A celebration of “Utter Peace and Tranquility”


I have a friend whom I have not (yet) met: writer and editor Brenda Skinner, who lives in Madoc. Brenda has posted great and useful comments here at Meanwhile, at the Manse, including a link to a CBC Radio program about the good old days when toys and towels and other good stuff came in Cracker Jack and cereal and detergent boxes; and also some words of encouragement on the “If you see something you like, buy it before it’s gone!” front.

Before moving to Madoc, Brenda and her husband lived on a 45-acre wooded property – with a pond! – in rural Northern Ontario. She has written a brief and charming memoir about the experience, called “Utter Peace and Tranquility” – and it is lovely. Regular readers will know that the peace and tranquility of Queensborough is (are?) one of the chief things I love about it, so it is delightful to read a remembrance/celebration of life in a similarly peaceful place. (With a pond, yet! No pond at the Manse.)

I think Brenda won’t mind if I quote one passage that really struck me in reading this delightful little book. Here goes:

“I find I don’t need conversation to fill up all my waking hours. In fact, I prefer the long silences; it’s when my mind becomes receptive to the sounds of nature. For the first time in my life, after to moving to Skinner’s Pond [what Brenda and her husband named their property], I began to distinguish between different bird calls; notice the time of year that the peepers started their mating call; listen with a shiver to the howling of wolves and yipping of coyotes. I realized how pleasurable it is to fall asleep with the sound of rain tapping on the roof … Is there any danger of tranquility overdose?”

What lovely writing, and spot-on evocation of the quiet rural life. Brenda, as far as I’m concerned, there could never be such a thing as tranquility overdose – and I expect you agree!

New information: If you’d like to get a copy of Brenda’s book, you can contact her at skinnerspond@gmail.com. Happy reading!

7 thoughts on “A celebration of “Utter Peace and Tranquility”

    • I am sure copies would be available through Brenda; I will check with her and find out what contact info it’s OK for me to post here. Stay tuned – and I know you will enjoy her book!

      • Thank-you very much. I look forward to contacting Brenda and obtaining some of her writings. She seems to have an excellent way of turning the words.

      • She does indeed! Brenda’s memoir of life at Skinner’s Pond is lovely. And it contains delightfully instructive bits, like how far away you have to be to be safe if a skunk sprays! Also, as a cat-lover, I am fond of the bits about the doings of Lester, who adopted Brenda and her husband.

  1. I, too, will be contacting Brenda to acquire a copy of Skinner’s Pond. The passage you quoted just reinforces the comment that I made to a colleague just this morning, that we live in such a frenetic, fastpaced world right now, we need to find as many avenues for rest and relaxation outside of the workplace..life is much too short to spend the majority of our hours working/absorbing stress, don’t you agree?-

    • I could not agree more, Eloise! And if you like, I will be happy to pick up your copy of Brenda’s book from her, and deliver it – as long as you can wait till we’re next in your neck of the woods!

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