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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Monday, February 27, 2012

And Yet, More Reading

Last week, I had one of those easily forgettable birthdays. (When you reach my age more and more of them are easily forgettable) There are those who still remember so I got a couple of books as gifts for the milestone. As an addition to the Christmas books I got this past years I feel a little backed up in my reading.

(click on photo to enlarge)

Here are the two new additions to my backed up reading materials. They both look very interesting and promise to be a little lighter reading than a couple of my other books from Christmas that remain unread. I find them both very tempting and I have already started to read in one of them.

The one I find myself reading is the one called Eating Dirt, by Charlotte Gill. It is about her experience as a professional tree planter for twenty years. This is perhaps one of the most physically challenging jobs anyone could work at. That anyone would do it for 20 years or more is remarkable to me. Having worked as a logger, I know some of the challenges to work in the bush planting seedlings on a piece work basis. I even considered trying it but decided at the time I was already too old. (I was over 30). Usually, students are recruited to do this work in Northern Ontario. Those who survive the physical challenges of it and master a good level of speed at at planting can make a good amount of money in a season. Not many make a profession of it.

The challenge of being a tree planter in British Columbia, which is the case in this book, is many times greater than the relative easier setting of Ontario, with the longer season on steep slopes of the mountains to work on. Besides the heat and cold, biting insects and poisonous plants, bad food and crummy housing, long hours and many days without a day off, you might also have to deal with Grizzly Bears, Cougars and other challenging wild life.

I just want to learn why and how a woman could rise to this physical challenge and what "spiritual" satisfaction there was in it for her to keep her at. This book is more than just a recollection; it is a life journey and an understanding between the relationship we have with forests.

The second book is a collection of essays by Nelson Mandela: Conversations with Myself. I look forward to learning more about this interesting saintly man. His life story is a remarkable one and the depths of his humanity which shaped modern South Africa, is awe inspiring. I just know it will be a wonderful read. I have read the forward written by President Barack Obama, who speaks of the influence Mandela has had on his life

My son, Parker, brought these two book by yesterday. He was in Toronto on my birthday so he brought these two gifts, one from my sister, and on from his family back with him.

I had planned to go to Mississauga to spend time with Lynne for my birthday. As it turned out I felt it was better to cancel this trip. Lynne's three year old granddaughter was diagnosed with cancer. I would have been a distraction when she, her daughter and two sons were focused on the baby. Last week she underwent surgery and had a kidney removed as the cancer was a tumor on one of her kidneys. She had an 8 hour operation at the Hospital of Sick Children in Toronto, a world class facility. She has been recovering nicely from the surgery but will face many months of chemotherapy. It is a form of cancer that is usually successfully treated but still a worry for those concerned. Certainly it is not what you like to think of a child having to cope with. There is good reason to be very hopeful for a positive outcome.

Leigha, Lynne's darling granddaughter. She has no idea of the weeks ahead of her undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments. God bless her!

In a month or so I may find the time to go south for a visit with Lynne and perhaps some time to spend with Leigha.

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At 7:27 p.m., Blogger John and Carol said...

So sorry to hear about the little girl's cancer. It is so sad when children suffer this awful disease.

At 9:17 p.m., Blogger Loretta said...

Happy Birthday!! Better late than never I guess. Hope you enjoy your new books.

Best wishes for the little girl. There is miracles happening every day with fighting cancer. I pray she gets one.

At 10:16 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Philip--several responses: first, happy birthday to you. As you no doubt know, I too am a February baby. I don't make much of birthdays, except to note (with happiness) that I am another year older.
Second, so sorry about Lynne's granddaughter. Yes, Wilms tumor is usually treatable--and here's hoping she responds well to treatment.
Third, Nelson Mandela--one of my personal heroes. I too got a book on him for my birthday--actually a book on South Africa After Mandela.

At 11:57 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Happy Birthday to you, Philip, but I am rather upset for Lynne and family. I would be distraught is this were my grandkid. I trust that this really is a condition that can be overcome.

I have been reading Hitchen's God is Not Great. It has some good parts and some less interesting ones from my point of view. Of course, I also have my usual group of mysteries at hand.

I hope you are okay with my comment on your previous post. I was just aiming to be candid, not confrontational or belligerent.

At 12:22 a.m., Blogger Rachel said...

Eating Dirt sounds like a very interesting story.

So sorry to hear about Lynne's grandchild. That is so sad. I certainly hope she makes a full recovery. That has to be very worrisome for everyone, and her so very young.

Belated Happy Birthday to you!!!

At 7:59 a.m., Blogger Lindsey said...

A belated Happy Birthday Philip. It looks like you have another couple of good reads to keep you going. The Nelson Mandela book really appeals to me.
I'm sorry to hear about Lynnes grandchild having cancer. She is a beautiful little girl. Cancer is a dreadful disease for all those that it touches. I am glad that the prognosis is positive.

At 1:25 a.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I'm so glad they were able to remove the kidney and pray that the cancer was all contained in that area alone. She's a beautiful little girl.
What is your actual date of birth, Philip? Mine was Feb. 15th.


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