Portrait of inspiration
The grim sweeper
Mom starts sweeping inside then goes out the front door, down the steps and finally sweeps the entire driveway. We have the cleanest driveway in town.
I got 20 paint pails to haul bark mulch from the source to our garden. Mom cleaned the dried paint out of them alone only as long as it took for me to snap this picture. Honest.
Mom filled the pails alone only as long as it took for me to snap this picture. Honest.
Lupines grow at dozens of locations along the highway. These are at the entrance to the source of the bark mulch. Each time we pass a patch Mom admires their beauty.
A rare rest
I offer her have a 5 minute break every hour but Mom seldom takes a break.
Sanding the railing
I offered Mom the power sander but she doesn't like to wear the ear protection and dust mask.
There are about 12 lbs. of strawberries here. Mom loves to pick berries. She did not pick them alone. Honest. A couple months later we picked raspberries. We picked blueberries and peaches at the market.
These flowers grow about 50' from our backdoor. Too bad we have to go so far to enjoy them.
The patch of grass is about 250 sq. ft. It is as thin as my hair but Mom enjoys cutting and raking it, the grass that is.
Asiatic pot lily
The supervisor takes a close look.
Mom and I removed, and cleaned all the debris from the gravel in our garden paths. She sifted gravel alone only as long as it took for me to snap this picture. Honest.
It is just at a practice facility but Mom enjoyed hitting the ball.
The flowers weren't beautiful enough so I forced Mom to sit among them.
Our lady of the mountains
This sign is at the entrance to Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church located where we begin our walk through the woods to the lake. I think it suits Mom perfectly.
Mom competing with the fall colors and winning.
Our Japanese maple
The Japanese maple is a deep burgundy color throughout the year. It becomes more beautiful in the fall when it puts on its crimson coat. Mom can put her coat on any time of the year.
We only use the front half of the court but Mom still gets full court pleasure out of hitting the ball.
Mom supervises the indoor garden as well.
Sweeping snow at 90
Whether it is summer or winter, dirt or snow, Mom loves to sweep. Most of the time though Mom shovels the snow; but not all of it. Honest.
The flower is a gift from my sister Sharon.
River of Golden Dreams 01/06
This view of the River of Golden Dreams is one of the most beautiful water scenes in the valley. The picture is that much more beautiful with the presence of Mom.
On the trail 1
It was a bit late on our first day of skiing but there is always time to look at a scene this beautiful.
Click and drag queen
I introduced Mom to solitaire on the computer in the fall of 05. Now it is next to scrabble as a favorite brain game.
On the trail 2
At this point we are half way around a 3k loop and also half way between Mom's falls. Click here to read about the falls. (to come back click "photo album" then "being mom".)
The dog is my brother Don's Lakeland terrier Brisko. He is always a welcome guest. If he comes before Mom is up he heads right for her bed, jumps up and stays there until she awakes.
River of Golden Dreams 03/06
Resting before return walk
We park the van at the beginning of the trail, walk 1.3k through the woods to Rainbow Park where we sit for a bit before the return trip. If you are going to rest, can you think of a more beautiful setting?
There is still lots of snow around but even 100 sq ft of garden is enough to clean up.
Cultivating the cactus
This is the second flowering in a few months. Mom never tires of its beauty.
Mom and I always have a nap after lunch. On this day when I got up from mine, I found Mom clipping the branches off the tree I had cut down. That doesn't happen all the time, honest.
The perfect match
Mom loves to have her colors match. On more than one occasion before leaving the house I have had to go upstairs to exchange socks Mom noticed didn't match the rest of her outfit. I asked her to put on this hat and blouse so I could take her picture beside the current bush. She loved the matching colors.
Mom and her lupines
Mom enjoys the beauty of the lupines growing by the side of the road so much I gathered some seeds and planted her own patch. These are second year plants.
Berry picking 1
Mom and have different picking techniques. She just bends at her waist and picks. I crawl along on my hands and knees because I am afraid if I bend over I may not be able to straighten up and I have to drive home.
Berry picking 2
Mom stood up just so I could take this picture. She really is just a picking machine.
Berry picking 3
There are about 11 pounds of berries in the box. Mom picked most of them while I emptied her picking container and took pictures.
Across the highway from where we live there is a lake with homes along its shore. Mom and I often walk along the road that services these homes. Due to the shape of the lake the road ends and begins again about 100 meters further on. The two ends of the road are connected by a lovely path through the woods. At the beginning of the path there is a memorial bench that we often sit on to enjoy the view. It inspired a poem I called "Mother's Bench".
The market (10.08.06)
Every Sunday throughout the summer there is farmer's market in town. We went most Sundays mostly just to enjoy an outing together. This picture was taken on Thanksgiving Sunday, the last market for the year. The experience inspired my poem, "Market Memory".
We are on the bridge we have to walk across when we go to the market each Sunday during the summer. This day we are heading to a restaurant where Mom treated me to lunch so she could have a break from doing the dishes.
The River of Golden Dreams 01.20.07
I make no apologies for a third picture of Mom gazing at The River of Golden Dreams on one of our many walks along the valley trail.
Mom never quits; but sadly, like all of us, she hasn't figured out how to pedal backwards.
03.19.07 When there is debris to clean up it never too early.
It was Mom's job to remove the stones from around the base of the maple tree, clean up the dead leaves and replace the stones. She had some difficulty on the sloping path but she managed.
Believe me this picture was not posed. I do give Mom the opportunity to take a break, once in a while.
This was my idea. Honest. Even Mom looked askance at me when I suggest vacuuming the hemlock cones off the gravel path but she did her usual thorough job.
05.17.07 Mom wanted to use one of my dull carpenter's saws but once she got used to the little pruning saw she worked like a beaver. She did it all by herself. Mom even tightened the wood in the vise.
I had to get Mom a new broom. Mom would have kept using the old one until the bristles were gone. Then she would have used the handle and when she wore that out she would have kept sweeping with her hands. I think I bought the old broom when she came to stay with me in 2001 because I can't imagine I had any need for one before that.
It is a conservative estimate that since beginning to live with me in 2001 Mom and I have played over 1600 games of scrabble. I think she has won about 1 in 5. Each time she reacts the same. First she laughs and slaps her leg. Then she says, "Incredible". Next she tries to console me with, "You can only play what you get." Occasionally she will ask me again who won. I would like to think she is putting me on but sadly, although she can remember how to spell and add up her score with the occasional help, she can't remember who won a few minutes after the game. If Mom does ask, I tell her again and she gets to enjoy the experience a second time.
The barber got carried away. This is the shortest Mom's hair has ever been. Still she looked good as always. The summer of 07.
I thought I was going to title this picture "the last sweep". It was taken just after Mom suffered through an attack of shingles followed by a bladder infection. For the first time I had to help her down the steps to the driveway so she could sweep. Prior to her health problems she would have swept her way down the steps and swept the entire flat area of the driveway without stopping. This day she lasted about 5 minutes before she needed a rest. I thought I was going to lose her. Happily, as you can see Mom recovered most of her lost life.
We were at the market. Mom is enjoying the activity.
Berry picking '07
This might be the last time we pick berries. Mom picked a lot. After we picked our 12 pounds Mom said she would have picked more quickly but was slowed down because she had to hold on to the wire supporting the raspberry canes to keep from falling. She didn't notice that I cried.
Berry picking '07
Berry picking '07
Mom and the berries we picked.
Cutting the grass
One more time.
I dumped it into the wheelbarrow full of water. The depris floats to the surface. Mom removed the debris with a kitchen sieve. I shoveled the clean gravel into buckets. It is a bit like moving a pile of sand from one spot to another but we did it together. This year Mom was a reluctant helper. She agreed to help only if I provided a chair with two cushions.
Mom and sister Suzanne
Suzanne came to visit. We packed a picnic lunch and set out to pick berries. We ate lunch on a bench of straw bales under a canopy. The three of us then picked strawberries. Afterward Mom returned to the shade of the canopy while S. and I picked blueberries. It was a successful outing.
Mom uses a broom to sweep up the tiny male fir cones. It helps to be happy.
Mom, sisters Suzanne and Sharon.
Suzanne travelled from Vancouver, Sharon from Ontario to spend Labor Day weekend with Mom and Me.
About half way from the parking lot, next to the bridge we cross to get to the market there is a lovely little park where we often take a break in our walk. Behind the grass are the love seats.
This day at the market Mom and I bought a bag of popcorn then returned to the park and the love seats where we relaxed in the sun, listened to the river rush by and ate our popcorn.
Sun and Mom
Between the path we walk on back to the parking lot and a road there is a strip of woods. On this day the filtered sun and Mom looked particularly beautiful.
Fall clean up
Mom's moto is, what we do in the fall we don't have to do in the spring.
Winter clean up
There wasn't enough snow to shovel; just enough to sweep. After Mom made a pile I shoveled it from the driveway.
There was enough snow to shovel this day. Even though it was only the 22nd of December 07 I gave Mom the shovel I bought her for Christmas. It is 6 days before her 92nd birthday.
Happy 92nd birthday Mom
We shared the mini Blackforest cake, her favorite.
Mom's snow job
When it snows Mom considers it her job to remove the snow from the deck. In previous years she thought it was her job to clear the snow from the steps leading down to the driveway but she is now uncomfortable working on uneven surfaces. When she finishes the deck Mom usually helps me clean up the driveway.
Really good hair day
I took this picture after a regular home made wash and dry. I asked Mom to change her blouse because it matches the cactus on the shelf.
Spring clean up 08
Just to do get out of the house and do something besides walking we got a start on spring clean up. We raked and swept tree debris from the snow onto the driveway then shoveled it into the garbage pail. We didn't finish that day but as Mom says, "It was a start."
Soaking up the new year sun.
Most weeks we have a pizza day. When the weather is good for sitting in the sun we park in one part of the village, walk to another part where we have our pizza then we walk to the base of the mountain, buy a cup of ice cream and sit in the sun until our bums get sore. Then we walk back to our van, drive home and I have a nap. It is always a good day.
The explanation of life and related writings.
While earning a B.A. and B.Phys.Ed. at McMaster U circa 1970 I asked why conflict pervades our lives. Years later I found the answer is the question of meaning I call "the last why", for it will never be answered. Still we try and have tried to "fill the void" behind "Why am I?" in ways that conflict, since it was first asked by 'Eve'. The result is our open-ended history of optional conflict.
In 2005 my Mom's need allowed me to see if I was a fool for asking why, by seeking reaction to my analysis the only way an anonymous carpenter could, with a website. I first tried to attract visitors with prose posts but changed to my poetry, for reason in rhyme is more memorable. I've had to advertise so I could be twice the fool but reaction leans toward, I may not be. If you like a poem please at least click the new 'like' (heart) button. It will help keep mine beating. Sharing will help too. Thanks. Doug.E.Barr