I was in the bathtub soaking up the warmth while listening to my special playlist. It’s comprised of songs that I like to sing along with, that for whatever reason make me happy. Some of the songs are not good and I don’t know why they carry such emotional resonance. Some of the songs used to carry a negative connotation, but don’t anymore. For example, when symptoms are unpleasant and my body is freaking out, one of the best...
When I was a kid we did a couple of road trips to western Ontario to visit my stepfather’s maternal relations. His family were evangelical, and that’s how I was raised. I went to Sunday school, weekly Bible club, and a hardcore Christian camp down in New York State a couple of times.
In the summer of 2020 I took a DNA test through Ancestry. There were a few things that I hoped to accomplish with the test: to find out which African countries were in my DNA (mostly Nigeria); to learn more about my maternal, West Indian ancestry, which has been very difficult to research; and to find my biological father. For most of my life I have known that I had another parent out there somewhere. Small, tentative attempts to...
There were not many gardens in my childhood, and the few that come to mind are not exactly traditional. This fact threw me off for many of my early years as a garden writer. That I did not have a quaint story with a family farm, a vegetable patch in the yard, or an elder who passed on gardening know-how made me think I was a pariah trying to enter a party to which I was not invited.
On International Women’s Day we celebrate women who inspire us, who accomplish great things. Women we look up to. I’m not going to do that. Instead, I am going to recognize the women who shaped me, for better or worse. I always qualify with those words, because so little was better; much was worse. But they are my kin. My lineage.
I’ve been thinking about my stepfather a lot lately. It’s been hard not to since we moved out of the city and to a small town in Niagara. He worked for the canal. We live right by it now, drive past it regularly, and sometimes hear the ships from our home as they make their way up and down the escarpment from one Great Lake to another.
Earlier this evening, while slow drying a batch of our own homegrown tomatoes in the oven, Davin made a joke about the drying process to the tune of Rush’s “Closer to the Heart.” I’ve tried to replace it with “Subdivisions” (a superior song), but it refuses to come unstuck.
In a piece called “all about my mother,” author Jeanette Winterson tells the story of how a loveless upbringing led her to become a writer. She describes her mother as distrustful of books, a condition that lead to a stark void of reading materials in their home. There were six books in all, one of which included the Bible and two others that were commentaries on it.
It took a year, but we’ve finally cleared all of the boxes from a small, trapezoid-shaped room that we’d hoped would serve as a guest quarters where we can also read, listen to music, and play music (we have instruments but can’t really “play” any of them).