Babies. Newborns, four-month-olds, six-month-olds, toddlers…but before they are swallowed up by the children they become. I love their newness, their freshness, their tiny hands and feet, the downy skin and clear blue eyes. And their helplessness and need for your care. My little grandson Joshua (and his mom and dad!) gave me that gift, the gift of being needed at the most basic level, at a time when I thought those days were behind me. Feeding him, rocking him, singing a lullaby. Must be my maternal side showing..
Leah…my beautiful granddaughter Leah. Her sunny smile, her boundless energy, her sweet, loving heart. The way she shares her thoughts so succinctly, but then her sudden shyness when she meets someone new (I know where that comes from!). Her innocent, yet beguiling charm.
The ocean. My new backyard…no, much more than that; it surrounds me! Every day I look out, it is a slightly different colour; morphing between shades of electric blue sapphire, or steel grey, or deep, dark, ominous navy with frothy white-caps. The sea is like a living thing, mercurial, organic, merciless. And endlessly beautiful.
Animals…and not just my cats. Horses, dogs, whales, birds, wild beings in the forest. Creatures of the sea and sky.
Conversation and dialogue, a monologue, poetry, words… talk shows, interviews, journals, diaries, songs! Slightly different shades of meaning expressed by employing a different word, an inflection, a facial expression, an innermost thought, a lyric or a verse.
Love. All kinds: a mother’s love, friend love, passionate, head-over-heels in love, idolatry, paternal love, mentor love, unrequited love. A grandparent’s love! Love for a pet. Perhaps most importantly, love of Self.
Order. I like when life has a plan, a logical sequence, a symmetry, even when there doesn’t seem to be any apparent sense to it (the challenge and reward is in the discovery of meaning where you thought there was none). On a simpler level, I love neatness and polish of style, whether it be fashion, decorating, or artistic expression.
Work. Ordinary ol’ hard work, the only way to get anything done. The idea of purpose and direction in your life, and not just something you do for yourself but for everyone around you. Getting in there and rolling up your sleeves, getting good and dirty, immersing yourself in a job for no other reason than it just feels good to do so.
The joy of cooking. The planning, the preparation, and the patience required to turn out a delicious meal. Excellent therapy for giving you focus. It can also teach you how to be more resourceful with what is on hand. All you need is inspiration, imagination, and a few dozen cookbooks!
Music. All kinds of music that is good. This includes anything that makes you want to dance and sing, no matter how silly a ditty it is. Food for the soul and spirit.
Tales of the sea. Shipwrecks, near tragedies, heroism by ordinary mortals in extraordinary circumstances. Stories of Newfoundlanders who overcame hardship as they tried to eke out a living from the sea.
Heroism in everyday life: a man who gives of himself generously to those in need, with no thought of recompense; a person coming to the rescue of someone in great emotional pain; the woman who raises a family without a father in the picture (and does it well); the bravery of someone battling an illness or condition; dying with dignity.
Books…old, dusty tomes with dog-eared pages, brand new paperbacks, the smell of ink inside, stories written before I was born, colourful, well-written fiction of today, non-fiction that inspires while it helps explain the world and our place in it. I was a devout bookworm growing up; my best friends lived inside the pages, and I hated saying good-bye to them at the end. Racing to finish that book you can’t put down, savouring every word, but hating its completion. I would love to write a book like that. That is my goal.