What I Didn’t Photograph in an Hour

Max and I walked at the Bow River when the light was flat.  The sky was cool white-grey on warm white-grey and I thought that it was interesting that I could see one thick layer on top of the other and that there was no part of white that seemed transparent.  The sky was a panel of two colours, layered.  In front of the panel, brilliant white snowflakes fell, angled, to the ground.  The wind was bitter.  I pulled my hoodie up over my ears and hair and soon after, also the hood to my coat.  My cheeks were cold, but the wind was to my back, definitely pushing us from the north.  We were walking in a blizzard.  The landscape was softened in a white fog and the river was umber/ultramarine dark.

I stood still beside Lauren’s bench and looked at my phone.  A string of little bells had set off earlier and I knew that it was my daughter.  Some people write about things in very lengthy threads.  Some break their ideas into little bits and send them like jewels across time and space and through this abstract world of possibility and connection.  My daughter’s loving messages came to me…I typed, in return…

“Teachers earn their wage.”

“I’m worried about my eagles, especially the youngsters.”

“I’m booking off tomorrow.”

“I love you.”

She replied, “Love you too”

At her ‘love you too’  (and you likely won’t believe this), one of the juveniles, deepest umber and back etched in a layer of snow, flew directly in front of and past me, over the churning river, heading south on the cold wind, his wing span, forgotten.  Yesterday, in autumn, I saw both Dad and his new woman and that had given me a lot of peace.  I know that everything is natural to these raptors, but in my depth of gratitude for what pleasure they have brought to me, I am concerned, in the same way as a person is concerned for any creature that faces such a brutal winter.

Max spooked.  He and I saw the white-tail at the same time.  She thought she needed to bolt, but I assured her very quickly by moving Max and I the opposite direction and instantaneously averted my eyes and forced my excited dog to submit to me.  We walked closer to the water.

I found it interesting that the gulls were so active, weaving in and out of one another and skimming the surface of the water.  These gulls have a huge wing span.  And they seem very hardy, performing every sort of maneuver, often directly into the wind.  I stood still, very close to the river’s edge, and watched them.  Max nuzzled his snout deep into the cold snow, now and then, eating a bit.

While foot falls seemed swallowed by the snow and sounds were muffled, airplanes overhead were loud and interfered with the great mystery that is always lurking around each bend, the unknown, the hidden…waiting through every season, especially when a woman and her dog are alone, unremarkable, quiet.

My Canon was warm next to my chest and zipped under my winter jacket.  My phone rested in my right hand pocket.  I grabbed it and snapped three photographs of the distinctive textures of shrubs, still fully leaved, having lost the sense of autumn far too quickly.

A cacophony erupted from the east and over our heads, flew, in perfect formation and with winged concavity in synchronized motion, a huge number of Canada geese.  I would have snapped a photograph.  Such a beautiful pattern against the backdrop of our second big snow.  They strategically came to rest in the shallow channel of water that separates the small island from me.  A loud bit of sorting, their voices raised havoc on the river, the gulls, now, engaged in the mix up.

Once stepping into the deep woods, I turned my eyes upward in order to look for the dark form of the juvenile, but he did not reappear, so he must have gone beyond.  The snow pelted my face, not as much flakes as crystals.  I naturally opened my mouth.  I brought my face down, in gratitude, for having seen him at all.  The sky was turning a darker shade of grey and so I continued through the tall grass, now weighted down with snow and fallen across the worn path of summer.

Eastern starlings, many of them, lifted up and out of the golden brown canopy in unison, seeming alarmed but uncertain of where to alight.  It was as though they were of one mind…but, what part of that machine would decide/move/land and why would all of the others follow?  They disappeared.  I wondered if I had actually witnessed this.

Heading back on the groomed pathway and then once again, cutting through the trees, I saw her surrounded in the shrubs and wearing an aura or a crown of golden leaves.  Her eyes were deep black, dark pools of gentleness, her nose, just as dark.  I cautioned Max.  She stood perfectly still in an almost-grey silhouette.  I spoke assuring words for absolutely no reason until we had passed.

These are the moments at the river.

This is a culmination of an hour, not snapping photographs.  This is how people used to remember.

Crows Fly Over Main Street

My daughter spent quite some time living in Vancouver.  For some reason I always put up a bit of a wall when the possibility of traveling there was considered.  I’ve had a friend living there for decades.  And then, Bobbie moved there.  But, I always felt some fears around its density, compactness or some unnamed unknown.  A drunk person poured an entire glass of beer down my back at a Dave Matthew’s concert in Rogers Arena one night, years ago, and the same night, I stayed in an Otto Rogers themed room. That sums up my experience of Vancouver, until recently.

On the afternoon and evening of August 20, 2019, I had opportunity to walk and see a touch of what my daughter experienced.  While I never did get to the water’s edge, I did walk a stretch of Main Street and visited one of her work places, a shop called, Front and Co.  I’ve snapped a few photographs of places along the way.  One has to admit that the vegetation is lush in Vancouver and varied.  I tried to capture that as well.

In the evening, we gathered to feast and to toast Bob.  One beautiful friend of the family delivered ‘Bob Likes Thai Food’ for dinner and another brought flowers and wine.  As we sat, sharing stories, a huge murder of  crows flew over our heads…a movement that is repeated each evening, like clockwork, over the house.  I was overcome with the magic of this, the sounds of it and will never forget it.

When it was pitch black, we walked and talked our way to the neighbouring cemetery.  There, we opened up a blanket and sat down, overlooking the lights of Vancouver.  We talked until the early hours of morning about absolutely everything, but mostly Bob.

I snapped a photograph of sculpture in the Vancouver air terminal before leaving.

I’ve recently had another dear friend move to Vancouver.  I have family in Comox.  Vancouver, I’ll be back!

They Remain With Us Through Remembering.

This morning, at 11:00 on the 11th day of the 11th month…I will remember.  I am forever-grateful for the service of my family members…some of them acknowledged here.  I especially remember the 100th anniversary of the armistice and those who represented Canada in World War I, the Great War.  Click on the individual images in order to enlarge.
   

Family Bake Off

Oh, what the heck!  It’s a blustery winter afternoon…-16 here in Calgary, not factoring in the wind chill.

Dad left a voice mail this morning saying that he was making Mom’s Peanut Butter Cookies and that I should be jealous that I’m not in Belleville, Ontario to share them.

I started making my own batch after he e mailed me this recipe.

Kay’s Peanut Butter Cookies

1/3 Cup shortening

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup White Sugar

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

1 Egg slightly beaten

1 Cup Flour

1 Tsp Baking Soda

1/2 Tsp Salt

Sugar for coating

Cream together shortening and sugars, add peanut butter.
Mix in egg.
Add dry ingredients.
Roll into balls, then roll in sugar.

greased cookie sheet , press flat with a fork.

350 oven for 10 minutes.

 

(True confession…after doing a mass message out to the family, with this recipe, Dad revealed that this is, in fact, my sister-in-law, Ann-Marie’s recipe…that Mom always used butter instead of shortening…but, regardless, these cookies are delicious!)

I’m including any participant photographs here…and giving credit!

The first dozen of my cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies Kath

I got two and a half dozen, in the end.  I used dark brown sugar.Peanut Butter Cookies 2 001Cliff and Grace used three eggs…this is how they turned out.  No fork?

Peanut Butter Cookies Grace and CliffMy cousin Anne,  living in Kansas, made a lovely batch.  And…it turns out that her mother used to criss-cross the fork marks while flattening. :0)

Peanut Butter Cookies Anne

I’m waiting for the rest of the photos to come in and will post here…thanks for participating! I love you all…on warm days and cold days and in-between-days!

Equinox Vigil 2015: Union Cemetery

This was the first time that I attended the Equinox Vigil.  I was primarily motivated because it was a lovely evening for weather.  For the first days, leaves were dancing down the street…a slight wind, warm sun, blue sky dappled in cloud, cool air.  It was a perfect autumn evening.  The fall equinox falls on Wednesday of this coming week.

I thought that I would bring to the non-denominational event, thoughts and prayers for my dearly departed Mom and my family.  I would open up to a reflective and prayerful evening in the Union Cemetery.  The evening opened with a beautiful sky and dance.  This piece, Rico. Michael was a piece created with Calgary’s departed, Michael Green, at heart.

Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 001 Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 004 Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 008Various musicians were present to the event…first and throughout the evening, Simon Fisk and Robin Tufts.  Their music was both haunting and spirit-charged.  Absolutely beautiful.  I stood in the dark at one point and just listened and was moved because of this powerful setting.Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 018 Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 019I wrote Mom’s name on one of the Memorial Lanterns, lanterns that would be processed twice throughout the evening…light in a dark place.  This ritual felt a lot like writing Mom’s name into the Book of Remembrance at my parish church.  Each year, when the Book of Remembrance is placed for all to see,  I pray for her peace and our peace…those left behind and missing her.

Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 020 Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 022Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 023 While I oriented myself to the setting and the event, I missed a couple of events that I had hoped to enjoy…one, the Quickdraw Animation film screen, a tribute to Chris Reimer, ‘Dude, That’s Insane’…

and Kris Demeanor, poet and musician.Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 026Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 028 Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 030At the top of the hill, at the M Horseshoe of the Union Cemetery Rayne-Anne Latchford illuminated lives, by sharing with us, a number of stories of personalities who lived in Calgary, but who passed and are now laying, for the most part, in unmarked graves.  She has a passion for history and for the narratives of people.  She also spoke beautifully about how ‘now’ is the time to share stories with one another and to connect with our families.  It is the stories that will remain.

Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 031 Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 033I could listen to historian, Harold Sanders for hours.  Thank you, for sharing with us history of Calgary’s cemeteries and letting us know just how much we can learn from the people who are resting in our midst.  I hope to have opportunity to return to Union Cemetery in the light of day and make some discoveries on my own. Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 037Being surrounded by music for the evening added to the atmosphere of the sacred.  Thank you to the Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players for their beautiful sound.

Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 039 Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 043Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 047 Kath's Canon, September 19, 2015 051Beautiful installations were sprinkled throughout the Cemetery pathways…this one, the Breath of Life Memorial by Eveline Kolijn.

As it became dark, I settled in with a hot cup of spiced tea and chatted with friends.  It was good to see you Michelena, Billy, Jenn, Bev, Bill, Steve, Don and friends and Dale.  Walking alone, down the hill, the sky appeared lighter than the ancient evergreens that flanked me.  I looked up and gave thanks to my ancestors.  I also prayed for the many students who have passed away since teaching them…for my daughter’s and son’s friends who have passed…for my relations, most recently, my Auntie Margaret and my Uncle Bob.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.

Amen.

Whoever said…

“Social media is our ruination.”

Think again.

I was blessed some time ago to receive a private message from a student who is now grown up and wears a beard…someone who has lived some life.  I hadn’t heard a word from him for years, but these words, like magic, appeared.  If these were the last words I was to read on this earth, I would be blessed enough.  But, it seems that again and again, I am graced by these experiences.  And it is, I’m certain, because I live in a time when the words can be communicated.  I know how grateful I remain, as a 59 year old woman, for my teachers.

This is what he said…

“Ms. Moors, I wanted to send you a message saying thank you for all of the lessons and knowledge that you passed on to me. I started classes in Lethbridge this fall and I still use the “outline” for essays and papers that you taught me in grade 9. That has helped me so much and I can only imagine that it will continue to assist me throughout my life. You also facilitated a love of reading in me and I can not express my appreciation to you for that. I hope all is well with you and that you are healthy and happy. Thank you again for everything.”

DSC_1531

The Barr Brothers: Even the Darkness Has Arms

I was holding my breath

When the tightrope walker slipped into the moon glow
Saying all my children, follow me
MAYBE IT’S TIME TO GO

You can be cruel when you’re wise
You can be wise when you’re blue
And baby, if I have
Then I have for you

Bribing the jury to keep me in jail
Singing tea for the tiller man
And although I lie fantastically
This woman knows of my history
IT’S A MIRACLE I CAN SEE

You can be wrong when you’re right
Even when you’re right on cue
And if I die tonight
Then I die for you

All I know is they call me son
Great grandson and grandson
Great uncles and some relatives
That judge what I have done

Gonna make it right by you
Even if it’s all I do
And if it’s all I do
Then I do it for you

People have raised a whole lotta hell
About the water in the windmill
And although I stab chaotically
IT HURTS NO ONE BUT ME

EVEN THE DARKNESS HAS ARMS
But they ain’t got you
And baby, I have it
And I have you, too

 

 

Where are you Brenda Draney?

It was blustery.  I thought about the slowest way I could possibly drive to the Esker Foundation, located on 9th.  I have attended other events related to the exhibit (film viewing, panel discussion, artist talk) since the opening of Fiction/Non-fiction.  There was no way weather was going to keep me from a painting opportunity where Brenda Draney would be doing some sharing…some wandering…some listening.  Everything I’ve been ‘incubating’ about since Mom’s passing (story, connection, identity, loss), would be a part of the afternoon’s experience…so, I was going to forge through the weather, regardless.

Once I arrived, I chose a seat that faced out toward the street…wide, tall windows stretched before me.  I could see onto the neighbouring roofs and watch the snow blowing.  Above me, the pod that houses the administrative space…a nest-like feature, caused an immediate sense of comfort and coziness.  Meeting Sharon, the artist across from me, led to a very quick and impact-full connection.  I felt happy.

I had dumped a pile of old black and whites into a zip lock bag before leaving home and proceeded to shuffle through them, looking for references. It didn’t take me long.  I won’t go into details…I won’t share the stories that connect me with the images…but, I will say that there was an immediacy.  Topics shared on my visits with Brenda and Sharon yesterday afternoon included, but certainly weren’t limited to; identity, memory, stories, mothers, objects of affection, nostalgia, art, teaching, journals, writing, voice.

At the conclusion of the afternoon, I felt so empowered and so grateful.  Brenda Draney is like an angel who was brought into my circle for the purpose of some reflection…some connection and some healing.  It was the most delicious of afternoons, and certainly a gift to myself.  Thank you, Brenda.

P1140140 P1140146 P1140147Technically speaking, it was a tricky thing to choose to use greys for the entire day…but, this session wasn’t so much about the technical aspects of watercolour (a completely foreign medium), but about meaning. I spoke to Sharon about the curtains that Mom had sewed on her treadle sewing machine, even when we were in military-poverty in those early years living in Ste. Sylvestre, Quebec.

Incubator: Brenda Draney from Latitude 53 on Vimeo.

Brenda Draney, Church 2012

Brenda Draney, Church 2012

Remembering

Each year, I remember.  As I delve deeper into my family history, I actually become more and more connected to our story.  Some people opt out of the recognition of Remembrance Day, but for our family, there are some deep and important reasons why we take time to pause and reflect on the sacrifice of our own family members.

John Moors (my father) and Katherine Moors (my mother)

I am going to merely link to the stories that I have, in the past, posted here.

My Great Grandfather, John Moors

Brother-Love

Kingston: Cadet Parade

My Uncle Joseph Gallant in photograph…killed at Ortona, Italy.

The Pinetree Line

Uncle Earl Gallant

My Uncle Earl

Great Uncles George and Walter Haddow, both served with the 40th Artillary Battalion to leave out of Hamilton, Ontario.

Remembering My Great Grandfather: November and Snow

John Moors Etaples Image collected from Ancestry.ca in my family research. Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948

Plot 65, Row C, Grave 6 Document retrieved from Ancestry.ca Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948

Yesterday I ended up on another tangent.  My retirement seems to be an entire series of tangents, that seem for a time to be about everything else, but always lead back to me, my identity and what my soul speaks.  My great grandfather John Moors of the 54th Battalion was in a #51 General Hospital bed near Etaples.  Out of nowhere, on the night of May 19, 1918, the enemy conducted a shameful air strike that left nurses and many patients wounded or as in my great grandfather’s case, dead.  Thanks to The Great War forum and other Canadian archives, I was able to find several artifacts, including this silent film, an actual archive of the devastation, that relay the horror of that night.  I am left to really think about the countless men and women who lost their lives in the years 1914 to 1918.  I feel the strength and courage of my family of soldiers coursing through my own blood.  It is a sacred bloodline.

A Post Card to His Son: in Possession of John Moors, his Grand Son

Map of Etaples Training Camp found on The First World War Poetry Digital Archive: Link for Site Follows.

The above map was accessed here, with the primary contributor being listed as The Great War Archive, University of Oxford.

etaples_000

Source of Image: Through These Lines Air Raids See Link Below.

Link for Through These Lines: Research Etaples Here.  Read details about the air raids and peruse various links to War Diaries.

NFB film may be viewed here.

Photo Below: No. 7 Canadian General Hospital, ca. 1917

Source: Library and Archives Canada/Album of Photographs of No.7 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples, France/C-080026

Link: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3194282&rec_nbr_list=3623063,3194282

Canadian General Hospital 7 Government of Canada Library and Archives: See Link Above

Photo Below: Funeral of Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe, who died of wounds received during a German air raid, May 1918

Source: Library and Archives Canada/Credit: William Rider-Rider/Department of National Defence fonds/PA-040154

Link: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3194234&rec_nbr_list=3623048,3194234

Sister Margaret Lowe lost her life: Funeral Procession from Government of Canada Library and Archives: See Link Above

Photo Below: Funeral of Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe, who died of wounds received during a German air raid, May 1918

Source: Library and Archives Canada/Credit: William Rider-Rider/Department of National Defence fonds/PA-040154

Link: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3194234&rec_nbr_list=3623048,3194234

Another Lost Life: Etaples 1918 sister G.M.M.Wake Government of Canada Library and Archives: See Link Above

I am including, here, an image of the Etaples Military Cemetery, in order to recognize the powerful image of so many lives lost.

 

Etaples Military Cemetery: Here rests my great grandfather.

Etaples

According to the War Diary of Matron-in-Chief, British Expeditionary Force, France and Flanders, Miss McCarthy…notes on May 20, 1918

“Received telephone message from A/Principal Matron, Etaples, saying that the Etaples hospitals had been severely bombed during the night.  One Sister (Nursing Sister K. Macdoneald, CAMC) had been killed and 7 wounded at No.1 Canadian Hospital, also many patients and personnel.  At No. 7 Canadian General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing stuaff but 3 MOs were wounded and some patients killed.  The Nurses’ Club was wrecked but the two BRCS workers were not hurt.  At No. 26 General Hospital there were 2 minor casualties among the nursing staff – Miss Marshall, VAD slightly wounded on the head and admitted to hospital, and Miss Draper, VAD slightly wounded in the writst.  One patient only was killed in this unit.  Part of the Sisters’ quarters were wrecked and one or two of the rooms nearest the railway siding are unfit for use.  There were no casualties among the nursing staff at No.24 General Hospital.  This unit took in a large number of casualties from the Infantry Base Depot and the Household Calvalry Camp.  At No. 46 Stationary Hospital one VAD, Miss W.A.Brampton was somewhat shell-shocked.  A number of patients were killed and wounded.  At No.56 General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing staff but some amongst patients and personnel.   Nos. 35, 37, 4 and 2 Ambulance Trains were in the siding at the time and were damaged, the only casualty amongst the nursing staff being S/Nurse M. de H. Smith, slightly wounded above the eye.  The Matron-in-Chief, CEF, the Matron-in-Chief, QAIMNS War Office, and DGMS were informed of all casualties.”

Subsequent diary entries took place when the Matron-in-Chief makes her visits.  On the 22nd…she writes.

“Left for Etaples in the afternoon, arriving at the DDMS office at 7 p.m.  Went with the A/Principal Matron, Miss Stronach, to No.1 Canadian General Hospital where I called upon the Matron, Miss Campbell, and inspected the quarters where the recent terrible raid had occurred and saw the rooms which had been absolutely destroyed, also the adjacent building of HRH Princess Victoria’s Rest Club for Nurses which is more or less in ruins.  The only thing left intact in the building was Her Royal Highness’s picture which was on a small table on the ground floor, neither table nor picture being touched.  I saw the seriously wounded Sister, Miss Lowe, CAMC who was being nursed in a hut as her condition was too serious to allow of moving her to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital.  She was just conscious but was very ill.”  Sister Lowe later succumbed to her wounds.

The Canadian Great War Project details my Great Grandfather’s military information here.

My efforts to link to the Library and Archives of Canada collections seems to be a problem when linking to my great grandfather’s attestation papers.

494073a Attestation Papers

John Moors Attestation Papers Page 2

Attestation Papers: Front and Back With gratitude for the Library and Archives Canada http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca

My great grandfather, John Moors, is mentioned and the circumstances of his final hours are described in the following documents.  The above War Diary Report was accessed here on the War Diaries of the First World War on Library and Archives Canada.

War diary, May 1918, p. 6 / e001513822

Link: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=2005096&rec_nbr_list=2005096

 

War diary, May 1918, p. 19 / e001117835

Link: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=2006068&rec_nbr_list=2006068

The following excerpt from this UK War Diary.

20.05.18
Sick Sisters 207
Etaples bombed: Received telephone message from A/Principal Matron, Etaples, saying that the Etaples hospitals had been severely bombed during the night. One Sister (Nursing Sister K. Macdonald, CAMC) had been killed and 7 wounded at No.1 Canadian General Hospital, also many patients and personnel. At No.7 Canadian General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing staff but 3 MOs were wounded and some patients killed. The Nurses’ Club was wrecked but the two BRCS workers were not hurt. At No.26 General Hospital there were 2 minor casualties among the nursing staff – Miss Marshall, VAD slightly wounded on the head and admitted to hospital, and Miss Draper, VAD slightly wounded in the wrist. One patient only was killed in this unit. Part of the Sisters’ quarters were wrecked and one or two of the rooms nearest the railway siding are unfit for use. There were no casualties among the nursing staff at No.24 General Hospital. This unit took in a large number of casualties from the Infantry Base Depot and the Household Cavalry Camp. At No.46 Stationary Hospital one VAD, Miss W. A. Brampton, was somewhat shell-shocked. A number of patients were killed and wounded. At No.56 General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing staff but some amongst patients and personnel. Nos. 35, 37, 4 and 2 Ambulance Trains were in the siding at the time and were damaged, the only casualty amongst nursing staff being S/Nurse M. de H. Smith, slightly wounded above the eye. The Matron-in-Chief, CEF, the Matron-in-Chief, QAIMNS War Office, and DGMS were informed of all casualties.”

With gratitude to the National Archives of Canada for their rich archival collection.  I intend for this information, from a wide variety of sources, to honour my grandfather and my family and to help us complete a narrative of our national history as it relates to one family.