Merry Christmas, Mother Earth

It’s been one hundred years since the War to End Wars,
And we’ve still yet to learn what humanity’s for.
We turned swords into plowshares then pillaged the earth,
And the wild things are crying, in spite of our mirth.

In my youth we were told we could each change the world,
But like an old photograph that is faded and curled,
Hopeful words lost their meaning when towers fell down,
And the earth just keeps warming in city and town.

But if peace can be found in just one faithful heart,
And if some still are left who are brave, quick and smart,
Then perhaps not all’s lost for the next century –
If our voices sing louder than hate and fury.

Then the polar bear might ever walk on the snow,
And the next generation true peace they may know.
The orcas will still swim for miles in the sea,
And we’ll bury our guns and know true liberty.

From the man on the cross to the men in the trenches,
They all look to us to tear down the last fences.
Remembrance Day, Christmas and each passing day
Lend a chance for to start to live life a new way.

May we all walk together, and each do our part,
To stand up to darkness and light it with heart.
For our true nature isn’t to hate and to fight –
My friends, we are all born to follow the Light.

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Commuters

They shared a look across the platform on a cold November day.
Two wrapped up travelers wishing they were hurrying off to play.

His cashmere scarf belayed the scuffed old satchel on his arm;
A man of style who knew that thrift would never do him harm.

Her trench pulled tight against those pounds she could never seem to shed.
She thought if he ever saw her less adorned the shame might drop her dead.

But still, she smiled as his eyes found hers, as they had every day before,
And his perfect smile sent in return left her wanting ever more.

She couldn’t know, but on this day the man had made a pact
To his mirrored self to make a move and finally to act.

He strode across the platform, sure and swift as knights of old
And taking off his glove extended a hand out in the cold.

“Good morning, Miss, I feel it’s time to meet and say hello.
You see, I’ve watched you every day and have longed to know you, so…

My name is David, and I hope, if you don’t think it vile,
You’ll sit with me upon the train and chat a little while.”

She met his hand and then his smile as the train pulled up beside,
And accepted his invitation for their Monday morning ride.

They talked of work and dogs and books and flirted just a bit.
And the ride was far too short this day – they wished that they could sit

Side by side for days on end, for each was sure they’d found
A kindred soul and fellow heart where love could run unbound.

Her station loomed and they parted ways with a promise to return
At the end of the day to talk again – there was so much left to learn.

And that was just the start of a love affair to last forever
All thanks to a train and a cold grey day – a happily ever after.

Anything for Camp

I was the quintessential Canadian girl of the 80’s.  I was a Girl Guide.  Well, I had been a dutiful Brownie…and signed up for Guides each year for one reason only: a week in the summer at Doe Lake Girl Guide Camp.  For that privilege I would go to as many meetings as I had to, sporting a blue dress, sash, coin purse and scarf (firmly tied in a square knot, of course).   Doe Lake was only three hours from home, but for a nerdy, arthritic kid like me, it was Magic. And I am ever grateful.

Packing was part of the adventure.  Eight pairs of underwear, socks, pants, sweaters and the Girl Guide camp uniforms your mother had dutifully ironed your name tag into; all packed into the giant hockey bag liberated from storage to store all your worldly possessions.  Camp hat ready for new badges and crafts. Carefully water-proofed bed roll, the knots tied just so. There were rumours that the leaders would throw your bed roll into the lake if it wasn’t tied right!  Back then we had just an air mattress to sleep on and had to pump the thing up with a funny little foot pump that took forever.  And inevitably once or twice during the week you’d wake up on the hard platform, the mattress having lost all of its air during the night.

But, oh, those camp sites were the most beautiful thing I’d had ever seen.  They had big white canvas tents on wooden platforms.  The five other girls assigned to your tent would become your new best friends… for the week, anyway.

And what a week!  Vying for that oh-so-coveted piece of white gimp that, when hung around your neck, meant you could swim well enough to have access to the deep part of the lake and could use the canoes.  Singing campfire songs long into the night.  Collecting ferns to spread over the ‘spit pit’…and then having the courage to brush your teeth there after dark.  Listening to the coolest women – with even cooler camp names, like ‘Kit’ – tell you all about astronomy, from inside the dining hall using the icing off a camper’s birthday cake to illustrate the constellations on the wall when the sleep-out was rained out.  Making heart-wrenching choices between badges, stuffed squirrels and chips at Tuck. Learning how to build shelters. Hearing ghost stories on that canoe trip over to the island.

Every girl should get to go to camp for a week. At least once in her life. Because it makes her a better woman, a better Canadian.  And because “on my honour, I will try” is a good motto to have written on your heart.

~Sherrie “Boots” Charter (Yep, I was a Guider for many years once I grew taller (I won’t say “grew up”; not sure I’ve done that yet), taking many girls back to camp with me.  I hope they had as much fun as I did (rain and shine), and that they learned at least half as much from me as I did from them.)

P.S. If you don’t currently support Girl Guides of Canada, at least go buy a coffee at Tim Horton’s on their Camp Day.  Help send a kid to camp…help change the future.

 

 

All is Calm

All the hills are still, the snow lies soft upon the ground
Lights and candles sparkle as a hush falls all around
Love is in the air for just one fleeting, gracious night.

Into the starry skies float songs of angels, earthly prayers.
So many human hearts yet yearn to shed their hateful layers.

Cardinals are snug and warm within their sturdy nests
All is well within each furry, fuzzy, feathered breast
Love is easy, quick and true outside of human-kind
May we all find such blessings offered us at Christmas time.

Oh Canada

Clean waters feed the nations,
Clean air fills all our lungs,
Clean soils fill all the bellies of both old and just begun.

We are trying to remember,
We are trying to foresee,
We are trying to create a space for you and me and we.

Come join me on the journey,
Come with laughter, tears and pain,
Come to celebrate our story and with love begin again.

A Christmas Wish of Love

In the still small silence, while winter winds doth blow.
We’re yearning for the peace we lost so long ago.
In the darkest night and in the winter snows,
The Christ Child midst the hate lies sweetly in repose.

In this time of lights and plenty ‘neath the tree,
Warmth of family will be with you and me.
While many out there suffer, lonely and alone;
Demons deep and dreadful to cut them to the bone.

The table piled with blessings of field and farm and tree,
Are not just ours to offer…they’re sent from Him to we.
Will we share the love that He sends shining down?
In our longing hearts will we let love abound?

In the still small silence, a prayer from me to you…
Remember those afflicted and pray for their souls, too.
So may you find the peace He sends from Heaven up above,
And know you’re in my prayers tonight, a Christmas Wish of Love.