Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day

Pow Wow at Flat Bay, NL Canada July 2013

Today we celebrate the rich diversity of our country’s First Nations peoples. From the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador to the beaches of British Columbia our native peoples offer a wide variety of culture and spirituality. Yet traditionally, all across this great land they share a love of nature and a deep respect for the environment. Several years ago, I learned that one of my great grandmothers was a Mi’kmaq woman. Unfortunately, due to patrimony and the colonial practices of the day, I know little about her, or the Mi’kmaq people. I have been doing my best to learn more ever since then.

Today I celebrate all indigenous people everywhere and especially those here in Canada. Let us dance to the beat of the sacred drum and give thanks to the Creator who gifted us with life.


Clicking away

I have been reading the news stories coming out of the U.S.A. about the horrific policies in place that allow babies and children to be separated from their families. I am saddened and appalled, as most people are. At the same time, I am seeing memes in my news feed on social media declaring that children are separated from their families when their parents break the law. But, you see, in that case it is the parent who is put in a cage, not the child. And in most cases, there are other family members who step into the breach to care of the children. This kind of thinking defies logic in my mind. How do you compare the two? There is no comparison.  Do people not understand that families fleeing situations that place them in peril- whether it’s due to poverty, war, or natural disaster –  are searching for a place to raise their children in peace. These people are the most vulnerable citizens of this planet. And the most vulnerable of all are the children. I cannot even fathom the trauma they experience by being forcibly separated from their only source of comfort and security – their families.

Two years ago, wildfires swept through the city I call home and we were evacuated. We left with very little clothing, food, or water. Some jokingly referred to themselves as refugees. But we live in Canada and the Red Cross delivered food, water, medicines, and essentials within hours of being evacuated. Yet I still remember those feelings of fear and vulnerability, even though I knew help was on the way. The mass efforts to provide humanitarian aid was swift and gratefully received.

For the peoples of South America there is no such comfort. Instead they reach a border where they hope to receive aid and are faced with the ultimate sorrow – separation from their children. I cannot even begin to imagine how that feels, or how I could ever deal with such a situation. And so, I have been clicking away, sharing news stories that underline the plight of refugees and immigrants; sharing memes that encourage compassion and inclusion.  I don’t know what else to do. I feel totally helpless. As for the people who embrace the logic of “don’t break the law”, I can only shake my head and sigh. Laws sometimes need to be broken when your very life is at stake. And this litany plays over and over in my mind, “there, but for the grace of God, go I”.

The Tragedy

On brightest day

Or hours of dreary rain

The robin sits and croons its song

The sweetest trill

Or darkest hue

Adds color to

The common theme

Of life anew

What blessing did I miss?

While trudging through

The days

With head so full

Of what to do

And noticed not

The miracle


With head bent down

I could not see

The wondrous sight

Hidden in plain view

I did not bother

Did not see

Life unfolding


The kiss of spring

Before me lay

And bid me witness

the magic scene

a melodrama

Played out again

Yet I did not see

And therein lay

The tragedy

Every life matters

This morning I read a post on Facebook about a mother who took her children to the zoo. Her son is autistic. While there her son became agitated and a man yelled out, ‘some people should not be out in public, they ruin it for society’ or words to that effect. It’s not an exact quote, but you get the drift. That poor Mom! I grew quite angry reading her story.

The mentality of the man who yelled at that family in the zoo just boggles my mind. And he was there with his own children. It worries me that they, too, are being raised in a household that is biased, intolerant, and down right ignorant. How is that going to influence their lives and world views?

I don’t have anything profound to say, but I believe every life does matter. Every person in society deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. I am grateful to this Mom who was brave enough to share this unfortunate incident on social media. I am thankful for the insights she imparted. Unfortunately, ignorance abounds, but so too does kindness. Another gentleman took this imbecile to task and told him to leave the autistic boy and his family alone. Well done, sir. Well done!

Talking with birds

Recently I shared the story of a robin who built her nest in the flower box that hangs off the railing of the house next door. It has been awesome to watch the parents bringing grubs, worms, etc. to feed their young.  This morning I heard an awful commotion with the pair of robins chirping very excitedly and went outside to look. A cat was stalking the nest. The one robin was perched on the roof of the porch next door and when I looked up and saw it I asked, “what’s going on? Why are you so upset?” The bird literally leaned forward and looked directly at me as it chittered non-stop. Its partner was perched on the eaves trough and was also making a ruckus while looking down at the ground. Finally, a cat came out from under a bush and when I saw it I clapped my hands and shouted at it to go home. After a minute of clapping and shouting the poor animal finally ran off down the street with both parent robins in hot pursuit.

Well, that was an interesting start to the day. I do talk to birds and to animals. I’m not sure if that makes me ‘crazy’, but it is a life-long habit. And that robin really seemed to be trying to enlist my help with the feline intruder. It amazes me how emotionally invested I am in these birds and their young. It has been such a pleasure to watch them raise their chicks. It will be a while before the babies are big enough to fend for themselves. I just hope they make it.


link to previous article: https://chopkins2x3.wordpress.com/2018/05/27/the-american-robin-such-a-trusting-little-bird/


The mosquito difference

Muddled thoughts and emotions; Stress and simplicity; Broken records; Up and down; Inside and outside. So, what is this all about? I am not sure yet, I am working my way through a maze that seems unsolvable. Do you ever have days like this? Where your thoughts don’t seem to have any clear path and are blown around like tumbleweed? Yeah. That’s me at the moment. Clarity is a wonderful thing, once you get it. But isn’t life just a fog of confusion at times? And that’s okay. We don’t have to have the answers. We are not responsible for every single thing in the universe. Like the plastic that is floating en masse in the oceans; like climate change, some things are just beyond our individual control.

Having said that I do believe that as individuals we can make a difference. And all those small changes in our individual lifestyles can and will change the world. A smile can make a difference. Taking a reusable bag to the grocery store can make a difference. Manners can make a difference. How we treat one another, our ways of being do make a difference. My thoughts are still somewhat muddled, but I do know this much: What we say and do matters – a lot! I hope today to make a positive difference in some small way – for each small positive difference has a ripple effect. May today bring a torrential downpour of small positive differences – a veritable tsunami of kindnesses to this world.

“Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room.” – Christine Todd Whitman

New life, new reasons to celebrate

“The littlest feet make the biggest footprints on our hearts.” – Author unknown

I woke up this morning to the happy news that my niece had her baby girl. Life is so wondrous and so precious. This is my brother’s first grandchild and her birth has been much anticipated. She has given us something wonderful to focus on and a much-needed break from the jumble of emotions this past 18 months have been. If you follow this blog you know my brother was killed by an impaired driver a year and a half ago. This precious child is bringing healing and a new focus on the joys of life. While I am saddened that Chris is not here to hold this precious baby, I am rejoicing that she has arrived safe and sound and both mother and child are recuperating from the rigors of childbirth. Yes, life is fragile, but life is also very, very good.