I’m not big on being that person who says they are spiritual, but not religious. I’m religious. I find all of the rituals and mysteries and unanswered questions absolutely beautiful. I don’t look at the dark past of the evil humans who have screwed all of this beauty up so horrendously because I’m so busy connecting with the good humans who are doing a lot of hard work to live as Jesus did.
Life is both brutal and beautiful. It is impossible to sift out the bits, and take only the ‘good’ bits.. And while some contend that you can choose happiness, I beg to differ. Life is about the entire spectrum of what life brings. Some days, you just step out in faith. Some days there is a bitterness that the warmth can not permeate, but you step out anyway. This morning, was one of those for me. And, look! Mr. was waiting with a striking bunch of Magpies, with a brilliant blue sky as their backdrop. Never before have I heard a Bald Eagle making sounds with the breaking of bones, much like you might here from a dog chowing down on a soup bone. It was an amazing experience.
Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.
Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of colour.
The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything.
Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.
Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was live, awake, complete.
We look towards each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.
Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul’s gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.
Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.
When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.
May you continue to inspire us:
To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.
I have lived the past five years without my mother in the physical-her-voice-over-the-phone-physical way. The night I received the phone call that my mother passed away, I crumbled to my knees. Mom was my closest friend. There was NO WAY this could be! Today, the reality of it is still absurd.
Every event in my life, whether small OR significant…every milestone is a reminder. Grief never leaves, but ‘softens on the edges’. For those of my readers who have not yet suffered loss, we ‘don’t get over it’ ever! In timely fashion, CBC radio produced an amazing program on the subject early this week? end of last week. Just a sec. I’ll go find the link.
When my grandson was born, I got a bit of a sucker punch in the gut, some time after the elation and after I drove home from hospital for some much-needed sleep. Hot tears hit my pillow because in my mind the most heaven-filled experience of my lifetime has been the birth of Steven, so what might that have meant to my mother? I hurt a lot with the inability to share this precious boy with my mother.
Mom with my own son, March 1990.
So, there are always going to be those moments.
What can I do, moving forward? Well, one of the gifts that my mother gave me in moving into the everlasting is that she gave me the relationship I now have with my Dad. Let’s face it, Moms and daughters can talk A LOT. As women they become well-bonded through their experiences and their enjoyment in conversation. Since Mom gave me my friendship with my father, I am so grateful. I love that man so much! We have persisted with our 5:00 pm Skype conversations that began to happen daily when Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, although clearly, our timing is a bit more flexible. My Dad and I talk about absolutely EVERYTHING and this wasn’t always the case. I thank Mom for this. I’m very grateful. Moving forward, I can continue to honour my experiences with my Dad.
As various forms of dementia wreak havoc on aging populations (and this is a bit of a stereotype), we need to explore a number of aspects…health care, supports for caregivers, a more generous perception of personal support workers (paid BETTER and valued for their important work), and financial support for the sake of clinical research.
Finally, I am interested in spiritual connection. My mother really valued her relationship with her Saviour. During my nature walk this morning I was thinking about how human beings are plugged into their devices, around the clock. My Mom would want people to unplug from those and to plug in to real-time conversations instead. She would want us to plug in to experiences and to explore the inner workings of our hearts and minds, no matter our leaning or our ceremony or our practice. As I contemplate this, I will take time today to consider my spirit and tend to it.
Let us be gentle with ourselves on our personal journeys of grief. Time moves on, even though we fight against it. Today, on the anniversary of my mother’s birthday, I am going to spend time in the garden. I’m taking my dog walking into beautiful landscapes. I’m going to try to live an honourable life. I am going to remember the times of laughter shared with a beautiful woman, my Mom.
Through the kind invitation of a dear friend, I ended up at the Calgary Catholic Retired Teachers Spring Luncheon at the Calgary Elk’s Club the day following my birthday. Thank you to Ruth, Pat and Emelia for the gracious planning. I felt so blessed by the renewed connections and the warm embrace of the educators in my circle. It was an absolutely magical afternoon.
Sitting on my right, was Joan. In 1979, weeks after the birth of my first child, I took a bus from Lethbridge to Calgary, to interview with this person. Little did I know, at that time, what a powerful inspiration Joan would become, in my teaching, but also in my way of seeing life and the world…visually…but, in so many other ways.
Last Tuesday…she gave me something more to think about….IS-NESS…the experience of being completely present in this moment. It’s common to talk about the optimal state of ‘being’, living for this moment only. There are many ‘gurus’ among us. “There is no past. There can be no future. There is only ‘now’.” These run the risk of becoming mere platitudes. I think we all know what’s really going on…and it’s what the world is telling us is important, not what we know to be important. (sorry to be speaking for all of us here…maybe I’m wrong)
During my life, I’ve driven forward more than anything. In youth, I thought that I needed more. I set huge goals for myself. The wheels were in spin and forward I drove! (when I type the word, DROVE, an image comes up for me…a huge wind pressing at my face and the full weight of my body pushing against it). I dedicated myself to the work of that…the industry of that. I taught full days, but didn’t wind down, painting well into the night and rising early in the morning. I tasted what the FUTURE might be, but never really grasped it.
At some point, I opened the door, and rolled out of the speeding vehicle that was the life I had created and landed safely beside the freeway traveled by all of those around me. For the first time, I noticed what ‘other people’ were doing while I was painting, teaching and raising three children. I looked at my life through the rear view mirror and came to a lurching halt. I saw, for the first time, what it meant to stop….not to slow down, but to stop.
I am not writing this post, in judgement of my choices in youth. If one looks at the accomplishments of ‘the greats’, one knows that their achievements came to be through commitment, dedication and mostly, sacrifice. It is no wonder that I spent most of my life seeking success, recognition, accomplishment, production, money. These are the false promises of the human construct.
I am listening to Chris Cornell’s album, Higher Truth, as I type. I just listened with a new ear to the song, Dead Wishes. While it is not for me to question why, at the age of 52, he took his life, it is for me to explore what it is in this human heart…every heart…that aches, struggles and seeks to be MORE.
One blessing of my life was to sit down with my children and gather for Sunday dinner; another, to seek to communicate and connect. I was rich for the opportunity to see, write, learn and experience art, music and performance…for the opportunity to be still with nature, make observations through all of my senses. Joy came with walking my dogs, Max-man and Laurie-dog before him. It came with sitting in the church when it was quiet. Gratitude came with writing a poem. Magic was to hold my mother’s hand when she slept, warm under her blankets, her Buddy-dog curled into the circle of her back. Freedom was and continues to be to turn on my favourite music and to paint in my studio, in the same way that the other might dance, with no one watching…for me alone. IS-NESS….articulated by a dear friend.
(of course, I came home and looked through my documentation of years gone by…the photographs, mere snapshots of times shared…so much wisdom and joy contained in the flashes of light)
I was hired on with Calgary Catholic School District #1 in 1979. My experiences for the following nine years at Holy Cross Elementary/Junior High were life changing. This is where I learned the value of the person, above program. To nurture a love for reading, learning, creating and self ultimately leads to enthusiasm for content, practice and consistent attendance. I was blessed when opportunities in my career, led to both St. John Fine Art’s School and the Fine Art’s Center (in two different locations). There, I met some of the most amazing people…educators who fearlessly impacted the district with the truth of the matter…and that is that experiences of art, music, drama and dance teach the brain in new ways, enhance all learning and create well-rounded human beings, prepared for a world that requires problem solving and new ways of seeing! I went on to take everything I had learned to that point and participated in the opening of Cardinal Newman, a school in the deep south. There, I continued to work as an advocate for the fine arts and to dream that they would be honoured within the curriculum.
In the following photographs, I’ve captured just a very small sampling of those educators, my mentors and friends. As Alberta is deliberating about and writing new curricula, I’m pleased to recall that I participated in the implementation of the art and drama curricula all those years ago. It was wonderful to meet up again, with friends, and to share some stories…to speak of life and art and books and Is-ness. Thank you.
Recently, like everyone else, I’ve been swept up in more fear and anger than usual because of the shifting tides of political, economic and philosophical posturing the world over. We try, surrounded by the bombardment of ideas, reactions and media, to sort and sift things out, but sometimes, regardless of our efforts, cave to the tumult.
I was feeling the darkness of our times.
It seemed that last evening, there was a shift of this dark into light, as my dear cousin living in Utah, sent me a message to give him a call. He’s known for a long time that I have a big heart for family research, and a desire to find the pieces of our history, however narrative in nature and lacking in the documentation required to make real sense. He and I, both, have worked on our paternal side for a very long time, in our own ways, if you count up all of the years between us.
I weep this morning, as I type here, about the lovely conversation shared between Dr. Ted (our name of affection for him) and myself. Ted lead me through some of his research on our family. It was like bags of sweets laid out before me. (Remember that feeling as a child?) He guided me patiently, while the both of us logged on to a family ancestral site…this is a fan chart…click on person…click on tree…this is who this person was…and this one…here is the document…And so it went! Any of you who do this sort of work know how generous this gesture of love is. My grandfather, John Moors, would be so pleased. My father, John Moors, will be, when he reads this. Blessed! I love you, Ted! And I will pour over every detail bit by bit and so much will be revealed to me!
This morning, I decided to continue to focus on the unbelievable possibility of the positive. Rolling out of bed, I stepped into my slippers and shuffled upstairs to go through my morning rituals. As a single woman, I typically do a day’s dishes in the evening, later than you choose, I’m sure, but, just the way I do things. Last evening, I didn’t. I expected to bury my hands and arms into warm sudsy water while the coffee maker burbled. I like doing these things, although when I had a partner, I was over the moon about having a cup of coffee prepared for me and delivered to the sofa, while I either read the paper or eased into the day. Rituals change and I have become very happy about treating myself to those tender gestures of support and kindness.
I woke to a note on my kitchen counter.
do when I come
My adult daughter and a gesture of love…makes everything feel different, doesn’t it? When someone does you a kindness? Little effort, but a whole spin that takes you to a place of reassurance and gratitude. Thank you, Cayley.
I opened up Twitter while I sipped on this first hot cup of coffee. This, after turning on the Tallest Man on Earth. (My cousin Peter finally showed me how to connect to those lovely speakers over there, with Bluetooth).
My friend, Wendy, had posted this…and I felt so grateful. Something about me? Really? The artist? And the title of the piece, STABILITY! Thank you, Wendy!
I’m feeling that these three gestures of love are a small smattering that represent the possibilities that are available to me today, these and the warm nuzzle of my Max Man pushing up against my thigh, here at the computer desk. “Let’s go, Mom! Let’s walk!” Today, let’s all look for the gestures of love in our lives and look away from the natural draw to worry and sadness that pull at our heart strings these days, often issues that we have no control over. Let’s simply do what we can, with a real focus of what are the blessings of our lives. Create!
Today marks the Feast Day of St. Nicholas and I was blessed to share an afternoon in Al Gerritsen’s studio with a friend. Every time I visit Al, I feel calm and happiness and I take in everything I can; the visual aesthetic, the smell of wood, and the recollections of so many wonderful stories.
My nativity is set up in the front yard, the indoor nativity figures are set out on the table for Advent and it has become a bit of a custom for me to make an annual visit to the woodcarver’s shop, just to enjoy the friendship and the creative energy.
Today, I had the opportunity to hear about Al’s Christmas posters and selected four for my Gerritsen collection. Each one, unique, and again, with a story all of its own. I don’t think I’ve ever known such a prolific artist. This second week of Advent is all about PEACE…and today was certainly that!
Following the visit, a hot cup of peppermint tea and some pretty special ocean vessel talk! Overall, a magical afternoon!
-18 and -30 with windchill, this day brought with it, sun dogs, two eagles circling above the Bow and frozen eyelashes at the pond. Amazing day!
I have to admit, I’m not at the top of my game lately. A person can be confronted by and, possibly, absorb a lot of gut-wrenching stuff via the media, daily. (the state of Syria, regional economics, pipelines, the American debates and election, unemployment and the economy, involvement of Russia in global agitation, the status of North Korea regarding armaments, the state of our environment and the care for dwindling species…these are just a few concerning factors that spewed out the tips of my fingers at the keyboard…free flow) If that ‘removed’ material isn’t enough, then there are also the daily stressors that one must face, sometimes alone, and these can really nail a person down, both in body and spirit. The important thing is to do something about it by changing patterns and practices.
This past weekend was one of those weekends for me. Not really ‘into’ any interactions with my wider circle, I focused on ‘being’ with smaller groups, staying closer to home and eating good food. Quality time with my daughter and my ‘real life’ friends was very healing. I am grateful for that sense that the rest of the world can motor on at warp speed while I take a little vacation from the nonsense that becomes my whirling life. What we’re trying to prove, I don’t exactly know. What I’ve been doing, I do.
The weekend began with a gathering of my hiking YaYas and our ritual gathering photo op with prop. Thanks to Cathy for hosting. What a relief it is to talk and talk and talk and laugh. And wow…those hugs at the end of an evening!
Walking the circle of the pond at Frank’s Flats…always calms me and makes me live more deliberately or consciously. Walking, itself, causes the lungs to fill up and with ‘real’ air. The light filters in and replaces worry or dischord.
Contemplating my closest companion…our friendship…activity. There are many funny moments created by my Max-Man. This weekend, I was grateful for my fur-boys, both dogs, Laurie-Dog and Max-Man and cats, Piper, Edgar and Peanut.
On our Saturday afternoon walk, a flock of fourteen Trumpeter swans flew overhead. There is nothing like their sound pulling out of a blue sky. I didn’t care about zooming or panning, obviously, but I can not look at this patch of blue, without remembering what that was like. I always consider these events to be Holy events and I have been graced with the blessing of many such moments.
On Sunday morning, I went to early Mass. For me, the peace that comes with this celebration can’t be replaced with anything else. I was also very grateful to be embraced by the MacDonalds in the parking lot, afterwards. Such good people.
Sunday offers the opportunity for people to recline and have a little snooze, or as my Dad calls them, a Sizz under the Fuzzy. I had one of those and then…
I drove to Hull’s Wood…a part of my life, here, in Calgary’s fringe. Jess has begun her teaching of this semester’s Pow Wow dancing. I highly recommend this practice to all of my readers. We began with the peacefulness of a smudge ceremony and the blessing of sweetgrass and sage. Then…cardio…then practice. This week, some basics in handling a single hoop.
I decided, on the way home from Pow Wow dancing that I would stop off at the Queensland Community Center and spend some time with Mark’s mural on the building. On a perfect autumn day, it was a wonderful option for viewing art and giving one of my peeps, some support.
At home, Cayley and I made Cannelloni together. It was fun to share the kitchen and I’d like to do that more often. The process of cooking can be a very relaxing thing. When I went to my room in search of my bedroom slippers, I noticed that my daughter had also folded my clothes from the dryer. Kindness from others is likely the best medicine out there, for anything that might ail you as an individual…it is also the best medicine for the world.
I would like my readers to share what it is that they do to relax, to find their center…to be at peace. We don’t have to control everything all of the time. But, how do we let go of that need to control everything?
Listening to Fleetwood Mac’s When I See You Again, as I type.
I wrote away to Amazon for Beyond Remembering: The collected poems of Al Purdybefore driving east, the morning of my mother’s birth day, July 27. Since then, I’ve been pouring through the poetry and visiting the places that Canada’s poet, Al Purdy, visited and sometimes thought and wrote about. I heard Eurithe’s strong voice over the telephone, positive and supportive and carried to me all the way from Sidney, British Columbia. Al’s wife gave me the generous permission to use bits of Al’s poetry in my paintings, all produced in my studio bedroom, generously offered to me by my loving father his summer.
I’m still working on small panels and told myself they would be completed by September 1 and I will hold myself to that and I will rest for September, taking in the new autumn air and visit my brother and sister in Ottawa before I drive west to Calgary.
If you haven’t had a connection with Al Purdy’s writing, do give yourself that opportunity some time, when it’s right. The summer of 2013 was the right time for me. I had picked up George Bowering’s book about his friend, Al, his writing…and I became suddenly, profoundly connected…not just with Al Purdy’s writing, but also George Bowering’s writing and more than before, Margaret Atwood’s. I was excited by Al’s connection to my all-time favourite author, Margaret Laurence, and went in search of correspondences between the two and poems where he wrote about her…even to the point of the description he gave in one of his poems of his writing space and the images of both Gabrielle Roy and Margaret Laurence that hung there, on his wall.
Yes…I became a fan. George Bowering co-authored a book with Jean Baird, The Heart Does Break: Canadian Writers on Grief and Mourning. Drowning in a dark pool of grief for my mother, all of these beautiful circumstances, all surfacing through poetry, writing and literature, gave me a nudge into my personal journey of grief. I have to say that tentatively, visually, my relationship with the folk of the Gorilla House (you know who you are) and then the Rumble House in Calgary, also provided a string to my practice. But, I have to face it, for years, I’ve been broken and not particularly functioning on any level as an artist. I painted in my head and pulled off these two hour blast outs every Wednesday night. I was happy to let go of them at auction on the same night because I was suffering too much to want to hold on.
Somehow, I knew that this summer I had to create a segue into my practice of painting. I had unloaded all of the furniture and other stuff that I had pushed into my studio space, as a physical way of avoiding painting. I finished projects that were created as a way of distracting me from the fear, the incapacitation and the flat out avoidance of canvas or panel or paint.
And so I find myself here, painting the shape of Purdy’s words, in as much as I can over a period of four weeks. I am sitting here crying as I type. Dad isn’t home. Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks…singing to me through the single speaker. And…I feel good to be in the act of painting again. A bit illustrative in nature, I don’t necessarily believe that this is the direction my work is going…but, it is the beginning of the direction and for that, I’m grateful. It makes sense that I should begin in this beautiful, lush, humid, Victorian city of Belleville, on the edge of the Bay of Quinte…not far from Purdy’s resting place and his little A Frame on Roblin Lake. I know that when I get home, I already have a ‘shitload’ of content from a pond that I love, that will give me a subject for my winter’s exploration.
I will add the poems, a bit at a time, to this post…I really need to get back to those small panels I mentioned. After all, it’s the 28th of August.
Mom, I love you. I love you with all of my heart. Something about what I’ve painted this summer is about you…home…Canada…experience that is the very most mundane…things in the day-to-day that all too often go unnoticed. Painting again, with joy…not pain…is home for me.
Thanks to Mary and Pat…two friends back in Calgary, who tentatively asked…and supported my journey of grief as it related to my painting. Thanks to Pricilla. You know why. Thanks to my Dad, who feeds me.
The paintings can be seen, thanks to the generous opportunity given by Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor at Artists and Artisans: Studio and Gallery on Front Street, show beginning on Thursday, September 6, with a bit of a sha-bang on the 11th from 2-4 and with the potential of after hours viewing any time. I hope some of you can see these.
From the poem, May 23, 1980 in the collection, Beyond Remembering…the final stanza.
I’m sorting things out, in order to spend time with my father in the east. The Christmas cards for 2015 are in the mail. Doctors appointments, Max’s grooming, the vehicle checks and household chores are now being tackled. The past week has meant a lot of beautiful indoor time with booming thunder storms every afternoon. I feel like I’m on a retreat because the house is so quiet…just Max and me. I can eat popcorn whenever I want. In the evening, a glass of red wine. Last night, I baked salmon in parchment paper…fresh lemon squeezed over the beautiful pink meat. Every ritual seems lovely and intentional.
For the most part, it’s been productive and satisfying.
I’ve decided that my pond study will wrap up the morning of Mom’s birthday, July 27. I’ve walked the circumference of the pond at Frank’s Flats every day since October 13,2015 with the intention of taking a single Instagram photograph of a single location, a bush that grows at the pond’s edge. I have seen it through the seasons and watched how light changes everything. I’ve developed rituals around these observations, recording, writing captions, creating mental sketches and noting the changes in the animals and vegetation as time passes. I’ve much reference material now and in the autumn, I want to create a response to all of it. I’ve had some faithful followers as, for most of the experiment up until July, I’ve documented on social media (Facebook) as well.
Yesterday, at the pond, I observed the only two Ruddy duck babes, alongside Mom. The teen-aged Coots and Grebes are now taking diving lessons and doing so very successfully. Mr. and Mrs. everything are swimming further and further from their youngsters, although the teens still cry out helplessly and give chase, not wanting to be separated from, at the very least, their source of food. With the horrendous amount of rain recently, I fear that the Ruddy ducks’ nests have been drowned…the two babies that I observed, came to be only days before the first thunderstorms hit, so I’m guessing all of the other mothers were sitting at that time. I’ll see.
I think that flying lessons are beginning…I notice that the adult Coots, while remaining on the water, are flapping hard and traveling on the surface.
While I stopped putting out seed at my feeders (as a way of settling down the vole and mouse populations), I got emotional when I realized that Mr. and Mrs. Sparrow, in the vent across from my kitchen window, were trying one more time to nest. The children are crying ravenously with each entrance to the vent from Mr. or Mrs. I just need to see this family have a successful season, after two former attempts.
The crows are big raiders in this neighbourhood these days, as those adults also struggle to feed their demanding young.
As I reflect upon the last while, I continue to feel gratitude…especially for the lessons of nature and of solitude. I like slowing things down. I’ve been particularly inspired by a poem by Al Purdy, titled Detail and so I will post it here, along side a few photographs that I snapped yesterday. In 1981, when doctoral work was typed on typewriters…Elizabeth Jane Douglas wrote a thesis titled the Mechanics of Being Alive: Major Themes in Poetry and Prose of Al Purdy. This absolutely impacts my past year’s ‘work’ and ‘reflection’.
all winter long
… the apples clung
in spite of hurricane winds
sometimes with caps of snow
little golden bells
· · ·
For some reason I must remember
and think of the leafless tree
and its fermented fruit
one week late in January
when the wind blew down the sun
and earth shook like a cold room
no one could live in
with zero weather
soundless golden bells
alone in the storm
(Beyond Remembering 135-36)
And then, there are those of us who believe that beyond this, there is so much more. But for now, I leave this reflection. I have a border collie, eager to run in the green wet grass.
Prayers for Billy and his family and for little Taliyah Marsman and her mother and their family.
I’ve wanted to take my daughter and son-in-law up to the Cirque for a few years and it finally happened. I also wanted to be with my hiking friend, Cathy, who has such a natural and beautiful connection with the mountains. And gratefully, friend, Michael, could also join us. So, we took our pot luck and headed up Longview direction. A bit of a late start, we got on the trail just after the first explosion of hail in the parking lot.
The hike held some really fantastic moments. I was in bliss at the beautiful showing of wild flowers. Everything seemed more lush because of the moisture. Forget-me-nots blooming, electric blue, next to yellow flowers, made me think of Mom. Pink paintbrush, wild asters, Queen Anne lace…what a show!
The smell of the air…glorious!
The company…the people I was with…fun and patient and willing.
Weather…dramatic…frightening at times, but contributed to a different experience of these towering mountains! Thunder booms in a bowl of tall mountains are just somehow, different!
Apart from two Instagram shots, I didn’t archive any of this, but will post the collected photos here.
To begin…images from my first hike up Ptarmigan in 2010.
Yesterday’s Archives, beginning with our drive to Longview. Canola field…candy purchase at the corner gas station in Black Diamond…the chat that goes on between friends, heading for the mountains. Michael Collett…the artist snapping the shot.
Also, Michael’s photograph…an opening view from the trees…stops and starts of rain by this point.
My two little Instagram shots…Cathy ahead of me on the shale traverse.
The meadow…rich green always awes me.
Cathy’s phone…she captures…or attempts to capture the flowers in the meadows. We both agreed we have never seen them like this. Spectacle!
As per usual, I am the least attractive woman at the trail! Yesterday, wearing a Pitch-In bag. lol
This photograph speaks for itself. We’re in mountain bliss at this point.
But, what of the others? Here are Doug’s photos…Michael seems to not be represented well in this set of photographs. He is an intense explorer…likely observing light and colour!
I love the artistry in Doug’s photos…the image below, I guess, shows scale. lol Erin and Michael coming down from a wee jaunt they did on a higher trail.
This one shows the glory of it all.
Proud of my son-in-law, Douglas…a great way to celebrate Canada Day weekend!
Awe! There’s Mike!
We made it to the parking lot…a tad wet, but very satisfied!
And then…the tailgate party.
And the drive home…no less magical! We stopped at that canola field. The drama of the evening’s sky evolved as we headed toward the city. This is Michael’s photograph.
I’m a single woman in the world. If I think too much about it, I can get sad about that…the fact that I don’t have a life partner, helping me reach the things high in my cupboards or rubbing my back when I get the pukes. Truth is, I realize how grateful I am for my children, my son-in-law, his family, my family near and far and my dear friends who are always there with their thoughts, ideas, tremendous support. I don’t know what I’d be without them! Thank you.
OH! To have had an audio tape! I used to make my own tapes. I read aloud late at night, staying slightly ahead of the students. Dandelion Wine is my favourite book. Take a listen, if you have 9 hours to spend, just sitting still, or while you’re working in your studio, just listen. You will learn to take pause, if you let this book’s lessons sink through the tough shell that has become your busy life and settle on your heart.
This post is about Chapter 21 and Douglas’s loss of his dear friend, John Huff. I guess if you are the daughter of a military man, this might even mean more.
Taking your time and noticing is what this post is all about. As one pours on the years, one realizes that in order to slow things down, one needs to start noticing.
I was hot and sweaty and cleaning out the paint buckets that I had used with grade ones, painting that day, when I heard my cell phone ding.
My friend, Michael, had sent a text that he’d like to drop by. I thought immediately that we might go to the pond, with Max, and enjoy what was left of the beautiful day. I rushed, swirling the pink water out of brushes and buckets, returned my tools to the storage closet and was out and on my way.
Mike was sitting on the steps when I arrived and Max’s nose was lifted, sniffing against the window.
A quick change into play clothes and we were off to the pond! Michael patiently observed the life and light of the water, the clouds and the life surrounding this special place. It was so nice to have a witness to Frank’s Flats and the place that I know so well.
Michael is always taking amazing photographs, but rarely appears in any of them. I like that he looks out at the world! No selfies for this guy! So, on this outing, I would be witness to his life!
We enjoyed the explorations of baby coots. I took my photo of the bush. And then we were on our way for the next adventure. Some time ago, I had seen one remarkable photograph on Michael’s social media archive. He told me that it was taken at McKinnon’s Flats. I asked if ever he went back, would I be able to join him? This was the day. Here’s the photograph that inspired the request!
Photo Credit: Michael Colette
I didn’t stay left on 22X and so we ended up going north on Stoney Trail. That was okay! Meant to be! We began our slow enjoyable zig zag across the rural landscape, making our way, with ease, back south to McKinnon’s Flats. I saw a bird I had never seen! And the light and wonder of it all was very enjoyable.
Michael’s photograph….from this location…truly captured the magic!
Photo Credit: Michael Collette
The panorama view that opened up as we began our descent into the valley, at river’s edge, was spectacular. Next time, I will document that. It took my breath away.
Once at the river’s edge, Michael pulled out our picnic food. A refreshing potato salad filled with the flavours of fresh veg and lovely dressing…and an icy cold hibiscus drink, so refreshing! Max observed, but was hungry to be free of his leash and to explore the water’s edge. It wasn’t long until I did just that.
The stretch of walk we took, saw zillions of little moths lighting up the already-electric air. We chatted about photography and light and the sky the entire way. Out of nowhere about 75 striking white pelicans, hung on the air just above our heads. I grabbed my camera and snapped this wee instant as a documentation of the memory, that in no way, captures the intensity of the moment. We decided, standing still above the river, that this moment was meant just for the two of us…two good friends enjoying evening light.
In order to really gather up my life, I need to do this. Slow down. Watch light. Treasure friendship, my children, my family. Listen to music. Make art. Write.
I am grateful for the inspired invitation to go for a Sunday drive on Friday. Everything that I had planned for the evening, went out the window. And it was exactly as it should be. My life is a blessed life.