Shelter From The Heat

Arbor - Latin, meaning ūüĆ≤
God Loves Trees Too

In September we experienced severe heatwaves which was abnormal and brutal. For three days on a stretch the sun bombarded us with recording heat, enough to scramble eggs. Some loved it, others hated it; others, didn’t mind or care.

As I walked on our neighborhood street, I was thankful for every tree that shaded me along my way. From the strong and humble Weeping Willow  to the common yet stable Marple, or Oak. I was prayful that our street is laden with so much variety and shade. For I know what it’s like to walk in the scourging sun, no trees in sight for a long time… drinking your last drop of water just hoping that there is shade ahead. #Unbearable.

Trees Beautiful Trees
#ArborDays #TreesMatter

As a non-active Early Childhood Educator, I am free to teach my 7 year old daughter about nature-especially the botany in our community. I have a facination with the landscapes and the natural foliages of a city. I have never planted a tree in Canada yet; however, I always try to have flowers  and a kitchen garden. I’m thankful for all the people who have great regards for the trees in their immediate neighborhood.  My hope is to participate on Canada’s Arbor Day by helping to plant trees. 


Happy Planting!

jjf (c) 2017

Dear Canada


An Open Letter of Gratitude to Canada

Dear Canada:

It all begun when I was asked by my cousin to travel with her to Ottawa. I had one week to prepare. Thank God that in 1992, you allowed the Islands of the British CommonWealth to come to your shores with only an approved passport. We didn’t have to travel to Barbados to obtain a visa for visiting relatives and friends who had already settled in your land. Irony is, now that I am Canadian; many have no clue where St.Lucia is on the map. Today you’ve granted me the privilege to apply dual history and culture.

I was fortunate to have landed on one of your most prestigious airports, Pearson International in Toronto.  After our passports were stamped with all kinds of important information, we made our way to the vast space to wait endlessly to be taken to Ottawa. As we waited for what seemed like forever; for the strangers whom we’ve never met before to pick us up from your capital, I couldn’t help but observe that you had all kinds of strange people in your land: people whom I have never recognized or seen before in my homeland of St.Lucia. My eyes opened so wide that I had no time to take a nap or to sit still after our 5 hours plane ride. The energy of so many nations moving in all directions simply mesmerized me.

At 26 years old you were my first virgin flight, I arrived on your  land  in the cold month of April. It seem ordained that I had to come to you for the other two and half decades of my life. The Creator had a greater plan for my life and for you O Canada; for you have taught me things that no other nation on earth could have taught me. You transformed me into a strong, mature, and confident Afro-Caribbean-Canadian woman. You chose to adopt me, engrafting me into your culture, your people, and your landscape.

It was not easy at the beginning but you made it possible for me to see my way through the many languages,accents, dialects, which my ears had to get adjusted too. You‚Äôve allowed me to walk through your educational institutions without discrimination, and if it existed while I was there, I didn’t dwell there, for I knew that my new motherland was greater than the ideology of an oaf; her approach is that of dignity and the value placed on human lives.

Because of you I have made friends or met others along my way from various countries on earth. You showed me how to be kind by the way you show kindness to all who come to you  for refuge.  You are a harbour where the hurting and the dying come for refuge; and you give hope to  they that have dreams and want to soar.

In this great year 2017, as you celebrate 150 years of standing for peace, love and quality (equality); I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for creating policies with me in mind. For giving me the privilege to have access to social services, health care, and continuous education. I want to say thank you for providing for my two daughters whose navel cords are buried in your soil. Thank you for opening new doors for me. Thank you for being one of the best countries in the world.

Stay safe Canada, you are loved!

Sincerely yours,

New Citizen

jjf ©  2017

A Snowy Day

What was I thinking coming to live in this four seasons country which¬†I have grown to love over the course of time. Canada has been my home for almost 24 years. I left a tropical island¬†with only two seasons-sunny¬†and rainy-¬†for greater opportunities in icy freezing winter. (Not even Canadians born here¬†have gotten use to the cold). We all have to bear its¬†chilling¬†…¬†(What word or phase do you think should go here?)¬†I was thinking of¬†-its chilling tentacles with shape spikes!

I do not like shoveling snow. I do not like waiting for public transit when it is snowing or it has snowed. I hate walking in unplowed streets where the snow is almost my height -about 5 feet; and to make it worst, the city have a way of blocking you in with snow,  especially if you live on a side street leading into a main street. And do not talk about the wind; sometimes I do not know which is worst-the snow drifting in the blustering wind; or, that sneaky cold breeze that stings when you least expect it.

I do not like the wind trying to find a way to sneak under my many layers of clothing, making me feel under-dressed.¬† My friend told me years ago when I first came to Canada, that you cannot get rid of the cold no matter how much you’re padded or bundled up; also, there is no fashion when it comes to winter. She said that it is okay to have two hats on your head, four extra layers of clothing on, and¬†better to stay warm than to be fashionable. Well, I will argue the latter with her, there is some fashion in winter.

On a positive note, I refuse the cold to keep me indoors. Too much ‘indoors’ will send me insane.¬† O yes, I have itchy feet, I must walk;¬†just have to go outside. The cold cannot keep me in, even on days when all I see is the vapor coming out of the mouths or nostrils of people; or, I get that nod from the neighbors with eyes peering through ninja style hats or scarves- we feel you too. Me, I’m covered up too, the only parts of me that I might leave exposed are my fingers for snapping photos, to answer¬†or make a call,¬†or text messaging. When it’s biting cold I try my best to stay covered up from head to toe.

Warm Glow of Lights is a  poem or thought on lines according to Catherine Cookson, that I wrote to a beat in my head; I sang and chanted it while walking to get my daughter from the babysitter. The evening was just perfect, cold and crispРwarm lights were striking across the sky; some having the appearance of angels. I raised my voice to my contentment  as my deepest thoughts and prayers were with all the poor souls who were making their way out of the bitter cold.

Today my sentiment remains the same. The cold weather forces me to think of the homeless and the underprivileged in my community. While I might not like winter, I will be dressing very warm to extend my help for a worthy cause.



Warm Glow of Lights

Glow night snow

glow lights over the hearts

warming in shelters

beaming over all who are

fortunate to be

tucked away from the tentacles

of winter: snow sprawls all over,

nipping at everything; as clouds linger in an

overcast of freezing

wind chills that you wish not even your enemies

should be in this shivering bitter cold.

My prayer is that no person be found outside,

with hardly any vital signs; or no fire to cover the coldest

curdled hard to fight against winter’s elements

where the outside lights will not keep you warm

tears are useless in the cold, it freezes up

so on this biting, frosty night

it will be warmer with others; to share a fireplace, a kitchen, a bed

I beseech you find cover that will shield you

against the coldest needles which can pierce

even the warmest of spirits…

(c) 2015 jjf