Your mood is quiet and serene; your mind is thoughtful as these words are sprinkled from the Night Sky:

See the big picture*
Be a star*
Keep looking up*
Don't be afraid of the dark*
Stay full of wonder*
Expand your horizons*
Turn off the lights*

Ilan Shamir (author)

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 11, 2011

Advice ... from a DOLPHIN

I've not swam with a dolphin, but have seen their cleverly trained tricks in Marineland at Niagara Falls.
I am totally astonished with their intelligence. We can learn much from them:

Be a strong swimmer.
Rescue people where ever you go.
Work together.
Eat lots of fish.
Take care of your babies.
Live together as families.
And when the weekend comes,
Thank 'Cod” and have fun.
Smile a lot!

Kate Haywood
(with slight adaptation)

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 11, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Stop and Smell the Roses"

This is an American cliche...to take time to appreciate a situation or slow down and pay attention to what is going on around you. It is commonly used when talking to someone who seems too busy to enjoy the pleasures of life.

The origin may have been a conversation between friends, one of whom had a beautiful rose garden. The friend worked so diligently in the rose garden that she did not take the time to enjoy her work. Her friend gently reminded her to stop working and experience the beauty she had created.

Consider the small things in Life and those of great magnitude. You will discover a dependency and trust, given and received... to not only survive,but to enjoy and happily wallow within the new experience! If you take the time, you may be encouraged to help another human being along the path.


A small yellow daisy, clinging to the cliff's edge, hungers for protection to keep its roots implanted. “Never fear, little one, I will hold you in the crevice of my rock, so you will not fall or be swept by the wind.” Thereafter, growth and beauty together developed and survived.

Along the stormy shore, a wind-blown canoe desperately needed a paddle...to navigate the jagged rocks and almost-rogue waves, thus finding comfort within a safe haven.

A little white church in the valley, so isolated, prayed that it could better reach God. One day, some workmen came...and set a silvery spire upon its roof! Then, proudly, it welcomed the village people to joyously assemble on the Sabbath Day.

Often, the result of a recipe is not as anticipated. To overcome a bland taste, a few spices are added to enhance its flavour....and new zest for food is created.

The team was floundering without a purpose and direction. Along came a leader (coach) to bond their talents. With reliance upon each other, they won all the season's remaining games.

On a sun and windy day, the kite so wanted to fly...but, alas, he needed a fluttering tail. The neighbour boy, he came, all in tears...his “kite was broke!” “We could make a two-some”, was the suggestion”. Their tears became delight, as the playfulness they enjoyed.

The furry gray squirrel discovered a suitable tree. “If the maple permits, here I'll establish my home.” With twigs and various scraps, he diligently scampered to and fro until completed. Snug and warm in winter weather, the tree was his shelter. In the spring, he retrieved food from his hidden cache. All summer, the leaves were his shade as breezes wafted through the green lacy foliage.

Water is the sustenance of our lives. Without it and food, existence cannot be!

Walk through the vineyards where the luscious grapes grow, given strength by the Mother plant, nourished by sun and rain. The vine is fulfilled and content with the fruit that she yields and envisions her family's future...whether Champagne or Merlot!

There is a correlation between one's mind and a puzzle...be it, crossword, soduko or jig-saw. It presents a challenge to solve the mystery...a game between the two. What joy and elation evolves when together, success is achieved! And the puzzle is not hurriedly discarded.

Recently, I was acquainted with a barbershop quartet. What a splendid rendition of songs they gave! The music was based on a note, a chord, several bars all choreographed with words and lines that may appeal to or rock our senses. It is not complete...until someone (or an ensemble) puts it “on stage” enabling them and us to hear, view and appreciate fully this marvellous production. It unites our hearts with its deep rich harmony!

Our personal lives may relate to any or all of the foregoing. Can we not be students of these daily life experiences and learn a lesson, no matter how trivial or complex the situation?
An idea can illuminate and escalate the mundane to something exceptional!

As humans, we have the ability to “open our eyes”, being aware of opportunities with the option of seeking potential benefits that are mutually respected. When successful, we gain great pleasure! It is important to remember that small pleasures given,
often result in greater joy for others.

The month of June is when Roses begin to bloom and continue throughout the summer with their colourful displays of reds, pinks, whites...
until the autumn frosts blight their leaves and remaining buds.

Be a patron of "Stop and Smell the Roses".

Merle Baird-Kerr
March 2, 2010

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Natives" of North America

We have many Native Aborigines living in Canada (mostly on reservations)...United States has numerous Native Americans also in their country. I have long had an affinity for these peoples... their tribes, their culture, their lore, their spiritual beliefs, their philosophies, their wisdom. Rich in meaning, most of these aspects, which if adopted, would significantly improve and enhance our lives. Occasionally through my blog-venue, I am pleased to share their profound wisdom that establishes a successful foundation for daily living.

“Being Indian, is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of being in harmony
with all things and all beings.
It is allowing the heart to be the distributor of energy on this planet;
to allow feelings and sensitivities to determine where energy goes;
bringing aliveness up from the Earth and from the Sky,
putting it in and giving it out from the heart.”
~ Brooke Medicine Eagle ~

Native American Turtle Mythology
Turtles play positive roles in the folklore of many North American tribes. In the creation myths of some East Coast tribes (such as the Iroquois and Lenape), the Great Spirit created their homeland by placing earth on the back of a giant turtle. This is why some contemporary native Americans refer to North America as “Turtle Island”.

Cherokee Prayer Blessing

May the Warm Winds of Heaven
blow softly on your house.
May the Great Spirit
bless all who enter there.
May your Moccasins
make happy tracks
in many snows,
and may the Rainbow
always touch your shoulder.

Native American Prayer

Oh, Great Spirit
whose voice I hear in the winds,
and whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in the beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.

This prayer... translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887

Of Interest: Sunday, for most of us, is classified on our calendars as the first day of the week.
I invite you to visit my blog weekly on this day to gain insight to the
Native American Wisdom Quotes and Philosophies.
All these impress me...which I trust will do likewise for you.

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 27, 2011

Wisdom Quotes (Native American)

Honour the sacred.
Honour the Earth, our Mother.
Honour the Elders.
Honour all with whom we share the Earth ~
four-leggeds, two leggeds,
winged ones, swimmers and crawlers,
plant and rock people.
Walk in balance and beauty.

(Native American Elder)

Lakota Instructions for Living

Friend, do it this way ~ that is,
whatever you do in life,
do the very best you can
with both your heart and mind.

And if you do it that way,
The Power of the Universe
will come to your assistance,
if your heart and mind are in Unity.

When one sits in the Hoop of the People,
one must be responsible
because all of Creation is related.
And the hurt of one is the hurt of all.
And an honour of one is the honour of all.
And whatever we do affects everything in the universe.

If you do it that way ~ that is,
if you truly join your heart and mind as One,
whatever you ask for,
that's the Way It's Going to Be.

(passed down from Buffalo Calf Woman)

Go Forward with Courage

When you are in doubt, be still and wait;
when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.
So long as mists envelop you, be still;
be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists
as it surely will.
Then, act with courage.

Ponca Chief White Eagle (1800's to 1914)

Earth, Teach Me

Earth, teach me quiet ~ as the the grasses are still with new light.
Earth, teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth, teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth, teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth, teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth, teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth, teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth, teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth, teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth, teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth, teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.

An Ute Prayer

Symbolism of the Circle

You have noticed that everything an Indian does, is in a circle,
and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles.
And everything and everything tries to be round.

In the old days, all our power came to us from “the sacred hoop” of the nation
and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished.
The flowering tree was the living centre of the hoop
and the circle of the four quarters nourished it.
The east gave peace and light, the south gave warmth,
the west gave rain and the north with its cold and mighty wind
gave strength and endurance.
This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion.

Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle.
The sky is round and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball
and so are the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls.
Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours.
The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle;
the moon does the same and both are round.
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing
and always come back again to where they were.

The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood,
and so it is in everything where power moves.
Our tepees were round like nests of the birds;
and these were always set in a circle,
the nation’s hoop, a nest of many nests ~
where the Great Spirit meant us to hatch our children.

Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (1863 to 1950)

When you were born,
you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die,
the world cries and you rejoice!

White Elk


More Native American Quotes

will be the next publication in this series...
well written prose by Indian Chiefs.
Sunday, June 5, 2011.

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 29, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The "First Book"

Being retired has given me the opportunity to pursue other avenues of interest: where appointments are no longer restrictive; my family is not time-demanding. The slow gradual development of degenerative osteo-arthritis diminished my recreationally active life...love of skiing, tennis, dance, hiking, etc. Yet, “I Feel Lucky” as described in an earlier blog!

Never can I lay claim to the fact that I am “a book worm”, nor that I ever belonged to a Book Club, nor that I incessantly visited the Library for reading material!

Of course, our parents yearly gave us books to read...always Christian-oriented with a so-so story line. Back in those...what I consider almost “pioneer days" but literally known as The Great Depression...one wasted nothing! So we read these Christmas gifts...however they failed to instil any "literary interest". My sister had a passion for Hollywood movies, favourite actresses with dreams of becoming one some day; when a teenager, from somewhere she obtained several magazines...secretly admired them, then "below the bed mattress" became her hiding place for them, away from parental eyes.

During High School years, my sister and I had jobs in the local General Store...where the customers came in, placed their grocery order at the counter; then, as clerks, we would take a basket to the well-stocked shelves (unreachable by the customer) to collect their items. In view of the customer, we keyed in the costs of the list to the cash register. We were each paid $2.00 for our 9-hour day's earnings. The store also carried a few sundry items... jewellery pieces, cards for all occasions, some necessary lingerie, hair shampoo, a few tools including nails, a few basic health remedies and a “used book” area...all in a separate section where the customer could browse while waiting for their grocery list to be assembled.

On the book shelf, I noticed “Gone With The Wind”. Living in a farm community, the title intrigued me with its front cover picture and causing me to believe the title was Nature-inspired. The synopsis stated the setting was Atlanta, Georgia. I felt I could easily be “transported away” to a new country, a big city and a large plantation! To me, it pictured a totally different and appealing lifestyle. From my earnings of the day, I purchased the book. Shortly, thereafter, we moved to Brantford and entered Grade 13, my final year of High School. It was a walk of over a mile to the Collegiate Institute on Brant Avenue. To allay the boredom of this daily trek, I carried my “treasured book”

Yes, I know that Genesis is deemed The First Book! For me Gone With The Wind written by Margaret Mitchell, published 1936, was the First Classic Book I read! Page by page, city block by city block, I read its entirety of over 1,000 pages as I walked to and from the educational institution. I was totally captivated by this thrilling novel. It was then, I sought other authors whose story line appealed to me. Friends often recommended “Good Books”. For some unknown reason, I had an innate curiosity and desire to read about other peoples of the world and their lifestyles. Gone With The Wind wakened me to a whole new realm!

Tarzan...I decided must be my “next read”...not realizing there were 24 plus novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs written between 1912 and 1965... including The Adventures of Lord Greystone.

Louis L'Amour then became my author of prime interest who wrote numerous books of western and frontier days...I read most of them! In his science-fiction genre was The Haunted Mesa...it truly “haunted me” to the extent that I read this novel several times. Then, on my long van-trek drive (in early 2000) from California to Ontario, I visited Mesa Verde National Park in southern Colorado...seeing the “cliff dwellings” as he described...I felt “bewitched” ...acquainting myself with the locale of his story. His adventure tales appealed to my imagination, especially Last of The Breed...a phenomenal novel of an American pilot shot down over Russia, imprisoned for interrogation, then escaped into Siberia. Both of these books are “A Must Read”!

My reading prowess became richly enhanced when I would locate novels with settings in various countries of the world: Africa's Egypt, Europe's ancient to medieval days, Asian peoples of Bangkok to Tokyo, South America's Andes Mountains to Antarctica, the Roman days of power and supremacy, the emperors and tsars of Russia.

Books that profoundly affected me and ones that I will long remember may also interest you:

Two novels by Pauline Gudge: House of Dreams and House of Illusion...a compelling story of Thu, living along the Nile River...an indomitably, ambitious young woman who rose from village mid-wife to become the favourite concubine of the mighty Pharaoh.

I have read most of John Grisham’s court room trials. Movies and Television productions have been made from several of his dramas. Each book I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Danielle Steel's family-oriented writings depict the tribulations and trials, the blessings and triumphs experienced along Life's path. Message from Nam, Granny Dan, Lone Eagle, Fine Things, Rogue...all impressed me.

The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts and Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner were both exciting novels.

My dear friend Sol introduced me to a few books, that without his recommendation, I would not have normally read...but I trust his judgement....each had great significance!
How to Argue and Win Every Time by Gerry Spence. He states, “We fail to make successful arguments because we affix certain locks to ourselves ~ Locks that imprison our arguments ~ Locks that bar us from assuming a successful stance or from adopting a winning method. The Lock is Your Lock ~ and You Possess the Key! He offers these Stratagems for Living: the Greatest Gift is the Gift of Learning! But not complete until it is passed on...Life is Brief! It needs to be lived with every Advantage...Break free of the Cocoons of Convention. Tom Clancy, (Sol's favourite author) is an American with best-selling political thrillers e.g. The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, Executive Orders...each featuring Jack Ryan as the main character. 1984 by George Orwell is a classic novel set in a world beyond our imagination. All power is split into three equal groups: Eastasia, Eurasia and Oceania (the latter which includes the United Kingdom where the story is set).

Rivington Street (from Sol's sister, Rose) written by Meredith Tax, is a true story about four Jewish women living in New York City who organized the garment unions in NY C’s Lower East Side...a very informative telling of working conditions in the early 1900's.

At a book rack near the check-out in a grocery store a few years ago, the cover picture and title, The Valley of Horses by Jean Auel, captivated my attention. With my love of horses and the back cover synopsis, it was a book I desired to read! The Ice Age in Middle Europe was the setting whose heroine was Ayla. I related to her well...placing myself “in her shoes” experiencing her emotions and will-power as she survived a cruel winter. I discovered there was a previous novel, The Clan of the Cave Bear. Luckily I found it! Other books in Jean Auel's “Earth's Children” series were The Mammoth Hunters, The Plains of Passage, The Shelter of Stone. My son presented to my Mother's Day celebration recently a hard cover novel of 757 pages...The Land of Painted Caves which brings Auel's series to an extra ordinary conclusion. Therefore, it is with keen anticipation when this week, I open the book...to again “live and associate “ with Ayla, Jondalar and their infant daughter, Jonayla who are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave...a shelter of stone.

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 22,2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

More Advice ...

...from the writings of Ilan Shamir. He responded to my posting of “Advice from a Tree”. Researching his www.yourtruenature.com I discovered he lives in Fort Collins, Colorado...significant to me!
When I publish "An Incredible Journey" you may wonder at a Senior Citizen...a lone driver
returning her son's Honda Odyssey from California to Ontario! I exited the majestic Rocky Mountains at Fort Collins...the snow caps behind me....and the Plains States ahead.
My 7000-plus-kilometer-sight-seeing drive...Was Incredible!

Be loyal.
Delight in the simple joys of a long walk.
Unleash your favourite snack.
Make new friends.
Learn new tricks, no matter your age.
When loved ones come home,
Always run to greet them.
(Ilan Shamir)

Carve out a place for yourself.
Aspire to new plateaus.
Stand the test of time.
Don't get boxed in.
Listen to the voice of the wind.
It's OK to be a little off the wall.
Reach deep.
(Ilan Shamir)

Think big.
Spend time in the woods.
Eat plenty of greens
Hold your head up high.
Stay on track.
Keep your nose clean.
It's OK to be a little wild.
(Ilan Shamir)

Climb beyond your limitations.
When life gets hairy, grin and bear it.
Eat well.
Live with the seasons.
Take a good long nap.
Look after your honey.
(Ilan Shamir)

These philosophies are basic Life Instructions and Guidelines.
It is amazing what we can, not only learn, but practice from Nature!
A little humour in life is good for the soul!

Ilan...your parallels to Mankind are outstanding! Thank You!

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Talking Waters ...

“How should a beautiful, ignorant stream of water
know it heads for an early release ~
across the desert, running toward the Gulf, below sea level
to “murmur” its lullaby
and see the Imperial Valley rise up out of the burning sand
with cotton blossoms, wheat, watermelons, roses ~
how should it know?”
(Carl Sandburg)

Why are we, as humans, so captivated, enthralled ~ perhaps even mesmerized
by the beauty of water? In its various forms, it emits and displays “sea language”.


Yosemite National Park in California is not just a great Valley, but a shrine to the human foresight, strength of granite, power of glaciers, the persistence of life and the tranquillity of the High Sierra. Yosemite is best known for its waterfalls. The quiet languid Merced River flows gently at its base where the road ends. Here the visitor is totally dwarfed in the Valley by two granite monoliths...El Capitan and Half Dome. Hiking to the summit is one of the most famous and scenic treks in United States...rising 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,500 feet above sea level.

On a Sunday in May, 2004, my son, Andrew, with a friend in California, travelled to Yosemite Valley. Vernal Fall was the compelling invitation to hike its 1.5 miles to view the 317 foot free-fall. The accelerating “snow melts” in the Spring initiated Yosemite's annual “water show” of its numerous dramatic cascades. From the Vernal Fall Bridge, he called and enthusiastically stated he was ascending the Misty Trail...a gruelling stair-climb to the top. About one hour later he contacted me.
“Mom, Just Listen!”
I heard the Water as it roared over the precipice!
This was the most wonderful and memorable Mother's Day gift he ever gave me!

The Upper and Lower Yosemite Waterfalls tumble a total of 2,435 feet
...a torrent in the spring that crashes on to the rocky landing area.

Bridal Veil Fall of 620 feet is truly beautiful...resembling a long lacy veil.

At 612 feet, Ribbon Fall, located west of El Capitan, is the highest single free-fall in the Park.

Nevada Fall of 594 feet is a stunning sight. It is a 2,600 foot climb along a 3.4 mile trek.

Wapama Falls at 1,300 feet is one of the prettiest sights in Yosemite.
It plunges through a gorge next to El Capitan
and cascades over rocks into a reservoir.


Research Facts and Comments about Water:

It has no Taste, no Colour, no Odour. It fills us with gratification that exceeds the delight of our senses.

We have never really known how important Water is. We understand it, but do not respect it.
When the well is dry, we know its worth!

Use of Water has increased and in many places, Water availability is falling to crisis levels.
We are already facing Water shortages in many countries,
while the world's population by the year 2020 will double!

Water has become a Highly Precious Resource.

The Great Lakes hold 20% of the world's surface fresh water.
The Great Lakes are estimated to have been formed at the end of the Ice Age.

If there is Magic on this planet, it is contained in the Water.

Life originated in the Sea and about 80% of it is still there.

Water is not without its dangers: drowning, pollution, flooding, erosion. Are these Acts of God?
We need to Nurture it! We need to Respect it! We need to Preserve it! We need to Enjoy it!

The Oceans are the planet's last great living wilderness ~
man's only remaining frontier on Earth. (John E. Cullney)

What makes the desert beautiful,
is that somewhere, it hides a well. (Antoine de Expery)

My childhood (until age 18) was spent on a farm. With daily chores to perform: milking cows morning and evening; summer crops of hay, grain and corn to harvest; chickens to feed and eggs to gather; vegetable gardens and fruit orchards to lovingly tender, along with preserves of these for winter survival...there was rarely time to drive one hour to Lake Erie. Once a summer, maybe twice, our mother would prepare a picnic lunch...and we'd spend a glorious day at Turkey Point or Port Dover. The most exciting, most exhilarating experience was the First Sighting of the Lake...its beauteous expanse of blue water flowing and waving from the far horizon. The sand was fine and white, feeling like silk between our toes. The water, cool and refreshing, was shallow for many feet from shore...with no fear of water depth nor of undertow. What A Thrilling Day each summer!


On my Grandparents' farm a small brook playfully babbled along one side of their property. My sister and I had many happy hours making paper boats and setting them a-sea on this sheer streamlet as it gently sloped over small, smooth shiny amber stones. We would retrieve our little boats and again set them a-sail and compete with the breeze to declare a winner.

A colour front-page photo on a recent local paper, titled, “A Stone's Throw Away” illustrated two boys skipping stones at Bronte Creek. These children are the classic picture of not only us when young, but also as adults who still enjoy this revelry...where the water ripples at each smoothly rounded stone toss. Kids will be Kids!


As you sit by a mountain stream, gaze at a peaceful lake or listen to the musical roar of a deep sea, it seems that the Great Door (that does not look like a door)...Opens!
The feeling transcends you to an unimaginable level...
giving infinite hope and placidity...
instilling a deep yearning to dwell forever in this phase of contentment!


Scuba Diving: My son's first scuba diving assay was in the tropical waters of The Philippines. Opportunity beckoned with an invitation to view life underwater. He was feverishly attracted and fascinated with this “new world” to explore. Upon his return home, he availed himself of further instruction. While working in California scuba diving quickly became a weekend pleasure.

Monterey Bay just offshore from the Monterey Peninsula, is home to one of the largest expanses of kelp forests in the world...often called “The Redwoods of the Sea”. Great kelp can soar 100 feet or more from the ocean floor, growing up to 12 inches a day in the summer. Divers share these Bay waters with sea otters, sea lions and harbour seals. Monterey Canyon extends 95 miles into the Pacific Ocean reaching depths up to 10,000 feet below the surface level at its deepest. The actual canyon itself is only about one mile deep making it of comparable depth to the Grand Canyon. (Imagine, being underwater and sitting on the top edge of this deep canyon in the Bay!) The features of this Bay are of prime interest to scuba divers...a recreational invitation for under-water exploration!

In his early diving experience, he wrote: “Our assigned leader, Tony, brought us through the thick of a kelp forest in water about 20 to 30 feet deep. We were swimming in single file through the narrow channels (sand on the bottom between the rocks where the kelp grow). It was really a fun dive! Another more advanced dive was with 3 divers together, who dive at Monterey. There was a thick kelp canopy near the shore, so we brought our dive lights and turned them on at the beginning of the dive to see under the canopy. Despite the bright sunlight, it was pretty dark under it when we first started and I needed the light. It was beautifully adventuresome! As you would enjoy a more challenging ski hill, when you have the skill to accomplish it, I enjoyed this more unique challenge of the dive. I now had developed the skill and confidence to do it and enjoyed exercising these abilities.

I recall another boat-dive when my buddy and I surfaced and we were some distance from the boat (about 250 feet). There were kelp fields between us and the boat...and you kind of have to crawl over them. Since we both had a reasonable amount of air remaining, I said, ' Let's go under the kelp fields'. While they look like thick carpets of drifting kelp on the surface (and it really is no fun surface-swimming over them) to go under the canopy is like floating through a rain forest. Imagine if you could explore a rain forest, drifting through the air about 50 feet above the ground and just under the tree canopy, with sunlight streaming through the leaves. It is like that. We were not over 10 feet deep but we had the whole “rain forest effect” with the sunlight streaming through the overhead canopy. We just pushed the stalks aside with our hands and frolicked between them. Perhaps you can try to visualize the forest that I'm talking about. The kelp forests are far more spectacular underwater than on the surface.”

Among the fish are swarms of mysid shrimp,
giant Keyhole limpets and various invertebrates.

Water often Creates Absolute Dramatic Emotions

Niagara Falls: The voluminous waterfalls of Niagara straddle the International border between Canada and United States. These cataracts seem to have an almost “magnetic pull” with every view of the gushing, rushing water as it sprays over the limestone rock into the 176 feet below. These Falls, recognized for their beauty, are also a valuable resource of hydro electric power. Spectacular they are... every evening, when alternating colour lights illuminate and focus on the Horseshoe Falls. Numerous other inviting activities are available for the visitor to experience. The Skylon Tower (175 feet high) offers a superb sweeping vista of the Falls, the Niagara River and its bustling rapids while fine-dining at the Skylon's revolving top surrounded by this stunning ambiance.

It is said that Niagara Falls has a hypnotic allure that gives some people the uncontrollable compulsion to jump in and join the powerful, swirling waters. To date, 16 “daredevils” have gone over the Falls in various crafted barrels...all designed to beat disaster (of course)...all in the name of adventure! Only 11 have survived and two men went over twice who lived to “tell their tales.” Today, if anyone attempts this feat, the individual is charged with “mischief in the Park” and is severely penalized.

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is indescribable! With numerous view sites along the South Rim, one looks deep into this chasm where the Colorado River tumbles and thrashes its way over rocks (forever eroding the sides of the canyon as it has for numerous centuries, snaking its course, often very turbulently, toward the canyon's end to be released. From the North Rim, 1,000 feet higher than the South, 3 viewing areas are available. It is also from this Rim that hikers, with a guide, can descend into the canyon...staying overnight at Phantom Ranch at river level for needed rest and meals, before they ascend the following day to the South Rim. Due to this arduous trek, the hikers carry only a backpack. Other adventurers enjoy being challenged with rafting through the canyon on its Colorado River...for its thrill, its excitement...akin possibly to climbing Mount Everest...it's just there to do!

To attend the sunrise at 6:50 AM in the still, frosty November air is a unique spiritual revelation. One's breath drifts into the chill of early morning...not a leaf moves anywhere...an occasional bird serenades the waking hour. The sun, in a few moments, breaks the horizon, as I stand with two others to witness and absorb this North Rim phenomena. Its rays touch the canyon, and the depth begins to reveal subtle shades of light rose, red, yellow, green and browns signifying the rock layers cut over millions of years by the Colorado River. I gaze into the mighty depth and marvel at the river-ribbon as it turns and twists.

These are truly out-of-world-experiences...observing the Power of Water
on the human eye and mind!
The Grand Canyon is a Superb Gift of Nature!


For many years I was fortunate to overlook Lake Ontario from my 18th floor apartment...observing the water in its myriad forms...from placid to rough with high-crested waves, from pastel-coloured sky at sunrise to the silvery moon reflection as it spills its rays across the midnight waters. In winter,
weird ice formations lace the shoreline; in summer the Lake and Bay are a playground for sail and surf. The Lake speaks volumes about its changing moods! Supplementing all this were the frequent freighters, both domestic and foreign, seeking entry to the harbour to unload and reload cargo. In the dusk of the evening, capture with your eyes, a floating “lighted city”, moving ever so slowly as it approaches the “lift bridge”. Sea gulls were a constant, as they screeched and wheeled the shorelines, diving in search of their daily meals.


The beauty of water, whether waterfall or river, attracts both lovers and anniversary celebrants. Consider the cruise ships that ply the oceans and seas with their luxurious offerings to lure the traveller to unique destinations.

A few years ago, a University student, completing his Post-Graduate studies, invited his lady-friend of several years to dine at a fine patio bistro, then later parked with a view of the Bay...a-flutter with a regatta of white sails cutting through the shimmering waters, glistened by the rays of the early evening sun. There he proposed marriage to her. Later, a Full Moon arose from the eastern sky, casting its silvery spell as if to commemorate this event. What could be more romantic?


Water Heals! Water Soothes! Water Quiets the Mind!
...becoming one with Nature!
Its hidden treasure is Ours...likened to an oyster shell,
when opened, reveals a “delicate pearl”.


It was mid-July at the height of soaring temperatures and humidity...stifling hot!
Late one afternoon we parked in the shade of a few mature leafy trees to visually absorb the scene before us. Tall maples and weeping willows framed a "bower" as we glanced toward the Bay waters of azure blue to the billowy cotton-puff-clouds, to a hazy shoreline and the towering Skyway Bridge.
A couple sail boats appeared, calmly wafting the quiet waters as we watched
with unspoken words.
It was Cooling! It was Refreshing! It was Spiritual!
The message of this interlude was secret to each...akin to silently read poetry.


Our days cannot always be sunny. Rain is essential for all Life's Dimensions. After a storm, our small part of the Planet settles...the rain tapers off to a drizzle like fine crystals touching Earth...the sun bursts through the dark gray clouds...a gorgeous rainbow arcs its pallette of colours from the upper sky to a far field...likened to reflected light through a glass prism.
We are enchanted with its display...wondering if there really is a “pot of gold”.


Pierre Elliot Trudeau remained for 16 years as Prime Minister of Canada until 1979. A flamboyant person he was...yet, he frequently would seek his “personal space” to reflect and cogitate. Clad in buckskins, with his canoe and paddle, he would locate a quiet water haven where the only sound was the dipping of his paddle and the occasional jump of a frog from its green lily pad...or the chirping of a bird. Nature gave him peace and serenity of spirit. He expressed his love of the water and his love for this country. Following is a memorable quote by this well loved politician:
What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more.
I think it is much better that we all get along together...every man paddle his own canoe.

Pierre Berton (renowned Canadian author and novelist) commented
A true Canadian is one who can make love in a canoe without it tipping.

Michael Proulx, a local nature photographer recently stated,
If people look a little longer in silence,
they will discover infinite views.


A Further Point of Interest

“Paddle to the Sea”, a film based on this book, told the story of a boy from Lake Nipigon in Northern Ontario who carves a wooden model of an Indian in a canoe and sets it free to travel The Great Lakes
from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean...under the power of wind alone.

Along this arduous journey, Paddle is fraught with dangers, but he manages, with his faith in Nature and in God to overcome these setbacks and survive. It is a delightful film, viewed by many, many children who have been visually encouraged by the small boat and its lone paddler as they negotiated the complicated waterways to reach their destination.

A Fabulous Geographical Experience and one of Philosophical Insight!

Merle Baird-Kerr
July 31, 2010

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"God's Wings"

Nature we Love! Yet, it often creates havoc with our planet's environment...earthquakes, tsunamis, severe flooding and forest fires...each being, extremely devastating!

I share with you an article in the National Geographic several years ago providing a penetrating picture of God's Wings:

“After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast...because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live.

'He will cover you with His feathers.
And under His wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4'

Being loved this much should make a difference in your life. Remember the One who loves you, and be different because of it.”
(Author unknown for all the foregoing)

Take Care, Everyone! “Don't drive faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!”


I have long had a fascination for feathers. At a home in North Burlington,
I had an Oriental ceramic umbrella holder (would also hold canes)
in shades of wedgewood blue, old rose and oyster white.
In it I placed long-stemmed artificial flowers in these co-ordinated colours
combined with greenery and three gorgeous peacock feathers.
Loved them! Instilled in me, they depicted magical beauty!

Today, I have three feathers that I discovered...in a parking lot, a playground and below a spreading maple tree. I was impelled to claim them...to admire the symmetry of their shape, their fine texture and their colour! The largest one is black, the other two shaded in silver gray and charcoal. These are displayed in a small container on a shelf where they are daily seen in the living room.

Visiting a boutique shop in the Six Nations' Indian Reservation, I bought two “dream catchers” beautifully adorned with beading and feathers...truly intrigueing, hanging at door entries in my home.

Recently, a dear friend gave me a decorative comb for my hair...numerous feathers (off white, stripes of charcoal and shades of brown) clasped together with a silver-encircled ivory looking cameo. Gorgeous! She hadn't known about my feather-fascination.

In a previous blog article, I referred to Mourning Doves...and my great opportunity last summer to observe a pair nesting on my balcony. To be present when the eggs hatched, and watch the growth of these fledgelings, was wonderful. To note their rate of development...especially their wings was amazing...from tiny hairs to mini-feathers, then beginning to exercise them to gain strength for flight!

Avia Venfica, in 2007, wrote about the “Symbol Meaning of Feathers”.
Feathers were worn by Native American Chiefs to symbolize their communication with Spirit, and to express their 'celestial wisdom'. Also in the American Indian culture, feathers represented the power of thunder gods, along with the power of air and wind.

Native American Pueblo Indians would pay homage to the Feathered Sun which is a symbol of the cosmos and 'centre of existence'. Another symbol meaning of feathers also revolves around prayer, and the Pueblo use feather sticks as they dance in prayer for rain during solstice rituals.

As a Celtic symbol meaning, the feather was worn by Druids in the form of ornate feathered robes. Celtic Druids donned these robes in ceremonies to invoke the 'sky gods' and gain knowledge of the celestial realm. It was believed that the feathered cloak along with the presence of the sky gods would allow the Druid to transcend the earthly plane and enter the ethereal realm.

The Egyptians believed that feathers were symbolic of sky gods too.

In Christianity feathers represented 'virtues'. In fact, an image of three feathers were made into signet rings – each feather symbolizing Charity, Hope and Faith.

In dreams, feathers mean travel or the ability to move more freely in life. White feathers in dreams indicate 'innocence' or a fresh start in a spiritual sense.

It is commonly believed in most cultures that feathers are symbols of higher thought and spiritual progression. The line of thinking here is that birds were considered divine creatures in primitive/ancient cultures because they were creatures of the sky (heaven) and therefore close to God.

When you find a feather upon your path, it could be taken to mean that you are on a higher spiritual path (whether you accept it or not) and it may be a sign of encouragement as you philosophically travel on this path.

Peacocks are a deeply symbolic bird, and as such their feathers have become steeped in meaning. The precise meaning often depends on the 'culture and context' the feather appears in. Peacocks are often regarded as vain and foolish birds...yet, their feathers represent pride...even nobility and glory.

At craft shoppes and bazaars, I've seen artists paint on standard hand saws. The rural scenes they create of fields, marshes, geese and ducks, of red barns and hayfields, of streams and skies are magnificent. Because of the uniqueness of these paintings, the buyers buy.

The finale of this article is to refer you to the “Top 10 Amazing Paintings on Feathers” by Julie Thompson...on the Internet. You will be enthralled by these fabulous illustrations of her talented ability! Truly Exquisite!

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 17, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Many of us fill in these forms with the hope of winning something or purchasing items at discounted prices. Occasionally, or rarely, does one succeed...this has never been my luck...always “a catch”!

In High School, a list of test questions is given, with answers by students to be completed within a time limit. Years ago, as a Grade 12 student, this test was presented twice in the year. Said results helped to determine the Intelligent Quotient of the student. Guidance Teachers could then advise him or her of post-secondary education and fields of interest. A friend related this personal incident:

“It was in Grade 12 on a Thursday that I had this IQ Test. My mind went 'blank at times', and I was unable to concentrate. A week later, the Vocational Guidance Instructor called me into her office for a discussion. She informed me that I should seriously consider a Technical College instead of University... At the end of Grade 12, I could attend and take the required courses to obtain a diploma or certificate in my field of study after a two-year education there. I told her I had planned to go to McMaster University and graduate with at least a BA degree. She advised against it...stating it would probably be an academic struggle for me to accomplish... and attain my aspirations.

She did not know, nor did I tell her, that my dog died the day previous to the test and we had to take Sally to our veterinarian and send our family pet of 12 years to Dog Heaven."

Teachers are seldom aware of the circumstances that affect a student's test results. I'm confident that years later she was greatly impressed with this student's academic accomplishments and contribution to the teaching profession.

He graduated from Grade 13 with honours...attended his University of choice, and with further studies at the University of Toronto, became an English Teacher and Instructor of Languages at Hill Park High School on Hamilton Mountain.

Oral questionnaires are a different specie: I consider would-be doctors (for example) who must achieve credibility in their knowledge of medical science...with little time allowed to contemplate their responses. Fortunately, in life, most of us do not face this type of direct challenge!

The questions are...How do we perceive ourselves? How do others perceive us?

For several years, I was a teacher in elementary school. Following the birth of my second child, I was a “stay-at-homer” for five years. Census-takers occasionally came to my door with oral questions to confirm and gather information for Stats Canada. Upon the first visit, with Marcia in my arms, I answered that I was a housewife or home-maker. Within a couple years, I decided to “upgrade” my position. Depending on the day....I was a home economist, a nurse (to my children), a child psychologist, a professional chef, a horticulturist (with my gorgeous patio garden) or mechanic!

Recently I read about a mother renewing her driver's licence. She was asked by the Registry Office to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself. “What I mean is,” explained the woman at the Registry, “do you have a job or are you just a ...?” The mother snapped, “Of course I have a job...I'm a Mom” to which the woman replied emphatically “We don't list Mom as an occupation...'housewife' covers it”.

I'm in love with another Mother applying for a job with anticipation of returning to the business workplace. The interviewer was definitely a career woman...poised, efficient, fashionably attired and of a high-sounding title like Official Interrogator or City Registrar!

“What is your occupation?” she probed.
“What made me say it, I do not know. The words simply popped out, 'I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Resources.' "

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in mid-air and looked up as though she had not heard correctly.
“I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold black ink on the official questionnaire.”

“Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?”

“Cooly, without any trace of fluster, I heard my voice say, 'I have a continuing program of research (what mother doesn't?) in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have answered indoors and out). I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits (all daughters); and of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother care to disagree?). I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more likely) but the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers. The rewards are more of a satisfaction than money.”

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up and personally ushered me to the door.

“As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamourous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants...ages 13, 7 and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model (a 6-month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new pattern. I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and dispensable to mankind than just 'Another Mom'...Motherhood! What a glorious career! Especially when there is a title on the door!”

So now, Readers, I ask, “Does this make Grandmothers 'Senior Research Associates' in the field of Child Development and Human Relations?”

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 15. 2011

Advice ... from MOURNING DOVES

Last summer I was blessed with the opportunity of observing a pair of “mourning doves” who built a nest on a balcony black wrought iron chair seat. Through their incubation time of two white eggs ... 14 to 15 days...two shifts were taken by the parents 24 hours a day. I chronicled their daily activities,
their chatter, the hatching of two white eggs, growth of the fledgelings' feathers and the numerous attempts they made to strengthen their wings for eventual flying.

This is an informative “must” for you to read which I shall publish on this blog beginning July 31st when I first viewed a bird on the nest. Throughout this odyssey, I experienced and learned much about the “Relationship between Humans and Mourning Doves”...I was incredibly surprised and amazed!

Of current interest: This past Sunday, May 8th (Mothers' Day), a delightful sunny day, I opened my balcony door to enjoy a few moments of fresh air with a cup of coffee. WOW! On the same chair is a newly built nest, constructed as last summer's of fine twigs, both long and short and a few grasses. No doves visible anywhere! I expect I won't see my "Rosie" (or other female) until she arrives to lay her precious white eggs.

During “pregnancy” the Parents share the Time and Effort to bring the babies into fruition.
They Feed their young with 'milk' to nourish them for their start in Life.
They provide Shelter (from the storm) and raise their family with whatever means they have.
They Care and Protect their young to help them prepare for a Life beyond the nest...often pushing them out to “fly on their own”.

It is a Story of Affection, of Peace in a harsh landscape.
It is a Story of Violence in often a world of troubled people.
It is a Story of Love and Devotion to one's partner.
It is a Story of Love and Life lost.
It is Story of Grief, Sadness and Sorrow.
YET, One of a New Life, Rebirth and
a Story of Gentleness
from these doves who “mate for life”!

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 12, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Advice ... from a TREE

Muir Woods National Monument

A few years ago, when on a two-week Californian vacation, we spent a few days in the Bay area of San Francisco. The city was scenically amazing: the Golden Gate Bridge (which is not a gold colour, disappointing me); the mighty Pacific Ocean; the islands within San Francisco Bay; the hills, the clanging trams, the sea lions clamouring tightly together on the sun-warmed rocks; Fisherman's Wharf, etc. North of the City is the quaint town of Sausolito bordering the Bay waters...gardened boulevards and immense hanging baskets of colourful flowers; boutique shops; restaurants of fine food and the quiet ambiance of scenic beauty surrounding us.

In a lush canyon, just 45 miles northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge dwells what John Muir called, “the best tree lovers' monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.”
This is a forest of giant trees shrouded in coastal fogs and one of the few remaining stands of Redwoods in the San Francisco Bay area. Every year, large clumps of ladybugs, flying in from California's central Valley, can be seen on the plants there as they seek the cool refuge of the forest.
Dear Hamilton friends recently vacationed for three weeks touring this Golden State. When they visited Muir Woods, a sign at its entry bore this poem:

Advice...from a TREE

Stand tall and proud.
Sink your roots into the earth.
Be content with your natural beauty.
Go out on a limb.
Drink plenty of water
Remember your roots.
Enjoy the view!

Author – Ilan Shamir

One valuable lesson we learn from a tree is to have patience. We also learn that change can be beautiful. Each season brings its own beauty. Without change, we cannot grow! Roots must be nourished, tended and fed. Parenthood in all its forms, can only be achieved through love. We all need a healthy root system to sustain us. Life's lessons learned from a tree will last us forever!

History of Muir Woods: In 1905, US congressman William Kent and his wife Elizabeth purchased 611 acres of land with the goal of protecting the redwoods and the mountains above them from the logging industry. In 1907 when a water company planned to dam Redwood Creek which would flood the valley, Kent objected to the plan. The water company took Kent to court in an attempt to force the project to move ahead...so Kent donated 295 acres to the Federal Government, thus protecting the area. On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a “National Monument”, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual. Kent insisted the monument be named after naturalist John Muir, because Muir's environmental campaigns helped to establish the National Park system .

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 10, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Second Light"

Yesterday was the running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky...bluegrass country and truly an equine location. Horses...whether thoroughbred, appaloosa, mustang, palomino or clydesdale... are beautiful, graceful animals... as viewed in green pastures, ridden as pleasure along scenic country roads, trained as race horses or Grand Prix jumping. Enjoy this prose I wrote a couple years ago.


The Oldest Military Blogger wrote about First Light pertaining to the D-Day event. Then he wrote a brief verse to me about 1st Light...I questioned the significance of this title. Not until much later did I comprehend that his current 1st Light was surprisingly meaningful.

This story parallels his life from a young man to his days in the US Army. Upon his return, he happily married his sweetheart and had three children (two daughters and a son).


The colt was born and playfully frolicked
'side his mare and his sire on the sprawling estate.

He'd freedom to roam...canter and gallop
through meadows, through woodlands,
hillsides and valleys.

The amber coated colt...and a dapple gray filly,
a handsome pair, they became!
Horse-family approved! (of course).

The skill of the colt, his speed and his strength
caught the eye of a rider whose service he sought.

Trained for the jump, he was taken to events...
there to compete...to win with his Master.

The courses were set with challenging jumps...
parallel bars, the “Castle” and “Water”.
Thousands of people to watch him were counted
...as his mount had gauged
to successfully “clear”, with no rails down.

Grand Prix, Grand Prix and Grand Prix
...his Master, he served well!
The steed's muscles were achingly sore
and his hoofs needed specialty care.

Put “out to pasture”, he looked for his filly...
a beauty of dapple gray now!
They neighed to each other and with great pleasure
they roamed through woodlands and meadows,
lush hillsides and valleys.

Two fillies of their own and a colt of gloss amber
(a happy equine family indeed).
The Sire now told them of his Grand Prix days;
and the Mare related of her days at the track.

Then, one day, the Dapple 'came ill!
All were concerned about her poor health.
The Vet, he came to minister to her,
but sadly stated, “There is no cure”


The amber-coated Sire, how lonely he was
...his Dapple Beloved in Horse-Heaven afar.

Peace, he sought for many a year.
Green pastures invite and the sky is blue.
He now views his world
through new-found eyes.

One sunny day at his gate,
a shiny red trailer arrives.
Out steps a “Chestnut”
with wind-blown mane
and a long flowing tail.

His eyes look “in wonder”
and his ears prick up
as she neighs to him
....a warm friendly greeting!

Merle Baird-Kerr
January 13, 2009

Friday, May 6, 2011


Your Voice “talks to me;
its tones, whether teasing, subtle or gentle
convey messages.

Your Eyes “see” me
and perceive my thoughts;
I am often sensitized
by the mode of your look.

Your Smile “exudes”
mirth, charm and a happy spirit.
How can one not be captivated?

In conversation, you Hear
and absorb every word,
which, like an artist's brush
defines the person's character.

Frequently, your Mind
“escorts” me to a place beyond my realm,
and with a key, activates further discovery.

Your Touch is sensuous,
which awakens concealed emotions
which have been lovingly unmasked.

I am the recipient
of your eternal care, concern and protection
...which openly you bestow.
I am deeply gratified that you indulge me
with such respect and adoration.

Merle Baird-Kerr
April, 2010

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The History of "Aprons"

Mothers' Day is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in March, April or May as a day to honour motherhood and maternal bonds, as well as the contribution that they make to society. In Canada and United States, it is celebrated the second Sunday of May. Actually, observances began in the early 1870's and 1880's. Carnations have come to represent Mother's Day since Anna Jarvis delivered 500 of them to the church in Philadelphia, 1908 (two years after mother's death), where she had been a Sunday School teacher. Carnations, her mother's favourite flower, signified the recognition and honour Anna wished to bestow upon her mother.

Today, husbands and children honour mothers and grandmothers for all that they do in raising family children. In Canada, cards, flowers and even chocolates, are the most commonly used methods of expressing their love and appreciation for Moms. It has been commercialized to a great extent by compelling advertising strategies to commemorate this special day.

Renderings of my blog writings have related that I was born and raised on a farm in rural southern Ontario. I recall my mother, daily, wearing an apron...an absolute necessity- garment for a woman living on a farm with an extremely limited wardrobe...the apron, an integral item to her “house uniform”. I recall that my first sewing project in Home Economics classes in High School was to make an apron! I recall looking in the Pattern Book of Miss Proudfoot's in the Home Ec Room to select an apron pattern, which she would order for us, her students! This project taught many techniques: how to read a pattern, whether it was “Advance #5288” or “McCall 1169”; how to choose a washable and sturdy cotton fabric; how to make seams; how to bind the edges; how to decorate the bib part (if one was sufficiently creative). Upon completion, the apron was submitted to the teacher and assessed a mark for its appearance and workmanship.

Nothing to me, is more appropriate for Mother's Day , 2011 than the following article sent to me by a
Bridge enthusiast friend. Enjoy!

The History of “Aprons”

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to
protect the dress underneath because she only had a few
and because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses
and aprons required less material.

But along with that, it served as a pot holder
for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears,
and on occasions used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coup,
the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks,
and sometimes half-hatched eggs
to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came,
those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold,
Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow,
bent over the hot wood stove when cooking.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen
in the apron. From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.
After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples
that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road,
it was surprising how much furniture
that old apron could dust in a matter of minutes.

When dinner was ready,
Grandma would shoo the flies out the open screen door
with her apron...and then go out onto the porch,
wave her apron and the men folk knew
it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something
that will replace that “old-time apron”
that served so many purposes.

REMEMBER: Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies
on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs
on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out
how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron
...but Love!
Let me remind you that an apron is easier to iron than a dress!

The above refers to “Grandma”...my mother's apron had
many similar uses...which I now vividly recall.

Merle Baird-Kerr
May 1, 2011