St. Peter’s Church, Bermuda

In March, 2011, we visited Bermuda and stayed near St. Peter’s church in the town of St. George.

This church is thought to be the oldest continually used church in the Western Hemisphere. The original church was built in 1612. Many parts of the current building originated from the structure built in 1713. There are two graveyards on the site.   

I took the photo below simply because  the tree is amazing – I had no idea that this is thought be a 500-year-old cedar.

Sunrise

“Climb up some hill at sunrise. Everyone needs perspective once in a while and you’ll find it there.” – Robb Sagendorph

Admittedly I did not climb a hill to get this shot – I took it from the balcony of our Bermuda accommodation – but it did give me fresh perspective. Sunrises and sunsets have a tendency to take one’s breath away for a reason; they remind you that all good things come to those who wait. Patiently. Sometimes for days.

 

Looking on the bright side

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best…

And…always look on the bright side of life…
Always look on the light side of life…

-Eric Idle

I am heading back to work tomorrow after a wonderfully long break. Like many people, the return to work is not something I necessarily look forward to. A life of leisure has much to be said for it. At present, though, there is an added layer of dread as there is a better than good chance I will be moving schools, at least for half my day.

Working in special education has been a wonderful second career for me (the first being fulltime, stay-at-home mom).  There are times, to be sure, when I question my sanity at working in a field that is incredibly undervalued, but when a student “gets it” – whatever “it” is – you tend to move past all that.

Yet, as teaching/educational assistants, we have less control over our day-to-day and yearly assignments than some other education workers. And right now, my future is uncertain. Yes, I signed up for this gig knowing that there is always the possibility of change at anytime during the year. That knowledge has not eased the stress.

So, in the spirit of new beginnings, I am going to try to look on the bright side. Change is good – and my life is more than good.

 

Ant Photo Shoot

 “When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.” E.O. Wilson

My son, who is in graduate school, studies and researches ants. Once in a while, I get a glimpse of what his work entails.
In the summer of 2010, I spent a couple of days at the research site where he was working, north of Toronto. Part of each day was spent collecting ants. In this case, collecting ants meant that you sought out a colony, often under a dead log, placed the log and surrounding dirt in a container and then you sucked up the ants using an aspirator.
While this may not be your idea of a good time, I loved it. Maybe not the part where some dirt got through the aspirator, but watching my son working, well that was beyond words.
 
Today, I had another opportunity to get a glimpse into the world of ants.

As my son begins an experiment to determine if a particular chemical impacts the foraging behaviour of ants, he needed to know how many ants were in each of the colonies he has been keeping. So, today we had an ant photo shoot.

Each of the colonies is kept in one of these containers. The ants are fed regularly, and make their new nests in the tubes shown below.

We downloaded the photos and divided the pictures into grids and counted all the ants outside the tubes.

Then, all the ants in the tubes, including the queen and the brood, are put into the container. Another photo of the container is taken and, again, the photo is divided up into grids and the ants are counted.

(This is not the best description of this part of my son’s work, or what we did, but I think it’s better to give too little information than misinformation.)

I am not, by nature, a person who could be called scientifically inclined. My son has patiently taught me more about science in the times he has shared his work than I ever learned in school. And just hanging out, well, that’s always time well spent.

Farewell

“Do all the good you can, in all the ways that you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times that you can, with all the zeal that you can, as long as you ever can.” – John Wesley

I’ve just received news that someone I greatly admire has passed away. She had fought long and hard against cancer with such grace and dignity. The goodness that she exuded made you want to do better and be better. She really was a sweet and wonderful presence.

I hope that she has found peace and that in her short 59 years she had the chance to create memories with her loved ones that will sustain them always.

How did it get so late so soon?

How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?
~Dr. Seuss

Tomorrow, at a truly insane early hour, my daughter leaves to return to university. Today will be akin to very slowly tearing off a firmly stuck on band-aid. It will hurt. Unlike the band-aid, though, I will not be glad that the experience is over. It will be months before I see her in the flesh. Get close enough to steal a hug. How did it get late so soon?

I am blessed with two incredible, capable, loving children. They are really nice people who bring laughter and lively conversation into my world and the worlds of everyone with whom they share their lives. It has been wonderful having my daughter home for 18 days, and my son joined us for a week which truly deepened the experience for everyone.  But suddenly, it has gotten late. Late into this visit.

I think my daughter fears there were moments, hours even, that she wasted that could have been better spent, rather than doing mundane tasks.  What is wasted if you are living life? Taking care of the necessary details? We all need to remember that every moment does not have to be worthy of being photographed and put into a scrapbook. Those are memories to look at, but the real moments that matter can be in the times where you are just doing stuff. Taking care of the business of living. Relationships are not built on moments captured, but by moments lived together.

It has gotten late. And the time to go is nearly upon us. I am seriously sad and yet, I am confident that the best is yet to come for my daughter. Her adventures in life are always upon her and she truly does know how to seize those days, those moments. She values people and relationships and experiences. I feel we’ve done her well to model that for her.

So, off you go. Enjoy.

Ubuntu.