So many hearts speaking to hearts…
Yesterday saw us gathering at Ted Godwin’s memorial. What a beautiful sharing of thoughts, memories, stories and music. I hadn’t ever attended a funereal event where folk broke out into applause again and again or where the attendants had to graciously hint that we should eventually leave…artists, art dealers, writers, poets, musicians, AA supporters and friends all moving from the program into a reconnection-reception with one another….Ted being the common thread to all. His life richly blessed all of us. Highlights for me…standing before a beautiful polished urn…placed visually in Ted’s own Bow River…water reflections seeming to move as I gazed upon the composition. The painting, something like this one.
On either side of the painting, sprays of white flowers and greenery…a continuation of the colour story that felt so much like our dear Ted. To the left, a photograph of Ted from younger days, the fisherman by his river…a moving black and white photograph that told us the story of his love of that particular landscape…in his gesture and in his eyes.
Recitations of very important poetry…
Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson
Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me;
“Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.”
Testimonies of friends…prayers…the most chilling, for me, when Fred Williams opened up to all of us the opportunity to speak the names of those we had lost and loved…one name at a time, spoken…over and over the voices rose. I felt tears stream down my cheeks for the absolute unity we all felt around this moment.
I was sitting next to an artist-friend who has certainly inspired me over the years, Bill Duma. At the conclusion of his testimony, he read a quote from Ted’s own Lower Bow: A Celebration of Wilderness, Art and Fishing. At this, I felt chills go down my spine.
“Standing in the water and casting to a stir at twilight in late fall, I feel a gentle sadness in knowing that it might be the last fish and last day of the season. With a sniff of winter in the air, there is a certain finality to trips at this time of the year. All the rhythms of nature seem attended to change and the coming of the quiet white time. With nature putting on such a flamboyant show before winter’s slumber, one can’t help being swept up in the drama of the moment.”
Thank you, Bill.
Time shared with friends was so special to each of us afterwards, I’m certain of it. Doug MacLean stopped over for a visit. His advice and his connection early in my painting, was invaluable to me. His offerings to the art community in Calgary from the early days at the CAG and to its new location on the Stephen Avenue Mall…and finally, his continued presence now in Canmore, can not be qualified. Doug knows his art history…gives a huge context to Canadian art and his knowledge of art history surpassed most. It was good of him to share a visit with me after all of these years. I met Ted through Doug…just as I met John Snow and Peter von Tiesenhausen. I treasure you, dear friend.