Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Pussy willows in the wild

Do you buy yourself flowers?

I don’t. The frugal former farmgirl part of me is uncomfortable with impractical spending. Why spend money on a luxury that will die in a few days?

Praises be, I raised a city daughter who thinks differently. She willingly spends money on touches of beauty: plants with character, fresh flowers and unique throw pillows. (Frugal former farmgirl says, Throw pillows? Useless!)

three throw pillows, one with a Harry Potter Marauders' Map

Last week my daughter brought home pussy willows.

Boom! She transported me back to my childhood farm near a wooded area where pussy willows grew wild. In my barn-chore gum rubber boots, I’d walk through the soggy marshland in the spring and run my fingers over the soft pussy willow buds.

I wondered how many people in our oh-so-urban society are lucky enough to have such a beautiful memory. I felt privileged and full of gratitude.

My daughter, spending her money so willingly, bought more than fresh flowers. She bought a long-forgotten cherished memory, an appreciation for my carefree childhood, and gratitude for how her different approach to life makes mine richer.

Those aren’t luxuries, and they won’t die in a few days.

Pussy willow buds

Pussy willows in the wild: Ontario Trees

I want to be Hermione

I wrote this piece in November, 2011 in response to Bruce Sanguin`s post on his If Darwin Prayed blog:  “I want to be Jason Bourne.”  Yep, almost two years later, I still want to be Hermione.


What woman in the media represents my ideals?

I love The Good Wife. Could I be Alicia Florrick? She’s smart, very good at her job, and ethical but willing to push the boundaries for the side of right. I like all of that. But there is the affair. My ideal woman would not do things she has to hide from her family. My ideal woman would not have to worry about what people will find on a search through her laptop. She just wasn’t quite right.

How about Penny from The Big Bang Theory? She’s beautiful, frank, and smarter than most people give her credit for. But an actress I am not, and I prefer if people don’t have to work so hard to figure out the brains behind the beauty.

Erin Brockovich? She’s smart and driven to pursue justice. But I’m just not comfortable with that much cleavage.

I ran through a long list of female role models that just didn’t feel right until I came to Hermione from Harry Potter. She’s the one:

  • Smart, and never tries to pretend otherwise
  • Beautiful, but not aware of it
  • Diligent worker
  • Good at what she does. The best. She saves Harry and Ron many times.
  • Relentless in her pursuit of the good
  • Brave in the face of danger
  • Loyal to her friends
  • Independent (Unlike Bella from that other horrible series, she doesn’t need a man to make her life complete.)

Hermione is what I would wish for the women of the world. Feminine, yes, but strong, smart, independent, right-seeking and capable.

Who do you want to be?

Strong women

Strong women (Photo credit: JPChamberland)

Harry Potter and the heart of good

What better time than Hallowe’en to write about magic and the battle between the forces of good and evil? Stephen Holmes, the acting head of divinity at St. Andrews University in Scotland, has good timing in that regard.

Earlier this week he endorsed Harry Potter—even called him Christ-like. Holmes hoped that the seal of approval of a respected theologian would open the minds of those who condemn the books as tools for promoting witchcraft.

I hope it helps.

The Harry Potter series has two powerful plus points. First, the books are a family experience. We read all seven books out loud together on long rides to the cottage. We laughed together and cried together, and I know many other families had a similar shared experience. Second, the overriding theme of the books is that good triumphs over evil, and love overpowers hate.

Hard to argue with that.

As we worked our way through the series, I wondered all along, “How is J.K. Rowling going to resolve this in a way that doesn’t involve Harry doing something evil?” I couldn’t imagine how Harry could remove Voldemort’s power without resorting to murder.

Isn’t that the way? When we face something evil, sometimes the only way that we can see our way out of it is doing something evil in return.

But J.K. Rowling didn’t take that road. In the end, Voldemort destroyed himself with his own evil rebounding back on himself. Good triumphed over evil; love overpowered hate.

We are Muggles, but, like Harry, we will often be tormented by Voldemorts in our lives.  We can follow Harry Potter’s example—place ourselves in the heart of good and see what happens.

Happy Hallowe’en!