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nature’s music

Dear friend Shari Ulrich is in town from Bowen Island, B.C. with her young daughter Julia, to play some gigs; they’re staying in my basement suite, luckily not rented out till next week. Shari and I met in 1975, when I was doing a show with a band of musical, theatrical hippy nut jobs in the Kootenays, and she was touring with Joe Mock and Rick Scott in Pied Pumkin. She’s as beautiful and talented now as then, a fountain of music – voice, violin, guitar, piano – and has never stopped composing, touring and singing. Now her daughter, when not at McGill in Montreal, tours with her. Shari and Julia are at the club Guess What at 9 p.m. this coming Saturday. I wouldn’t miss it. Highly recommended.

Ah, feeling old – going to see Nancy White’s talented children, the Good Brothers play with their sons, Shari and her daughter … the next generation, taking over. As they are meant to do.

Mysterious drama tonight in the thick ivy in my yard. At 7.30, I was enjoying the usual dusk chorus of the birds who live in Ivyland, much twittering and getting ready for bed, when suddenly, in a great cloud and a loud whir of wings, dozens of sparrows whooshed from the ivy to a nearby tree. What disturbed them? A young hawk landed nearby once, but there was no hawk that I could see. Sometimes squirrels and raccoons make their way through, hunting perhaps for eggs. Anyway, after a few minutes, they flew tentatively back, and now the full evening twitterfest has resumed. All’s as it should be.

On Monday, I was about to eat dinner on the deck when I noticed the birds at the feeder. I knew it was empty, and was delaying the purchase of more heavy bags of seed until Shari came with her car Thursday. But there they all were, absurd little birds perched on top of the feeder, waiting for sustenance. I couldn’t bear it, and, telling them to be patient, I walked with my bundle buggy to the pet store, hauled back some seed and loaded them up. Well … they’re used to that feeder being full, and I’d let them down. A girl has responsibilities.
Nearby snores my cat, who twitches at the doorway only for squirrels, pays birds no mind. I don’t think she can be bothered to look up that high. The other day, a rare and marvellous event, she climbed onto my chair, stretched out beside me and began to purr. She purred! The old crab does know how.
Today, I stood inside watching a spider spin a web in the outside left corner of my front door. She went round with that one minuscule shining thread extending from her body, patiently hooking it onto the radiating strands … neatly, perfectly, around and around and around. Now there’s a notice with an arrow on my front door. “Watch out for web.” After all that work, I don’t want her home carelessly destroyed.
BK, champion of birds and bees. I used to have a nightmare that all the insects I’d killed would be in heaven when I arrived, waiting to confront me about my murderous ways. If so, I hope all the Ivyland sparrows will be there too, to vouch for my years of seed hauling and distribution.
Saw in the “Star” the other day that the tree outside the house that sheltered Anne Frank and her family and friends for two years has finally died – the tree that gave her comfort during her times of loneliness and despair. It made me weep to read that saplings from her tree have been planted around the world. I always talk about Anne to my classes. She’s one of my greatest heroes, a young girl with a notebook who told her story and changed the world.

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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.

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