Friday, October 5, 2012

"Quiet Times"...Part I

Douglas Wood (author of many books  for children and adults),
as a preface to an illustrated book, wrote:
“Sometimes a person needs a quiet place...

                     ...a place that's far away from the bustle and hustle of everyday life
                     ...a place that isn't ringing or talking or roaring or blaring or playing
                     ...but sometimes that place isn't easy to find.

                                  You could look under a bush in your own backyard
                                  where the world seems far away
                                  and you could be a pirate on a desert island.
                                  Or, you could sit on an old stump in the woods
                                  amidst the glittering sunlight and mossy shadows
                                  and be a timber wolf.

                                  You could look by the sea or in the desert  or in a cool dark cave,
                                  but if none of these places are right,
                                  you could come home and discover another quiet place.

                                  Perhaps, the very best quiet place of all ~
                                  the one that's inside of you
                                  where you can think your own thoughts
                                  and feel your own feelings.

Following the reading of Douglas Woods preface, I reflected upon the “quiet times”
that, unknown to me at the time, were instrumental in formulating  inner thoughts,
dreams and anticipated achievements.

                                    My dreams shall be my guiding stars
                                    as I navigate thro'  my unknown destiny.

The “Quiet Times” I write about are based on experiences  from childhood to
adult status...reflecting upon the outcome...the results  which may have been
positive or negative.  “Where was I?” now, I ask...not physically...but
emotionally and inside my mind.

To me, the “Quiet Time”  is a place to where I can transcend
                                          ... is a place where I can forget my worries, frets,
                                              concerns and unpleasant conversations
                                              (as a teacher erases a chalkboard at day's end).
                                  a place where I'm not disturbed by unwelcome
                                               noises  nor by people's idle gossip,
                                  a place where I can delete the foregoing
                                  is a place where I can dwell and focus on peace.
To me, the “Quiet Time” is a place of replenishment...a place of calm...a place
to regain inner strength...a place to cultivate my being, allowing my soul
to be inspired...a place to revitalize ...a place to be rejuvenated…where thoughts,
ideas and emotions can “bubble to the surface”, surpassing all other trivia
(like the glorious “pop of a champagne cork”!

DO NOT BELIEVE that, although, you may be alone...that there are no noises
of telephones, televisions and microwaves...that you're not involved in physical
activity this moment...that you can spend the “quietness of the room” dwelling
on your worries, your impatience and expectations, your family woes, etc.

Quickly, I was able to “place myself” in at least a dozen situations where
I learned over the to reap benefits of life to maintain
a positive to view various aspects to share and express
my thoughts with others. I've capitalized on numerous experiences to do so.
I know how “to get to these places of quiet”... and YOU CAN TOO!

When Winter Was Long

When I was a child, Winter arrived in November  and lived a full season  until
at least the end of March.  Snow fell on the ground, and more snow, and more
snow and more to come! Temperatures remained always below freezing level.
My father helped my sister and me to build snow forts each winter on our vast
farm property.  What fun to play outdoors  on these beautiful frosty winter
days!  The fort was “our castle” to live within. It was our protection from
blizzards and bitter wind gales.  Dressed warmly in snowsuits, boots, woolen
hats and mittens, we would lie in our “snow beds” and dream of a life in the
Arctic..of domed ice igloos...of partying with the seals and polar bears on
ice floes...of growing up to be “ice princesses”.
Then a call from Mother from her ever busy kitchen, broke our reverie
to enjoy hot freshly made tomato soup and home baked biscuits.  How
delicious to warm our bodies, thaw our fingers and toes..following
which we donned our boots, hats and mittens to return to our
high-walled-snow fort.

A Little  Pin-Money

During strawberry season (mid June to mid-July), it was the daily task
for my sister and me to pick the ripe berries.  We had carriers that held either
pint or quart boxes .Mother would keep the required number of boxes for our
household needs. (She taught us how to make strawberry first
lesson in cooking.)
The remaining berries my sister and I would sell at the roadside from a booth
built by my father.  We sat together and counted vehicles along Hwy. 53 of
Ontario plates and other provinces, together with those from United States.
Monies collected from our roadside sales were “ours to keep”.  This taste
of freedom gave us a sense of achievement and  reward...and to day-dream
about our futures...what would we be doing by age 16?  by age 21?

Overnight in the Barn

Puppies!  Aren't they adorable?  My father always had a dog on our farms.
When Teddy aged and suffered from lameness, he bought a puppy.  We
were never allowed to have dogs or cats in the house.  Halo, as a puppy
cried at night … most unhappy and lonely!  Feeling sentiments for this
puppy, I asked my father if I could keep Halo company at night time. 
Reminding me that the pup could not be brought into the home, he gave me
permission  to stay with the puppy in the barn.  So, it was with joy, I spent
several nights in the hayloft.  It gave me heavenly peace...knowing that Halo
and I were comfort for each other.  This gave me “time to reflect”...
time to look to the imagine this puppy growing into doghood...
what I could teach him  It was a time to contemplate...just Halo and me!

Life in the City

Unless you have lived on a farm, you cannot conceive the benefit of crops,
orchards and gardens;  nor the wide open spaces nor the contributions each
family member gives to life's daily existence!  Rarely we bought groceries,
rarely we shopped for clothing, rarely could we enjoy theatre entertainment,
rarely could we spend more than a day or two at Lake Erie during summer.

We had an aunt who lived in Hamilton...she worked as a stenographer at
Office Specialty; she had her own private apartment; she rode buses  or
travelled on the local “Belt Line”.  When my sister and I became 8 and 9,
our parents drove us to the Bus Station in Brantford...we travelled to
downtown Hamilton to be met there by Aunt Inez.  She had never married her, we were her “little girls” and spoiled us with city stuff!

Dinner at her home was special...with place settings of matching china,
crystal glasses for water and juice, cutlery perfectly arranged.  Jimmy
was her pet...a green budgie bird who could talk;  once he met us, she'd
release him from his cage with the freedom to land on her shoulder or
hand...having private conversations with  her and the teaching of new
words or phrases.

What thrilled us most were “bubble baths”!!!   She'd fill the tub with warm
water and special suds from a bottle…floating the surface  with thousands
of bubbles.  My sister and I sat at each end of the tub...visualizing we were
in a sky of clouds...only our heads surfaced the water.  Total levitation, it
seemed, to a higher form of life!  Every night for a week, we revelled in this
Aunt-Inez-treat!  We could dream away...and “walk with the archangels”!

Sky High

My  first flight was from Toronto to Montreal.  Can this big bird actually fly?
It must be safe...thousands have flown  before me!  So much activity at the
airport!  Hustle and Bustle!  Finally, seated and waiting for take-off...the
roar down the runway and the “lift-off” powerful and
exhilarating!  My nerves on edge with excitement!

SOON ~ up among the clouds heavenly...with white billowy formations
like ships on a smooth ocean.  Such joyful quiet within me ~ my moments
and hours to escape earthly intrusions!  This tranquility saturated my mind
with peace...I lingered long in this state of mind.

The return flight, late one evening, was mesmerizing!  Flying westward
into the sunset the sky became gold-rimmed clouds, then like an artist's palette
of oranges and reds. Skies darkened into midnight blue…
we approached the Toronto skyline... viewed the highways below like narrow
ribbons through the “toy-city”, the  snail-like moving vehicles with numerous
lights like the eyes of tiny insects, the dominant CN Tower on the waterfront and
finally...the vast coverage of twinkling star-studded-city lights...presented to me
a “night time dreamland”. I felt transplanted to another planet.

“Quiet Times” to be continued....Part II

“Pearl of Wisdom”
A man without dreams
is like a bird without wings.

Merle Baird-Kerr … written July 30, 2012
Comments Welcome … scroll down...(may sign in as “anonymous”)
                                                            or e-mail …


  1. Merle, what a beautiful write-up and how I admire the life you enjoyed as a child on the family Farm.

    Have a most enjoyable Thanksgiving - even if it is a quiet one - I am sure you will make most of it.



  2. Thank you, Pary for your interest. Living on a farm is certainly different than for many children who were "citified" raised. Many activities and opportunities for the family are not available when "farm tied". To city kids, living on a farm sounds very exciting and enjoyable!

  3. This post is a wonderful addition to the very fine work of your previous postings. Your keen insight to your surroundings and freedom of expression, make this chapter of your being, a perfect Essay.... Also sounds like, you are really having FUN .....

  4. Your comments are well appreciated!
    Inspiration and continued interest from you
    has "spurred me on" to continue writing and
    sharing of my experiences...including lessons learned over the years. Thank You, Solfine.