My recent epiphany about the folk song “Alouette” brought to mind some other bird songs from my childhood—folk songs my Baba Fill taught me in Ukrainian. One was an action song about a chyzhyk—a siskin or a finch*. Again, in the bliss of ignorance, I didn’t know what a chyzhyk was until I looked it … Read more
Sometimes we think we understand things we really have no clue about.
A recent study at Harvard University’s Music Lab found that babies were soothed by lullabies even when they were sung in unfamiliar languages such as Scottish Gaelic or Hopi. That’s amazing! And it got me thinking about the lullabies I know. When my son was little, one of his favourites was “Oi khodyt’ son”—“Dream Passes … Read more
Picture this. A mountain-ringed campsite beside the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park. A crackling fire. Sun slanting down through the trees. River rumbling over rapids. The occasional crow chorus. (The resident clan regularly sends scouts to check if we’ve forgotten to take the dog food in.) Soft music playing from one of the randomly … Read more
Nostalgia was once thought to be an illness caused by clanging cowbells. We know better now. Photo by Max Itin on Unsplash. Believe it or not, nostalgia was once considered a disease. If you had it, you might be “treated” with leeches, opium, blood-letting, bullying or even bodily harm. A Russian general once threatened to … Read more
I ate the most delicious cherries the other day. I only buy cherries if they’re from neighbouring British Columbia, and I make a point of stuffing myself when they’re in season. Eating cherries always makes me think of my Kamloops family. Kamloops, B.C., is where my dad’s oldest sister lived. Every summer, my Auntie Jessie … Read more
I don’t think of myself as a materialist. Not especially, at any rate. I am a Taurus, so I do love beautiful things. But I don’t have to have a lot of beautiful things. Just some beautiful things that do, in fact, make me happy. I wrote about the power of things in a blog … Read more
A few weeks ago, I finally got around to starting a project I had been thinking about for some time. I’m calling it my Book of Things. I’ve made a list of things—tangible things— that are dear to me. My special things include a huge mishmash of stuff—a collection of receipts stickpinned together, family crockery, … Read more
Do you know the story of how your dad met your mom? Do you know how your grandmother got her name? Did you ever ask? Don’t you wish you knew those stories? Your kids and grandkids will want to know your stories too.
“Every man moves on…but there is no need to grieve. He leaves good things behind.” —Alistair MacLeod, “To Everything There Is a Season”
Telling your story is fun. A stroll through the past can bring back happy memories that make you feel good. That’s good for your health!