Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 10th

Grandma Devins was born 121 years ago on May 10, 1896. Her life and mine overlapped for over 30 influential years and a day seldom passes that I do not think of her. Her sister was born on May 10, 1908, on Grandma’s 12th birthday. I did not spend as much time with Great-aunt Dorothy as I did with Grandma but I have fond memories of her as well. She and her husband retired in Guadalajara Mexico and thus influenced members of my immediate family members who later moved to that country. In Mexico, Mother’s Day is always May 10th, no matter what day of the week it falls on. It is a holiday in many regions so people can spend the day with their families. Mom’s birthday was May 5th so everything fits tidily in this week. 

To honour all that this day means to me, the Becka and I had a lovely mother-daughter day making new memories while remembering moms, grandmas, aunts and sisters who are far away. Grandma loved birding, especially in May. We braved a cold east wind off Lake Ontario to look for birds around Burlington Bay, Ontario. Most of them were hiding, seeking shelter from the wind. 

Trumpeter Swans turned their heads away from the offshore breeze while trying to glean some warmth from the sun. This month has been cool and wet, slowing the growth of leaves and flowers. Masses of blooming trilliums in their ancient colonies would have flowered in the same way 121 years ago. Observing nature, one sees constant change as well as constancy. It is reassuring that spring follows winter year after year after year. 

We warmed up at Abigail's Tea House in the small hamlet of St George, where vintage bird-cage chandeliers and charming mismatched china table settings create a comfortable ambience. The family who own and run the tea house are friendly and chatty and serve delicious, well presented meals with the best of teas. Everything is made from scratch in the kitchen or next door in their bakery. Nothing in this small place appears to have changed in the past century. Grandma would feel right at home with the menu and service. 

Each spring I look for "Tree Face" in our nearby woods. Soon the growth of new leaves will hide the old, gnarled tree. The face looks more weather beaten this year but it still speaks of the past and its connection to new growth in the forest. And so I share Grandma's stories with my daughter, whose life overlapped great-grandma's by three short years. Connected to the past while changing and growing into the future, the family links remain strong. 

Currently reading: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
Currently listening to: As Time Goes By played by Beegie Adair


  1. We did a bit of a Mothers Day driveabout yesterday, but it was somewhat gloomy ... as it also is today.

  2. Absolutely beautifully written and heart-warming post. I enjoyed reading about connections: past and present, people and trees. Nicely put.

    Change yet consistency - such an apt description of nature and life as well.

  3. I was interested to see the face in the tree. It reminded me that when we were children we used to concoct all kinds of images out of trees but even more from cloud formations - to say nothing in the frost on the window panes!


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