May the Blue Bird of Happiness…

Recently, I’ve been feeling as though nature is brutal!  I heard yesterday that our weather hasn’t been like this since 1940.  I’m not going to research to see if this is fact, but, I would have no difficulty believing it is true.  Weather impacts my feelings about almost everything.  Since the light has changed, it has given hope of spring and certainly makes the day feel more beautiful…but this cold!  And the snow!  YIKES!

At the river, I’m wondering about the natural cycles of all of these returning birds…how they will possibly sustain their populations, given this week’s temperatures of -14 and more snow and more snow.  The habitat just doesn’t seem to be available for nesting.  What are the pregnant does to do? The coyotes that have begun to den?  So…every evening and morning, as I walk at the Bow River, I contemplate nature and its ability to rise above such brutality.  When I return home, I have heat and electricity and unlike some countries and continents, I am not in fear (at the moment) of the flood, or horrid drought and raging fires.  I am so blessed.  I am safe.

I’m discovering wildlife in unusual places.  Geese are nesting, only meters away from Deerfoot Trail and a huge distance from the river.  I noticed them yesterday, huddled together, where the tall grasses emerge out of the cold snow.  This afternoon, no fewer than thirty American Wigeons were voraciously struggling for sustenance well above the river and in close proximity to human activity.  This was a first for me.

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The most remarkable thing, however, was to see at least five Mountain Bluebirds, flitting about in a mating dance and feeding on berries that remained clinging sadly to a winter shrub…

This sighting was a deeply personal experience for me…I felt as though these lovely birds were placed into this settling, just for me.  In fact, I tried waving down some other hikers to point them out and they waved and moved on, not taking a moment’s notice.  Have I lost it completely? (I’d like to thank Doug Newman for letting me know that they were hanging about…this was my first encounter and I was thrilled to learn that they are absolutely NOT shy.  Their antics were more than entertaining!)

I wrote about the Crucifixion a little bit on Friday morning…I look at this post as being about Resurrection.  The males were more than impressing the two females present…such charmers.  I am grateful for those species that will find renewal over the coming months.  We must be ever-vigilant in our care of our world, for the people living in it, and for these sentient beings that share the planet with us.  Probably more bluebird photographs than any of you might wish to see…but, I am experiencing such joy that I have no choice but to include them here.

I captured a female (much more shy) only twice, both times out of focus.  She was stunning in her beauty.

 

 

 

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On April 3, I returned and captured Mrs.  Happy 51st birthday to my sister, Valerie Jean.

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Easter

Water in the Font...Remembrances of Baptisms Just This Past Weekend

It was very peaceful at St. Albert the Great Parish, as Marilyn and I painted yesterday afternoon. 

Painted Embellishments

Everywhere, symbols of our Easter journey!  It had been pouring down rain all afternoon and the light was subdued.  Working in the St. Anne’s room on the Tree of Life, felt like being cozy at home on a bad-weather day. 

Kindergarten Angel...Like an Egg...A Spirit Yet Unborn...Small Cry in a Cacophony Of Angel Voices

By the time we left the church, it had begun to snow…large wet flakes.  A magical transformation that led, eventually, to about a five inch accumulation on everything.  The trees were particularly beautiful.  Because there was so much snow, I didn’t go out to Change the Landscape: One Bag At a Time and it was a wonderful respite. 

Layers

A very brief slide show, with a few images from our home parish, St. Albert the Great. 

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Palm Sunday

The Faithful Recall the Passion of Our Lord

Palm Sunday, we begin with such celebration as we recall the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Quickly though, we enter into the solemnity of this Mass, as we hear the reading of our Lord’s Passion, a reading that brings chills to me whether I read it silently to myself or hear it delivered as a Reader’s Theater as it was shared today.  I have been graced by a profound Lenten journey this year and now I prepare myself spiritually for the anniversary of the Washing of the Feet and special recollection of Holy Orders, the Veneration of the Cross,  time spent in the garden with Jesus, the Holy Stations of the Cross, the Holy Sacrifice through our Lord’s Crucifixion and finally, the Baptism of the Catechumens, the Rite of Initiation for the Elect and Catechumens, the renewal of marriage vows and the sharing and celebration of the Easter Resurrection.  It is such a beautiful journey…full of heart ache and of celebration.  I am grateful and filled with anticipation!

Tomorrow evening we join the Bishop at St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Chrism Mass.

The Holy Oils are removed from the cabinet, in order that they be replenished during the Chrism Mass tomorrow evening.

Writing is a struggle against silence. Carlos Fuentes

Wednesday Afternoon: The Tree of Life

It may seem that this project has been going forever, but that’s ok.  Very gradually the branches of the tree are reaching up to the outside edges…the bubbles are being developed with layers of paint and the angels are one-by-one embellished with marks that create a bridge with the background.  Today was the first day that I felt as though this major project is almost completed.  I have really enjoyed having Marilyn join me on my afternoons in the St. Anne’s room.

 

I felt excited as we worked this afternoon…time flew and everything seemed freeing where the paint was concerned.  As a result, I left the church later than I had planned.  I was looking forward to the Confirmation this evening, of 90 grade six students.  I’ve been keeping a number of those students in my heart and prayers as I’ve painted on the wall this past month.  Their names are on the wall.

Banners to Stretched Canvas

Reconsidering

Some time ago, I painted huge banners to capture the journey of Lent through to the Resurrection, using hands as the metaphor for the journey.  We were displaying this one on Ash Wednesday and through to the end of 40 days.

The frequent relocation from display to storage was causing a lot of damage to the surface of the paint and so recently, we made the decision to stretch the paintings over stretcher bars.  Yesterday, I roughed up the surface of the banners so that I can restore and repaint the pieces once stretched.  A big job! 

Easter Vigil

 

I knew that I wanted to make some proportion and anatomical changes to the hands anyway, so I am considering this process an opportunity.  I am grateful to my friend for assisting in this work and look forward to sharing the journey here on wordpress.  Unfortunately, the composition is being affected, given that I am losing almost three inches in the width and length and so when I repaint, I have to make certain that I also restore the initial intent to the work.  For example, the red at the base of the resurrection banner represents the pain and suffering of the cross, leading to the eventuality of the resurrection.  Absolutely necessary and yet, I have lost that here.

Losing the Concept of Red