Lyndon

There is nothing I enjoy more than learning something new. Except maybe experiencing something new. Actually, they could be considered the same thing. I registered for a class that started in October and runs every month. I, of course, attend the second last class because I didn’t know about the others. I caught up by reading the synopsis and do the readings. I felt ready to attend. The class is about connecting with nature.

I feel I am already pretty connected. I love watching wildlife, I understand how to find it. I live in an area that has coyotes living a couple blocks from me. I watch bald eagles circle overhead. I often see moose and deer on my way to work. Geese are everywhere in my neighbourhood and I can identify different songbirds.

Fauna taken care of.

Flora has always been a passion of mine. If there was a situation where I needed to forage, I wouldn’t get scurvy plus, food would be fairly tasty. I enjoy gardening. I love the feel of the dirt between my fingers and the smell of crushed leaves on my hands. Eating what you harvest is particularly satisfying. Give me a chair in the middle of the woods or garden and I am happy.

This class’ intent is to create a more abundant garden by connecting with nature. It leans on the ‘woo woo’ side of spirituality but I also connect with that. I am embracing the fact that I am an empath who is very intuitive. So – now you know.

This class talked about connecting with your garden. Apparently, when you speak to your plants they will perform better and you will receive an abundant garden. I have read studies on the power of music etc. Talking to people does marvellous things, so why not plants? It requested that I photograph my tree every day. Talk to it and touch it. I was to journal my experience. There were zero expectations about what I might experience and zero expectations to complete this. All I was told was “give it a try”. Cool, I am open to trying new things.

I did this for one week. Monday through Sunday. I forgot Friday. I was home from work sick. I made a habit of stopping by my tree every day after work. Decompressing before I entered the house. So technically,  I did it for 6 days. I promised my Edmonton Tourist peeps on Instagram and Facebook that I would report back. I received feedback that confirmed I am not alone in talking to my plants. But honestly – this is the first time I had ever done it. I promised to share my experience.

Day One: I have to admit I felt a little kooky for standing in front of my giant tree in the front yard. Its the only tree I have where I wouldn’t have to trudge through snow to get to. I can stand next to it without being knee deep in the frozen stuff.

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The sun was setting and the light was pretty. It was cold but, so what? I approached it and said ‘Hello Tree.” I thanked it for providing shelter from the wind and sun. I took my glove off and touched a limb I could reach. The bark was smooth but more importantly, I felt something. It was warm tingles flowing through me. The energy I feel when I am happy or on the right track. I thanked it again and was surprised I felt pretty darn good.

Day Two: I had completely forgotten about this project until I drove into my driveway. OH YEAH! I stepped out of my car and walked towards my tree. “Hello, Tree! How was your day?” I didn’t hear anything but I removed my glove and reached for the limb again. The energy moved rapidly into my arm and quickly enveloped me. Something told me to ask its name. Obviously, I didn’t get a name but I did get an image in my mind’s eye of fluttering. Almost like butterfly wings. I didn’t know what that meant or if it was anything at all but I wrote it down. I thanked the tree and went inside.

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Day Three:  Day three was an emotionally hard day. I had some personal stuff I was thinking about and focusing on work hasn’t all that fun. I felt pushed into a situation at work that annoyed me so I needed to deal with that the next day. Basically, coworkers frustrated me a bit. I pulled into my driveway and boom, I got excited because MY TREE! This time I didn’t even need to touch it before I felt the energy radiating from it. I thanked it for sharing the energy and touched its limb. I spoke to it telepathically and asked it its name. This time I heard (not with my ears but that gut feeling) “You name it.” Fine, I shall call you Lyndon, partly because you are a Linden tree and partly because Y is a thing for me. I have a Y in my name, I put one in my daughter’s name, it’s a special thing for me. The tree did not react to Lyndon, but why should it? It doesn’t need a name. After I named Lyndon, I turned to look at the bushes in my yard. I felt like I was neglecting them. So I walked up the garden path and gently touched them and thanked them for their time in my garden.  Honestly – I know this sounds kooky but here I am doing my homework. From my experience posting the first photo on Instagram, I have learned the great gardeners out there all have relationships with their plants so I am not that strange.

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Day Four: This was a bad day. I had a medical procedure done and I felt terrible. I was an emotional disaster and was happy to be home. I stood in front of my tree and cried a little. I didn’t say hello or thank you, I just accepted the energy from Lyndon. It flooded over me and I honestly felt better. I touched the limb and thanked Lyndon for being there for me. I stood there with my hand on the limb for a good ten minutes. I meditate daily and this felt the same way. It just felt good to be connected to my tree in silence.

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Day Five: I didn’t leave the house. I was a mess from the previous day. Hindsight tells me I should have gone to say hello to Lyndon. But I didn’t.

Day Six: Not a work day but I was going out to run some errands with the hubs. I knew I would be home late and I didn’t want to forget about my gratitude session with my tree. SO, I stood before it while the car was being backed out of the garage. I apologized for not visiting the day before. I thanked it for being understanding and always there. I held the limb for a while and the energy flowed through me again. I have to say I am quite surprised that I feel this good after I take a moment in gratitude, I don’t think its about the tree but more about being thankful for the tree. I thought about Lyndon on the way to our destination. I also thought about the importance of connecting more with my garden. If nothing else, its good for my mind. I feel refreshed afterwards.

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Day Seven: I had no plans to go anywhere. So I put shoes on and went outside to greet my tree. “Good Morning Lydon!” Then we held hands. “Thank you for being there for me.” We stood in silence for a while and I thought about how I take this beauty for granted. Actually how I take all my garden for granted. I apologized to everyone and thanked them for their presence in my garden because even covered in snow, they bring energy and interest into my space. I love the way they feel. So Thank you garden.

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I journaled every day for a week and am supposed to do this for a month, until the next class. At the time we were assigned this project, I suspected it was about gratitude. I wasn’t wrong, or at least I don’t think I am wrong. I am just supposed to report back. Do I feel different in a week? Absolutely. I feel connected to Lyndon and am grateful for the energy it shares with me. I look at my garden differently and its only been a week.

That Barenaked Ladies song has been running through my head the past few days, “Its been one week since you looked at me  Cocked your head to the side
and said I’m angry
Five days since you laughed at me saying
Get that together come back and see me
Three days since the living room,
I realized it’s all my fault, but couldn’t tell you
Yesterday you’d forgiven me
But it’ll still be two days till I say I’m sorry”

Don’t leave it, be grateful. I learned a lot about living things being there for you. Its okay to lean on them, ask for energy/love and say sorry when you need to. I don’t think it matters if it Flora, Fauna or Homosapians. Ask for what you need, give when you can.

It’s only been a week. A lot of learning happened.

 

Not Wordless Wednesday: Edmonton Tornado Warning

I was finishing up a proposal for an ethics paper when Environment Canada issued a Tornado Warning. A warning is scarier than a watch because funnel clouds were spotted. I was going to post my Wordless Wednesday for today but I am too shaken to stay quiet. Surprised? Ha! Don’t be.

This isn’t my first rodeo. I have lived to tell the tale of many of prairie storm, including the bad one in July 87 where 23 people died from a direct result of that tornado. I remember Pine Lake and I have survived plow winds and flooding. Today had me nervous like the one in ’87.

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My daughter was sent home early today – that was worrisome, the storm must be bad.

The Sky was green – also a bad sign.

The hail smashed my flowers – thankful I don’t need to eat my flowers, feeling bad for the farmers.

The wind was brutal – kept listening for the ‘freight train’ sound – luckily it never came in my neck of the woods.

Hunkered down in my basement with my kids, listening to the weather outside and on TV. None of it was hopeful. Yet all I could think was “I am glad I got my hill repeats in before the tornado.” HA! I must be a runner.

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Then the rain and wind stopped. Twitter had a great lot of pics tagged #yegwx that showed off the storm. This is the not so Wordless Wednesday.

 

Birds will be the death of me

Big Bird - Library of Congress, Living Legend ...
Big Bird – One of many muppet birds who don’t scare me like the real things do – not that Big Bird isn’t real, you know what I mean.

I get asked LOTS of questions here at the Edmonton Tourist. Usually they come from the ‘contact me‘ page, people will message me on my facebook page (hey come like me!) or they message me and chat away with me on twitter @edmontontourist. Sometimes I get asked questions directly in the comment section here on this blog or my Me and Mo Running blog. I get invitations to speak at gatherings, events and even summits (hello Canadian Medical Association!). But sometimes someone who I consider a bloggy friend, who morphed into a facebook friend asks me a question that has me stumped.

This is hard for me to take because I brag CONSTANTLY to my children about how I know EVERYTHING. Although now that they are approaching their adulthood – and quickly – they don’t believe me with the same intensity. If fact – sometimes I am called a LIAR. Shocking…but true. They have called me worse, but that might shock my grandma – so let’s just leave it at ‘liar’.

Mark Petruska, or should I say Author Mark Petruska who hails from Portland Vancouver, Washington asked me this:

Does your fear of birds stem from old Hitchcock movies? Scientific documentaries proclaiming that birds are descended from dinosaurs? Mitt Romney throwing Big Bird under the bus? Or is it something else entirely?

 

Hmmm. Good question Mark! I need to think about it.

For as long as I could remember, I feared birds in the “HOLY CRAP I AM GOING TO DIE!” way. Never in the “EWWW THEY ARE ICKY” way. Because Birds are not icky. Rodents are. Birds scare me in ways that I fear a stroke or a heart attack.

But the question remains WHY?

I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds when I was a teen, but I was already REALLY SUPER SCARED of birds by then. I would never pet chicks, never feed chickens, never feed ducks at the pond, and never EVER help grandpa fill his 9 billion bird feeders or paint any of his bird houses because I had no interest in those birds being anywhere near me – EVER.

Then a memory came to me. Then I realized I had REPRESSED this memory. Thinking about it TERRIFIES ME STILL.

I was 6 years old and living in Canada’s Arctic in a town called Yellowknife, North West Territories. Ravens were as bad as mosquitos. I kid you not. They were huge from my point of view and memory – so I looked them up. They are like flying chickens. My mom threatened to cook one for Thanksgiving one year. The problem with Ravens is they are smart. And not your usual “oh look a bird feeder” they are “hey fella’s, look over there, I see a grocery store. Let’s devise a plan to open the door and have a feast!”

I know you don’t believe me.

I remember walk home from school and my friend was eating a snack. The ravens swooped in, pulled my jacket so I was not in reaching distance of her. Another one flapped his wings in her face, while a third took the food out of her hands. It was scary.

Another time I was sitting in the window of our home and I watched two raven hover over a garbage can while a third one took the lid off. Then the other two went in and lifted the garbage bag out – first guy drops the lid and the 3 of them fly off with the garbage bag.

They would tease dogs for fun. I read about a raven working an automatic light and turning it on then wrapping its wings around the light to keep warm. These critters are smart. This was my first close encounter with birds. No wonder I am scared.

I saw a video of a Yellowknifer playing with a Raven. He would stick his finger out, say don’t peck me and of course the Raven would and the Raven would LAUGH! Are you kidding me? THAT BIRD LAUGHED! Fast forward after  you watch the beginning – PROOF!

These birds are far to smart for my liking, they will gesture to their pals, point with their feet, wings and beaks to hatch a hunting plan.

Now, I know they can talk but it isn’t the same as if Big Bird was speaking to me or if Clara and her hen party were singing at my birthday. These birds are normal in my eyes. Ravens have scarred me forever.

So now I need a little Muppet Happiness so I can sleep tonight.

 

Next time…

 

Today as I sit looking out my dinning room window, sipping my coffee that is brewed to perfection, I look out in my back yard to discover the birds have found the feeder placed for them for winter. They come in flocks having told their little friends of the abundance of food for them in my yard. Their excitement is obvious as they flutter in place to find a spot to perch and feast. Now with the snow having arrived earlier this week, finding food becomes a harder job for these littles creatures, so the banquet of seed that my feeder provides is welcome.

The irony of this is not lost on me. I sit with my coffee in the silence of my dinning room, gazing out into my back yard watching them jockey for position. I have a tremendous fear of those little feathered creatures. Their little beady eyes and tiny beaks frighten me. The fear of them coming to close or actually touching me is more than I can bear.

When I was 10, my parents took me to London. We walked forever but when we came to the steps of St. Paul’s we paused. Just like the song from Mary Poppins, there was a Bird Woman feeding the birds. The difference was, she was not selling bags of food for tuppence. My dad became excited for me as he pointed out the Bird Woman. Proof that magic happens. I stood and watched the woman with her arms out stretched. She held food in her hands and the birds would land on her and feed. She was covered in birds. My brother was amazed at her gift to talk to the birds, he also had a gift with animals. One day at the beach he walked up to a Gull and picked it up. The Gull trusted him and never tried to fly away. Eventually the bird tired of his attention and nipped him gently as if to say “I need to go now”. I remember thinking my brother was the bravest person alive. Now as I stood before this Bird woman, I knew it wasn’t bravery, it was magic. She had a soft gentle manner that could reach the minds of the birds and they trusted her. Just like the Gull trusted my little brother.

My grandfather had a love for birds. He would build birdhouses and feeders. Placed them in his yard and tried to attract special rare birds, not just the sparrow which is so abundant around here. I saw him once hold out his hand and a bird came to eat from it. He tried to get me to do the same but fear held me back.

These moments came flooding back to me this week. I met a woman who took a “Staycation”, a vacation at home. She made a point of going to the bird sanctuary so her staycation would feel like a vacation. She brought her penny whistle. She would listen to the cadence of the bird calls and answer back in the same fashion. She stayed in the same spot in the trees and just kept communicating back and forth with the chickadees. Soon the little birds started coming to her. She had no food for them, just her whistle. Birds started landing on her bag and she would answer their calls. Soon they were hopping on her. She talked about the fear she felt inside but managed to remain calm on the surface. She felt their sharp little claws clinging to her hands. Then one little bird flew up and hovered in front of her face. She was so frightened she closed her eyes and stayed perfectly still untill she could no longer feel the air moving in front of her face. Once she closed her eyes, the birds left. She felt tremendous disappointment and then immediately wished she looked that bird in the eye.

Fear does that to a person. It can fill you with the regret of doing something different. Fear also can give you the confidence to do it differently the next time.

Now that I look out over my yard I see the little birds have left for now. They will be back with friends now that they know where the seeds are kept. There will be a next time for them. My next time is coming up soon. I know how I will do things differently. Introspective does that for me.

Next time won’t escape me.

My Secret Kiss

How patriotic are you? Look at this guy

now either he has a statue fetish, entirely possible, or this guy is truly grateful for everything Lady Liberty stands for. I can’t think of anything symbolically Canadian I would kiss…that’s a lie, I would kiss Lord’s Stanley’s Cup. I have seen it up close and it is very shiny. We ALL know how I feel about shiny! However, the Stanley Cup is not uniquely Canadian. Blablabla…what ever you are WRONG. Ask New York how they felt about winning the Stanley Cup, or Boston. The original 6 teams get the significance. So as it stands, the cup does not count.

When Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics there was a united enhancement of patriotism across the country. I felt it, Quebec felt it and the Maritime felt it. Ontario always feels it, but us prairies and maritimes not so much. certainly not Quebec, they are always trying to leave. So for the first time in my life IN Canada I felt patriotic. When I travel I always feel Patriotic. I love it when people find out I am a Canuck and welcome me with open arms. That is one of the biggest reasons I love to travel. As a Canadian, it often feels like I have a special privilege visiting other countries. I am thankful and always grateful for the opportunity.

What symbol or artifact would make me want to kiss it? Certainly not a statue of John A. MacDonald. He was Canada’s first Prime Minister. I tend to look at Ministers and Politicians with an air of contempt or mistrust. I get there isn’t anything they can do until the rules change and the house is cleared after every election. It is the people who work for the politicians who have the real power. So no, that is not it.

How about the Last Spike? That is the the piece of the railroad that united the entire country, well theoretically at least. I was there. I didn’t feel like kissing it.Then there is the Giant Perogy on a Fork in Glendon, Alberta…although it looks tasty it isn’t something that I want to kiss.

There is something that I would miss if it wasn’t here anymore or if i moved to New York to hang out with Lady Liberty and pick up guys. I would miss Queen Elizabeth Park and a meaning of summer.

Queen E park symbolizes to me Summer Time. The most coveted time of the year in Edmonton, and may I be so bold and say, all of Canada with the exception of those parts out west that have spring all year long. Im sure they love summer too. They get a TON of rain.

Winter is so dark and cold and, well…SNOWY! When the time springs forward in March – can I just say I hate it? I do. It feels like jet lag without the awesomeness of a great tan or nifty souvenir – As I was saying, when the time springs forward in March, the geese magically appear. The Sun sets at 7:30pm and the snoweater arrives. Sure it’s still cold but the wind and sun are doing damage to the snow that the winter sun couldn’t do. When this happens, I know it is time to start thinking about Friday Night Picnics. The earliest we ever had one was in April. I am hoping that will happen again. In Fact, I am going to plan Easter Dinner at Queen Elizabeth Park. Weiner Roast, Bottle of Red, CHOCOLATE and possibly family that might be brave enough to join me. If I promise a fire, my offspring will come.

The question remains, Why is Queen Elizabeth Park my special stolen kiss? That requires an Edmonton Tourist top 11 list.

  1. It was the place where I had the first picnic with my children. Then we headed off to the Castle for a swim. They don’t usually want to swim afterwards now. A walk along the river with their Grandpa is what they prefer now.
  2. It was the place where I sat and talked on the bench with my best friend. We talked about things and stupid stuff and it made me realize how incredible special they truly are.
  3. It was the place where my friends and family came to celebrate my completion of my first Half Marathon. It meant a lot to me that they all came.
  4. It was the place where my mom and I stole picked Lilacs to fill our homes with smells that reminded me of my house as a little kid. My Grandma doesn’t have lilacs anymore but they remind me of her and her back yard.
  5. It was the place where I started to record family stories. I learned the importance of hearing stories and sharing them.
  6. It was the place where I saw a my first deer in the city. Sure there are TONS of them running around in the country, but you rarely see them in the city. The river valley is a great place to view wildlife and never have to leave the comfort of an urban space.
  7. All the saskatoons, strawberries and raspberries are yours for the taking!
  8. Skunks Hollow is located in that park. It is Edmonton’s BEST kept secret! I want a house there someday.
  9. Our picnic spot is always available, ALWAYS…it’s a sign
  10. Friday Night’s there is the best way to kick off the weekend always. When I can’t go, I resent it.
  11. Queen Elizabeth Park was the last place we had a picnic with my Grandpa.

xxx