My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

a green Friday

Winter has dragged itself offstage again, life has returned, and with it, my energy and brain. I think. I’m sitting on the deck, the sun is shining and the wind is soft – a perfect spring day. It’s been a purgatory, the endless bitter wind. A friend told me that at the opera recently, she has never heard so much coughing and sniffling. When leaving the house in the morning, no one knew how to dress, and for two weeks, we were never warm enough.

Now I’m looking at green incandescence shining in the sun, so many different shades of green, all of them stunning. I went to Riverdale Farm earlier, more green and a row of bristly red piglets nursing frantically, until their bristly red mother turned over with a grunt and rested her exhausted nipples in the mud. Still, the babes poked and pushed at her massive side, trying to get back. It’s not everyone who lives at the heart of a big city and can report watching a scene like that, two blocks from home.
My new barbeque is sitting in a giant box in the middle of the garden. A sale at Sear’s, a bit of research on-line, and voila, there it is. Now I have to wait for the handyman to come and put it together, which won’t happen till the middle of next week, and then, with the first hamburger and corn in the backyard, the good times of summer officially begin.
I am trying to avoid the newspapers, because it’s too lovely a day to get angry. Today’s Star has a front page story about the religious right and the Catholic church in Canada, happily thanking Stephen Harper for his anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights stand. Almost impossible to believe that this is my country, heading straight back to 1952. I hated Harper before, but now, my loathing knows no bounds. My country is turning hard right on human rights, women’s rights, reproductive rights, the environment, foreign policy – everything – while in the U.S., that valiant man and his team attempt to bring a bedevilled nation back to sanity. Horrifying. Close the newspaper and go outside.
But as I gaze at all the promising green, I’m not angry any more, but sad. Yesterday I received a group email from my friend Cynthia Brouse, who has been battling cancer for many months, and blogging about it in her inimitable style at She has posted the letter she sent her friends on the blog, so you can read it too. It’s written with style and grace, and it’s heartbreaking; she has been told – at least this is, as she says, the Pessimist’s Version – that she has three months to live. But she has hope, and we have hope, and she is still writing, almost daily.
Cynthia and I had a fortuitous meeting; we were both working at the Ryerson table at Word on the Street one year and began to talk. She told me about her brush with cancer, then in remission, and I urged her to write about it, as I do to anyone who tells me a story – Write about it! Only most people smile at me and forget all about it, whereas Cynthia is a professional writer with talent and heart, who wrote a very moving story about her cancer for Chatelaine and won a National Magazine Award.
So now we hope and hope and hope that her stellar writing career will continue. Hope and hope and hope. Send good thoughts to St. Mike’s. Hope that Cynthia can see the green from her window.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.