Zach Lowe Takes Rumble on a Joy Ride: April 29, 2015

I huge wind stirred itself up in Calgary last evening.  Max and I blew around Frank’s Flats.  The great birds hung on the air.  The airplanes, landing at YYC, pushed north into dark grey clouds.  I imagined the turbulence.  The female osprey, the past two days, has been sitting consistently on the nest.  The male gripped a large black garbage bag in his powerful talons…landed next to her with finesse…I kept on going.  No dilly dallying!  Zach Lowe was hosting at the Rumble House and it was apt to be a celebration!

And it was!  A big crowd collected and the artists vroom vroomed from the starting block.  A great night of painting.  Jen and I had a piece of turf over by the musicians.  Last night, The Hillties.  Fabulous and inspiring music!

I painted a little glamour lady piece and it was picked up at auction by one of the band…very nice.  I also purchased a piece by Nick Rooney at auction.  It was a great night.  Lately, the painting at Rumble has been more about the automatic experience of laying paint down and less about huge reflective considerations.  I liked hearing Rich share the story at the end of the night about Alexander Eliot.  I liked that Andy brought me some cold water to drink.  I liked meeting Zach’s Mom. It was a beautiful ride, driving Enriquito home.  I was blessed at Rumble again.  And a cold blustery night turned warm.

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The Demise of a Tree Hugger

I don’t feel like saying a lot about this.  Just a couple of things…

After my Mom had suffered Alzheimer’s disease for quite some time…years…she still thought to ask when we Skyped with one another, how my little birds were doing.  In the middle of the cold winter, she’d ask if I could show her.  So, I took my little movies and posted them.  There were my little sparrows and my handsome elm tree.  My Mom would say, “Oh! God love them,” in that way that she expressed how much God loved pretty much every one and everything…but especially the poor and babies and little birds.  I think she thought that birds were in the world just to give happiness.

My tree has been like that for me.  It has given me happiness.  In the years when I suffered the loss of my marriage and the children and I set out on a journey all our own, my front yard tree was one of those special beings that filled me up with a sense of belonging and stability.

I write these words because I want my readers to know that the decision I made recently was a decision that I’ve struggled against since 2013 when it seems an epidemic of elm scale fell upon our mismanaged mono-planted community.  Some times cities are just built too quickly and my elm fell victim to the decisions of a ‘developer’.  I’m not going to go into the science of the disease or the alternative protocols to this radical one, but just this week, while I was away at work, a couple of very nice and understanding gents from Total Tree Solutions Ltd. cut down my elm.  And yes…I’ve been reliving the story, The Giving Tree, again and again ever since.

Friday morning of last week…

Cell April 24, 2015 Osprey, Tim Williams, Elm, Pillars 005Yesterday.Cell April 26 and 27 Osprey Elm Tree 025 Cell April 26 and 27 Osprey Elm Tree 024

April 22, 2015: Beautiful Rumblings

No grand stories this morning about the Rumble House experience, just that Bana and I car-pooled from the south end and intend to do that from now on.  It was just so fun chatting away on the trip to the core.  We’re hoping that our friend, Louise, will be joining us soon in our vehicle.

While the wind seemed to pick up ‘like a hurricane’, as described by Frank, everything was calm in the cozy studio-gallery-extravaganza space.  Zach did an awesome job as M.C. and we enjoyed some excellent readings at the microphone, performed by Matt…one from Alexander Eliot (so bang on) and the others from Morgan’s book, Break From Reality.

I completed another glam-girl painting and have decided I really want to take a class or two in portrait painting.  I love exploring the face so much, but want to create more mass and structure.  In the meantime, I’ll keep on pushing through.  I was so happy painting with one of my art besties, Jenn on the left and then Bana, on the right.  There was a beautiful calm spill over the place last night, like a bucket full of light blue paint.  Thanks, Zack, for purchasing my piece at auction.

Cell April 22, 2015 Rumble 020 Cell April 22, 2015 Rumble 019 Happy Earth Day, every one!Cell April 22, 2015 Rumble 014 Cell April 22, 2015 Rumble 013 Cell April 22, 2015 Rumble 012 YES!  We have fun at the auctions!Cell April 22, 2015 Rumble 010 Cell April 22, 2015 Rumble 004

The Osprey Return

One afternoon, as an update on social media, somewhere,  I wrote an account about a murder of crows.  I just looked it up.  It was a poem written on Divine Mercy Sunday.  I was mistaken.  The great bird with the huge wing span that flew out from the branches of the tree was an osprey, not an owl.  I know that now.

As I’ve picked litter at Frank’s Flats, I’ve been wondering if the osprey would return this season.  For some reason all of the nesting material that was heaped up on the platform disappeared early in the spring.  I find it impossible to believe that those strong winds blew it away.  There were many very heavy looking branches entwined and it had been there for a few nesting seasons.  The osprey couples have been very entertaining and I have watched them diligently, given their proximity to Frank’s Flats.  One of the greatest episodes was captured by a photographer who posted on our local birding blog, Birds Calgary and I highly recommend that you take a ‘gander’ at the photos of one particular event that I witnessed with great delight…a Canadian goose stubbornly trying to take over the osprey nest.  Please take a look!

I was pleasantly surprised as I headed home yesterday evening to see one of the osprey perched on the empty platform.  At the very same time, I saw its mate performing an amazing balancing act as he carried a very large branch across all four lanes on 22X and landed it on the nesting platform.

Tonight, I decided to cross over and hike my way along the dirt road…the old Sheriff Road that leads to the two platforms.  I hadn’t been there before.  I stood at the side of the water and watched the interactions between the two and witnessed how much the nest had changed in just a single day.  I also had opportunity to see how quickly a magpie headed stage left once the male decided to take control of the nest. Unfortunately, not having a camera, I was unable to record any of this diving, moving, loading and unloading…but was blessed in that I enjoyed a spectacular display of nature all on my own.

Taking off from a tall dead tree, one (the male, I believe…because the female mostly sat demurely, observing) mounted the breeze and sailed across to the far side of the water and so I decided to leave.  Hopping back into the car and heading east on 22X,  I looked out the passenger window to see the handsome bird sailing no further than fifteen feet to the side of my vehicle, another large branch held tightly in his talons.  I had to literally praise God…I had such chills.  What wonders!

This photograph was taken by my cousin, Mike Moffat, living in Hamilton, Ontario.  He is an amazing photographer. My brother, Stuart Moors, is also becoming very competent with his camera these days.  I feel proud of both of these gents.  Mike said that his attempts at osprey have been difficult because the sun seemed to always be to the back side of them.  I wanted to post a photo of an osprey here tonight because I just couldn’t capture this on my own.  If you have opportunity, take time to step out into your natural surroundings over the next while.  The sights are sometimes astounding.

Mike's Osprey

Photo Credit: Mike Moffat

I did take these photographs…discovering a new place.  I will be driving here often now and exploring, especially during this nesting season.

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Can you see her?

Can you see her? I am looking west into the sun.  That huge branch to the right is the one that the male precariously dragged across traffic last evening.  At one point it looked like it was going to touch the roof of a car.  Grainy…but, it’s the moment…

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Arthur Wheeler’s Descendant Contacts Me!

Just yesterday I had the most wonderful surprise on my blog….a comment left behind by the great grand daughter of Arthur Wheeler, a young man who accompanied my great grandfather on one of his cross-Atlantic trips with a boat load of Annie MacPherson children.

It went like this…

“My great grandfather, Arthur Wheeler, travelled to Canada with John Moors in March 1897. The group of Home Children was headed to Annie Macpherson Homes in Stratford. From what I can tell, this was Arthur’s first time to Canada.

In 1898, John Moors wrote a letter of recommendation for Arthur’s NWMP application. Not sure if you’ve seen the letter before but it is located here in the NWMP archives:

Now that I see John Moors’ father joined him Canada at some point, I am not entirely sure it is the younger John Moors (b 1896) that penned the letter. Arthur Wheeler’s family was from London and his father was a City Missionary there so there’s always the possibility the families knew each other in England prior to Arthur coming to Canada.”

The handwriting, given my expertise in handwriting analysis (insert laugh,) would be that of my great great grandfather, John Moors (1841-1914).  I have a sampling of his signature on his marriage certificate to Grace Rebecca Porter.  He was a grocer and Arthur Wheeler is listed on Lambeth 1891 census as being a grocer’s assistant.  He lived at 65 Hackford Road.  I think he was a family friend and may have even worked for my great great grandfather at 42 Prince’s Street.

The documentation that my father received from Bernardo’s in London, England, confirms that Arthur or Art Wheeler was a good friend of John’s and so decided to supervise the children, along with John, on the trip on the S. S. Parisian in March of 1897.  They split up at a point and likely have minimal contact after that as Arthur becomes a NWMP.

S.S. Parisian John Moors and Arthur Wheeler Detail March 1897 John Moors 20 Parisian With Arthur Wheeler 21I have promised the descendant photographs of the parts of my files that pertain to Arthur and here they are.

DSC_3640 DSC_3639 DSC_3638Similar to my family’s story, Arthur experienced some estrangement and struggle in his life story.  I think that leaving your home country and seeking out opportunity in  another culture likely leads to some feeling of isolation, separation and abandonment.  The wee children, labeled now, British Home Children really had to become people of a hard working nature in order to transcend the huge challenges that they faced.  Arthur is not to be confused with the Arthur Oliver Wheeler, the famous NWMP coming out of Ireland.  At some point, he took on the name, Arthur Charles Brixton Wheeler (Charles after his father), likely to make that distinction.

I am so very grateful for the contact that was made yesterday and know that John Moors and Arthur Wheeler would likely both think that it is marvelous!  Little did Arthur know that John had lost his life in France in 1918 and his life continued, a tough one likely, serving time in Regina, Saskatchewan; Caribou Crossing, Yukon; Dawson City, Yukon; what were called the unorganized territories of the Yukon; and then Old’s Alberta.  He had made an earlier trip to Canada in 1895 and would have been 18 years old.  He also traveled back to London at least once before becoming an officer for the NWMP.

I think it is a very cool thing that the female descendant is one from a line of Arthurs…and I am from a line of Johns.

Detail of note found that brought us together in time and space found here.

Library and Archives Canada: NWMP Personal Records 1873-1904

Library and Archives Canada: NWMP Personal Records 1873-1904


Spring means…

organizing photographs
dropping items to the Women in Need shop
Mr. and Mrs. Sparrow nesting in the vent across from my kitchen window
sprouts in the garden beds
return of water birds and the songs of red winged blackbirds, crows, geese, frogs, robins
crisp morning air
picking litter at Frank’s Flats
painting with children
keeping a close eye on live cams…eagles…wolves
walking lots


Insert George Bowering poem here…living, breathing, birthing, protecting, growing, dying.

??????????Spring…a time of tremendous courage as new life needs so much protecting.

Such a true blessing to watch children paint spring.  I marvel at it.  Concepts…overlapping…large-forward, small-back.

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April 15, 2015: Rumble and a 100th Battle

I just found it extremely peaceful at the Rumble House last night.  Apart from the focus of painting, there were the hugs and the laughter ringing out.  I put aside the celery sticks and, instead, enjoyed a piece of cake.  It was celebration time!  A night of enjoying the camaraderie and the art with friends made since the inception of the Gorilla House-now-Rumble House.  Thank you, Rich, for all of it.

As time goes by, our network of artists and visitors grows and we welcome everyone.  Last night was a full house, as well as some familiar faces from the beginning days.  Elijah, it was awesome to see you.  Frank, Harold, Tamara…I just feel warmer and happier when you’re around.  Mike got back from his vacation, rejuvenated and inspired.  Louise, shared strength and a huge desire in her heart, to create.  Magpies seemed to be surfacing.  I’m wondering what that’s about.  Mark, Aaron, Daniel…such inspiring people and voracious painters! Christine…painted the skyline and the tower as a celebration of the Flames entering into the playoffs!  Bana…Elena…your work blows me away.  Dawn, always a story…about mothering, grand-mothering or flowers.  Priscilla…a constant and nurturing presence. James…Chinese name pronounced…An-du…for the times that we fumbled over our words, trying to communicate profound ideas. Dave…for your wisdom and observations on faces.  Morgan…for your courage.  Jess…your laugh.  Ringo…your music. Ed…your leather bound guest book.  Rich, Matt, Sean, Galen…your generous hearts.  And…Zack for the purchase of my piece at auction…thank you.  If I have not mentioned you, it’s because I have to get Max out to the field before I teach! Missed tonight…Andy, Jenn and Enriquito for three…Jeff and Johanne for five…Asa for six.  And THESE THREE…who wandered in at 11 and asked, “Did we miss the auction?”  Such a beautiful time.

??????????If YOU ever wish to wander in, we’d love to have you!

??????????DSC_3519DSC_3522???????????????????????????????????????? ?????????? ????????????????????DSC_3555??????????DSC_3563 DSC_3564 ????????????????????Now, it’s time to really Rumble!DSC_3569DSC_3571

April 8, 2015: Rumble House

I had spent the day continuing to dig through the heaps of ephemera that’s been blowing through my hallways and cluttering my drawers for twenty years.  As I made my way through each pile on my living room coffee table, I considered watching another episode of Mad Men and not driving down to Rumble.  “Nah,” I said to myself, “I need to see some people and have a social interaction.”  This holiday has been like a solo retreat in the mountains, probably good for me, but also quite difficult and emotional at times.

As a prelude to the Easter Triduum, I revisited the grief I have at the loss of my mother.  She was very close to me for the weeks preceding Good Friday.  I tried to pay attention, but to not cave into the feelings around the loss.  Instead, in the morning, I might pull her gold chain and cross over my head or I might sit on the edge of my bed for a few minutes and grasp a beautiful memory.  I talked to my sister a couple of times and in that way, felt fortified and stronger to face the truth.  At the celebration of the Vigil…all of the tentative feelings disappeared and I had a true sense of Mom’s presence in the eternal sense.  I felt the renewal of her mind and her body.

Anyway…back on track here, I needed to get out to my artist-peeps and so I loaded up the car and headed for the Rumble House.

There was an unfamiliar hush in the space. A short story was being read aloud at the microphone…one of several gripping tales from the recently published Tall Tales of the Weird West, written by Allan Williams, edited by his friend Axel Howerton.  You’ve got to love a good spaghetti western!

Embraced by some of the folks who make my life richer, I painted a rabbit.  I’m not going to go into the symbolism and the intellectual reasons for taking on this subject, but know that there is a huge bit of writing about the rabbit, its greatest strength as a prey animal being its powerful sense and intuition.  It responds, often, before being fully aware of danger.  It’s symbolism is written about widely and is found in a plethora of art works.

Thanks to Chriss for purchasing my piece at auction.  And, Joel Monea, what fantastical tree art…absolutely stunning!  I’m glad to have a small acquisition, but not certain it is quenching my thirst.

?????????? Young Kai designed and created a ticket booth for purchasing auction paddles.  Amazing stuff!DSC_3476 ??????????Bana shared the story of her coupled art works.  Such a blessing to hear other people’s narratives!??????????This is mine.  Love you, Jenn! DSC_3467 ?????????? DSC_3459 DSC_3458 ?????????? DSC_3454 DSC_3453 DSC_3451 ?????????? ??????????