About Sherrie Charter

Sherrie Charter is a self-professed dreamer and hopeful poet. She pays the bills as a Project Coordinator, but has dabbled in many of the arts and performed in choirs and stage productions from a very young age. Sherrie grew up all over the Golden Horseshoe and currently calls Mississauga home.

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.

 

 

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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.

Master Plan

There is order in the chaos, though it’s very hard to see.
The design is flowing through us – within you and within me.
From the vastness of the atom to the leaves upon the tree,
The Designer’s Plan is plainly there for all who truly wish to see.

Call it Magic, Math, or Science; call it divine mystery.
All names are lost within the great tide of eternity.
We are falling, we are falling – in and out, afire and free.
Calling out yet to be heard, the Universe, adrift at sea.

There is a time, there is a space, there is a guiding light we see.
In our ignorance we boast that we found electricity.
But the Master Artist weighs and see and paints with what is true.
And the pattern will be lost unless we take a step back, too.

A new start…to whet your whistles…not sure where this one is going yet…

The winter twilight had painted the snowy hills a murky mauve. The wind rustled through the branches of the pines. Across the highway, a lone Christmas tree gleamed, the only colour left in the darkening world.

Grace stood panting at the top of the hill, sled in hand. Her brother and sister had abandoned her out here in the cold and had gone back inside, lured by the smell of the turkey dinner. Her mother had not yet come out to collect her. She probably hasn’t even noticed, she thought. I’m always the last one she thinks of.

Tired, she flopped to her knees in the snow and absently sucked on the little snowballs stuck to her mittens. She’d wanted her siblings to help her build a ramp for the sled. It was perfect packing snow and she was sure that with the right momentum and angle of approach they could get some serious air. I wonder, she thought, what would happen if I never went back inside? I wouldn’t get to open my gifts…but then, they’re probably all socks anyway. She doubted her parents were going to give her the chemistry set she’d asked for. Little girls aren’t supposed to play with acid, her father kept telling her. Sheesh. How was she supposed to prove her theories without the right equipment?

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Wonder

Little donkey, did you see
Within His eyes Eternity?
Did you see and did you know,
That He would save us all below?
Little donkey, did you see and do you wonder yet, like me?

 Little dove, from your high perch,
Did you see the Wise Men search?
Did you hear them whisper low,
And see them bend, respect to show?
Little dove, did you see and do you wonder yet, like me?

Little lamb, with fleece of white,
What did you see on that dark night?
Did you see a family spurned;
Or Royals, Hallowed, lives upturned?
Little lamb, did you see and do you wonder yet, like me?

For I wonder if we still
Honour life and truth fulfilled.
Do we yet respect the Love
‘Twas sent to all men from Above?
Do we still, and do we see, that Love is for Eternity?

For as the donkey, dove and lamb
We all yet by His cradle stand.
And by His truths our lives should turn,
And in our hearts a flame yet burn.
And so this Christmas, our World so ill,
I must yet wonder…and be still.