An Evening Miracle

A few evenings agp. while grumbling to myself about this summer’s heatwaves, I bent down to spread grass clippings around the tomato plants. A flock of birds flew over me. Because the air was so still, the unfamiliar sound of their beating wings startled me and sent a shiver up my spine. When I lifted my head, they were already landing, one-by-one on the tallest tree.

Oil pastel sketch. “Birds for Emmy.” ©Flora Doehler, 2009.

I watched them fly onwards from treetop to treetop until they were out of site. I will soon forget about the heat of this summer, but I will never forget the sound of their wings moving towards a common destination.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour
William Blake

Today at Gilbert’s Cove, Nova Scotia, I saw that world.

Anxiety and the Coronavirus

It’s a super gorgeous Spring day here. The birds are singing again, the goldfish in our pond are awake and flashing their brilliant orange. You would never imagine that the world is battling a pandemic caused by coronavirus. and that we are self-isolating.

Here in Nova Scotia, we had the first case just a few short weeks ago and now there are 262 confirmed cases. The entire province’s population is 1,000,000, so our numbers are low. But like the rest of Canada, we are in self-isolation at home.

Cat in Self-Isolation.   “Why are all the people so stressed out?”

Two weeks ago I felt anxious all the time. The 24/7 news cycle of horror, and the unprecedented global nature of the virus felt overwhelming. I thought I was turning into Neo in the Matrix movie when Morpheus horrifies him with the news that life on earth is now a computer simulation because the actual world has been obliterated.

Evening in the dining tent, Cameron Lake, 1994. ©Flora Doehler

But by far my worst anxiety was about the safety of our grown son and daughter in Berlin and in Montreal. It made sense to Larry and me that they both come home to be with us to ride out the pandemic.

Well, we weren’t on the same page, to say the least. Yet, as other parents know : once a parent, always a parent. Our love for them is unconditional and it’s in our DNA to keep our children (no matter the age) safe and cared for. As it turns out, they were wiser than we were. Both are fine, working from home and adapting quite well (dare I say ‘better than their mother’?) to the extreme behavioral adaptations we’ve all had to make to lessen the spread of the virus.

So this last week, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to change the fear I feel by changing my outlook. In no particular order, this has included:

  1. trusting that our kids are doing what is needed to stay safe
  2. limiting my news consumption
  3. listening to calming, meditative music on SoundCloud
  4. treating this time as a pause and a chance to assess life
  5. preparing healthy meals for Larry and me
  6. making creative plans for the future
  7. planning an even bigger vegetable garden this year
  8. coming back to the many activities around the house that I’ve postponed
  9. spending time in my studio painting
  10. working on practicing yoga and meditation
  11. appreciating the past, present and future times with my life partner Larry

I’ll bet you have some great tips that are helping you get through the mental worry part. I’d like to hear them.

I’m sure that books will be written about coping strategies, but also about positive spin-offs to this new era. I am hoping that countries will learn that we can all cooperate on finding  medicine and a vaccine for the virus. After that we can solve the climate crisis together. I truly hope that will be next.

Who ever thought that a virus would happen this year that would bring worldwide unemployment and close down everything like a Sunday in Canada in the 60’s?

May you and your loved ones be safe, stay home and go easy on yourself.

Little paintings in the studio and the last tulips for sale in Digby.

Disconnecting from the news.

Growing Your Own – Just a Little Longer

Here in Bear River, Nova Scotia, the deadly night frost arrived  a couple of weeks ago and that was the end of tomatoes, beans and zinnia for this year! Continue reading

We’re Having a Heatwave

The end of July in Bear River is going out on a heatwave. I’m thinking that a 24 hour snowstorm would feel good right about now. I love that summertime brings, well, summer, but I find the heat tiring….it’s hard to sleep and hard to be outside. Continue reading

Meditating Chickens in Bear River

written on Feb 27, 2012
A few days ago, on a walk with Larry, we passed a neighbour and as is the custom here, stopped to chat for 20 minutes on the side of the road.

I mentioned that we were out of eggs and I was off to Digby to buy some. “Oh don’t bother doing that,” said my neighbour. “I’m housesitting for our other neighbour whose hens are producing lots of eggs and we can go over there to get some right now.” Continue reading

Full Circle at the Fringe Festival

Coming full circle.

When my younger sister Gretchen was born in the 1950’s, her complex multiple disabilities meant that she would be institutionalized at the age of 4. My mother was devastated and her resulting depression along with the absence of my sister created a lot of sadness in our family that reverberated through the years and impacted on every relationship in the family.


Fast forward to the late 90’s when the institutions were closed and Gretchen came to live in a cul de sac group home in Toronto where she currently lives in a truly supportive environment.

Continue reading

Painting on Brier Island

Six years ago I spent a week painting on Brier Island. It looks like I’m going to have that chance again in August and I am so excited about it. Here is the post from that original trip:
Continue reading

Bear River’s Snowfall in 2015

This winter has been balmy and I see my lilies poking out of the ground. But 3 years ago we had the winter with the heaviest snowfall….which led to a gorgeous show of lush, spring flowers.  But let’s look at some photos from 2015 as a comparison.

Continue reading