Coventry by Helen Humphreys

These are sad times. (hold that thought…lol)

I picked up the book, Coventry, and had it read in an afternoon.  I love it when an afternoon of leisurely everything allows for me to pick up a book, curl up under the wool blanket that Leah gifted me, and read.  At 175 pages of elegantly flowing prose, I highly recommend this one, as we move toward Remembrance Day 2017.

In 2015 I sat, gobsmacked when I watched the evening news…one historical/ancient site or artifact after another looted, destroyed and left in ruins by Isis.   We don’t talk about it very much anymore, but the destruction in Khorsabad as well as the revered sites of Nineveh, Nimrud and Hatra – (designated or nominated to be UNESCO World Heritage sites) – were attacked and left in shambles by the caliphate.

This book creates, for the reader, an image of what it was really like during the Blitz.  This particular novel, an historical fiction, deals with the event on November 14, 1940 when Coventry Cathedral was destroyed.  The story is told through the experiences of two females; Harriet and Maeve.  There are some excellent reviews on line about this book and I have arrived at some similar thoughts on events, especially.  For one, without posting a spoiler, there is a significant event that I felt was unnecessary to the flow of the narrative.  You will know the moment when you come to it.

Second to that, I was somewhat disappointed that Humphreys did not create a stronger relationship between the two protagonists.  I think that Humphreys writes such beautiful characters that it would have been very satisfying to delve more into their connection and build a stronger relationship.

There were times while reading when I had tears,…such devastation during a single event in our collective history!  Yet, as I look at what events are taking place in our world today…and just what a fragile peace remains in so many parts of the world, I find myself, almost daily, wondering why human beings have not learned from past mistakes.   An article that deals successfully with this very topic and the elegizing of literary content is written by Adam Haslett in a New York Times piece.

Dianne, on Goodreads, writes…

A new author for me and one in whose writing I quickly fell in love. Her sentences are so fluid, her words almost lulling, just wonderful. This provides a sharp contrast to the heartfelt descriptions of the bombing and destruction of Coventry during WWII. Can goods bursting, windows shattering, broken glass raining down, potatoes rolling on the now crooked floor, a man shaving one minute but gone the next, people running through the streets with metal pots on their heads, and of course houses no longer standing, piles of rubble and the bodies laying wherever they fell. The Cathedral which was the town’s pride and joy would be the only Cathedral in Britain to be destroyed during the war.

We inhabit such a beautiful planet.  It is difficult to consider the destruction that is caused by humanity.  I did not know about Coventry until reading this book.  Highly recommend this one.

A link to an excellent interview with the author.

Coventry

Postcards of the Great War

As a part of researching my family, there are just a few archival items that have been passed along in our family and some of those are a little worse for wear.  There are two postcards, written by my Great Grandfather John Moors addressed to his son, my Grandfather John Moors.  One is in my auntie’s possession and the other is in my father’s possession.  The first one is known as a silk, easily identifiable because of the stitched front side.

Background and production

Embroidered silk postcards do not all date from the First World War – they were used for sentimental greetings in France before 1914. First exhibited in 1900, they continued to be manufactured until the 1950s. Production peaked during the 1914-18 war, as the format proved especially popular with British soldiers.  The hand-embroidery is thought to have been carried out in domestic houses as ‘out-work’ by civilians in France and Belgium, and in the UK by Belgian refugees. The designs were repeatedly embroidered on rolls of silk.  These were then sent to cities (mainly Paris) for cutting up, final assembly and distribution, in what was probably at that stage a factory operation.

The silk that we have in our family is now behind glass.  I apologize for the glare as it did impact the photograph, but it is great to have a digital image and to be able to share its contents with my family.

John Moors Post Card from Auntie Eleanor's House

On the backside…lovely words…a father to his son.  John asks for mailing information for Walter and George.  I’m pleased that I have placed both of them in this photograph prior to heading overseas.  He writes very much as my grandfather spoke, with a bit of formality.  I reach across time and space to give him my love.  This is August 2016, mid ocean.  My Great Grandfather died, while a patient, during the bombing of Etaples Canada Hospital on May 19, 1918.

Post Card John Moors 11

Walter and George both appear in the 40th Field Battery photo taken at Camp Borden.  I don’t know if my Great Grandfather had any opportunity to reconnect with them.  They both survived the war, though there are several references that put their military units at such locations as Vimy and Passchendaele.

R Walter Haddow 4th fr lft 2nd row frm back

My Great Uncle Walter…

Walter haddow 40th field battery

My Great Uncle George…

George Haddoe 1915 40th Field Battery

The second postcard was more simple issue, sent as my Great Grandfather was returning to the war, after a leave in Paris.  It’s strange, but this object is a real treasure, in my mind.  When one thinks about letters or postcards, there is an intimate relationship between the hand, the eye, and the heart…these two items were held in the hands of my relation.  Quite amazing that they have managed to move through the passage of time!

A couple of things I wonder…

…if my Grandfather sent his father letters.

…if anyone has a photograph of my Great Grandfather in uniform.  As far as I know, the photograph that appears at the bottom of this post is the only one in existence.  This is also a digital image.

I am forever-grateful for these two postcards, the last one post marked March of 1918, two months prior to John’s death.

Front Side Post Card John Moors

John Moors Postcard

P1130628

Joseph Emanuel Gallant 1907-1944

Cpl. Joseph E. GALLANT

My mother remembered my Great Uncle Joe to be a very kind and gentle person.  Again, I am proud of him for his service during World War II.  He was the only one of his brothers to be killed at war.  The family always kept him close to their hearts.  While I have published this post before, I have included material shared by my second cousin, once removed.  With gratitude to James Perry for his inquisitive nature and his desire to track family history.  His additions are found at the bottom of the post, in blue text.

Birth 1907 in Prince Edward Island
Death  Monday, 17 Jan 1944 in Arielli, Ortona, Italy
On the Perth Regiment Moro River site, the following description can be read…this, followed by a list of names including that of my Great Uncle.
June 22nd., 1944Perhaps the most poignant story of the Perth’s buried at Moro River is the death of Private C. C. Sim. In June of 1944 the Perth’s were withdrawn from the line to rest. During this time a party led by Major C. B. Arrell, and including Chaplain Capt. D. Crawford, Lieut. L.F. Jones and fourteen volunteers, including Private Sim, returned to the battlefield of January 17th, to recover those dead which could not previously be recovered.The battle lines had by this time moved on. In total 19 bodies where recovered and temporally interned at a cemetery located near the cross roads which had been the Perth’s objective in January. Several of those interned where not identifiable and their names can be found on the Casino memorial commemorating those who have no known grave. On the 22nd of June Private C.C. Sim was killed while recovering bodies when he stepped on an s-mine. Another soldier also received wounds from this incident. Private Sim was buried with those he had helped locate and bury.
B/41793 PTE. WALTER BOLTON, died on Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of Walter and Beatrice Bolton, of Hamilton, Ontario; husband of Ida Bolton.
Grave Reference: XI.H.12
.D/72361 PTE. ALLAN WILBERT CARTLAND,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 19.
Son of Albert Edward and Mary Ann Cartland,of Montreal, Province of Quebec.
Grave Reference: IV.B.13
.C/36822 PTE. NELSON WILLIS CLARK, diedMonday, 17th January 1944. Age 28.
Son of Norman and Agnes Madeline Clark; husband of Hazel Grace Clark,of Peterborough. Grave Reference: III.H.11.LIEUT. ALFRED JOHN CLEMENTS, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 23.
Son of Alfred and Annie Clements, of St. Thomas, Ontario.
Grave Reference: II.G.5.
L/11313 PTE. WILLIAMS COLLINS,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 34.
Son of Nickloss and Mary Collins; husband of Callie Gertrude Collins, of Big River, Saskatchewan.
Grave Reference: XI.G.3.B/1629 PTE. CECIL COOPER, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 20.
Son of Harry A. and Violet A. Cooper, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: III.H.16.

B/64558 PTE. GLENN COPELAND, died Wednesday, 17th January 1945. Age 23.
Son of John Edward and Laurine Effie Copeland, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI.H.8.

A/11663 PTE. JACK BERTRAM CRAWFORD, died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.5.

A/104789 PTE. GUSTAVE DE BAERE, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 23.
Son of Alfons and Emilie De Baere, of Bearline, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.D.14.

A/23090 PTE. JACK WILBERT DURHAM, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 23.
Son of William Alonzo and Melissa Anne Durham, of Windsor, Ontario. Grave Reference: X.D.3.

B/130724 PTE. JAMES BANNERMAN ELLWOOD, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 27.
Son of A. Ralph and Sybil L. Ellwood; husband of Edith Mary Ellwood, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: III.H.12.

H/1561 PTE. PATRICK GALLAGHER , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.11.

F/60174 L Cpl. JOSEPH EMANUEL GALLANT , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: X.A.1.

A/102600 PTE. ANDREW GIBEL, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of Joseph Gibel, and of Mary Gibel, of Windsor, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.16.

A/49891 PTE. NORMAN LLOYD HURRELL,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 25.
Son of William and Elizabeth Hurrell; husband of Grace Olive Hurrell, of Chatham, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.12.

L/104669 PTE. JOSEPH LEO KOSTENLY , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: X.H.6.

C/21739 PTE. AMBROSE LATOUR, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Alexander and Marceline Latour, of Mattawa,Ontario.
Grave Reference: II.H.15.

C/34908 PTE. VIATEUR LAVALLIE, diedMonday, 17th January 1944. Age 28.
Son of Mary Lavallie; husband of Rose Lavallie, of Joliette, Province of Quebec.
Grave Reference: III.H.13.

B/46946 PTE. JOHN DAVID LAWSON, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Frank and Mary K. Lawson, of Rosseau Road,Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI.H.11.

A/11490 L/CPL. THOMAS LITTLEJOHN,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Harry and Margaret Littlejohn; husband of Rose Ellen Nora Littlejohn, of London, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.G.10

B/46937 PTE. SINCLAIR LUDWIG, died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.14.

MAJOR ROBERT ARCHIBALD MACDOUGALL, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 35.
Son of Duncan and Flora MacDougall; husband of Helen M. MacDougall (nee Porter), of Westport, Ontario. B.A. (Queen’s University).
Grave Reference: X.H.7.

A/11527 PTE. ALFRED JOSEPH McLEOD, died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: VI.G.13.

A/11142 PTE. ARTHUR WILLIAM PRIOR , died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 28.
Son of William Henry and Catherine Prior; husband of Muriel Prior, of St. Catharines, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.3.

LIEUT. LAURENT JOSEPH WILFRID ROCHON,died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Son of Joseph Wilfrid Rochon and of Henedine Rochon (nee Lortie), of Sturgeon Falls, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.7.

A/11684 C.S.M. JOHN KERR ROSS, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 29.
Son of John and Jane Ross, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.G.15.

A/103220 PTE. DONALD WILLIAM SCHMIDT, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 22.
Son of Arthur C. and Mabel Schmidt, of Harriston, Ontario.
Grave Reference: III.H.14.

B/46934 PTE. DOUGLAS WARD SMITH, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 22.
Son of Ernest Ingham Smith, and of Beatrice May Smith, of North Lindsay, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.6.

A/67826 CPL. WILFRED JAMES SMITH , died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of Thomas and Emily Smith, of Stratford, Ontario.
Grave Reference: X.G.14.

A/11256 PTE. WILLIAM RUSSELL STEWART , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.2.

A/58052 L/CPL STEWART WILLIAM TILLEY,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of William John and Violet Tilley, of Wiarton, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.8.

A/11832 PTE. FREDERICK ARTHUR WILLMORE,died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.D.15.

B/134857 PTE. HOWARD WILLIAM WOODCOCK, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Joel and Manetta A. Woodcock, of Newmarket, Ontario.
Grave Reference: X.G.7.

Joseph Emanuel Gallant

 

Cpl. Joseph Gallant
This is a man who I would love to be able to speak with.  I’ve watched a NFB silent black and white film about the battles in December 1943 -January 1944 in Ortona and it saddens me to think about the pain/misery/cold/fear and darkness that these young boys must have experienced.  It saddens me that Joseph lost his life nearing the conclusion to this particular battle, on January 17, 1944.
In June 2001, our dear family friend, Padre Stan Self, traveled back to Europe, to revisit and pay respects to the many fallen Canadian soldiers who had lost their lives.  My parents had shared the name of our uncle and so Stan visited Joseph’s final resting place.  Here, I will publish the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Details as they refer to my great uncle.
Rank LCpl
Initials J E Joseph Emmanuel Gallant
Regiment: Perth Regiment RC.L.I
Service #: F60174
Date of Death – January 17 1944
Commemoration – Moro River Cemetery, Italy, Plot 10 Row A Grave 1
Directions for driving to Great Uncle Joseph’s resting place.  San Donoto-commune of Ortona, Province of Chreti, east of the main Adriatic coast Road SS16, autostrada A25-A14
Thank You, dear angel, Stan.

From the Moro river canadian cemetery site, the following context

Historical Information

On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Allied objectives were to draw German troops from the Russian front and more particularly from France, where an offensive was planned for the following year.

Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east. The Allied force that had fought its way up the Adriatic took the Sangro river positions by 30 November. The 1st Canadian Division went on to cross the Moro river on 6 December against stiff opposition, and to take Ortona on the 28th, after a week of bitter street fighting. The 2nd New Zealand division made some advances further inland but thereafter, there was virtually no movement east of the Appennines until after the fall of Rome.

The site of the cemetery was chosen by the Canadian Corps in January 1944. It contains the graves of those who died during that fighting at Moro river and Ortona, and during the weeks that preceded and followed it. In December 1943 alone, the 1st Canadian Division suffered over 500 fatal battle casualties. Burials other than those of members of the Canadian forces are almost all in plots 12, 13 and 16.

Moro River Canadian War Cemetery contains 1,615 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.

Information received from my second cousin, by marriage, James Perry, regarding medals.

Your uncle Joe’s widow would of recieved this medal for him

Terms
The star was awarded for one day operational service in Sicily or Italy between
11 June 1943 and 08 May 1945.

“Please note that the above is only a summary outline of the conditions that
apply to this medal. Additional information and a list of qualifing areas of
service are available from the Honours and Awards Section, Veterans Affairs
Canada, 66 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P4″

Bar
There was no bar to this medal

Italian Star

Ribbon
The ribbon consists of equal stripes of red, white, green, white, and red. The
colours represent the colours of the Italian flag.

Also, received from James Perry of Summerside, PE are the following notes and references.  Thank you for sharing these with our family.
1.Joseph E. served with the PEI Highlanders in Canada, United Kingdom and
Italy. He enlisted on the 4th of June 1940, but unlike his brothers, did not
return home. He was killed in Italy on the 17th of January 1944. He was 33
years of age when he enlisted. Service # F/60174. Listed as a Private in the
Perth Regiment RCIC Listed as a Lance Corporal on his Gravestone. He was
killed in the battle Arielli, Italy. Killed by mortar fire while carrying
D.Coy’s Wireless radio. Recognized on Internet Last Soldier Memorial. On
17th Jan 1944, The Perth Regiment saw its first action at the Battle of The
Arielli River.[See Map 1: The Attack Towards the Arielli – 17th January 1944
<Maps/mapb1.jpg>] On the night of 17th-18th Jan. 1944, after a day long
battle against great odds, the Regiment was withdrawn to an area near
Lanciano, and from there, took up a sector of the winter line opposite
Orsogna.

2.Research of John C. Gallant

3.Journal Pioneer. Saturday, November 18, 2000, page 26

4.The Island Magzine, #24, Fall-Winter 1988, page 42, E.Phillips, T.McNeill

5.Gravestone Memorial Reference X.A.1. Moro River Canadian War Cemetary

6.Les Acadiens et la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, R.Cormier, page 132

7.Mentioned in Dispatch, 13 Mar 1944

8.Lived on Russell Street in Summerside

9. http://perthregiment.org/WarGraves/mororiver.html

10. http://www.perthregiment.org/index3.html

Grateful to you, for these contributions, James.

Gabe 17Jan1944Gabe Perth2Gabe Perth

Ortona…

An excellent little piece on the background and happenings at Ortona, for our boys.

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.

Gorilla House LIVE ART: November 7, 2012

Ok…so, back to the easel and rockin’ with the Gorilla House animules!  I had a wonderful time.  I took the pressure off of myself by bringing a reference.  I knew that no matter what the themes, I wanted to recognize Remembrance in some way…remembrance, memory, family.  Given my huge interest in family research, I also wanted to bring into the mix at least one character, intimately…some one I have come to know through my research.

Here are the themes as received from the wheel of doom…some connect to my intentions…however, not directly…you decide.

1. school yard wimps and…
2. judgement
3. watching reality t.v.

I began by setting down the words to W.B. Yeat’s poem, A Dialogue Between Self and Soul.  As the words lifted up…I moved the lines upward…as they fell, I moved them down.  This is just a spectacular poem.  I know.  I know.  It’s long and you have stuff to do today.  Trust me.  Read it and you will be somehow changed.

Dialogue Between Self and Soul
By William Butler Yeats

{My Soul} I summon to the winding ancient stair;
Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,
Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,
Upon the breathless starlit air,
‘Upon the star that marks the hidden pole;
Fix every wandering thought upon
That quarter where all thought is done:
Who can distinguish darkness from the soul?

{My Self}. The consecrated blade upon my knees
Is Sato’s ancient blade, still as it was,
Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass
Unspotted by the centuries;
That flowering, silken, old embroidery, torn
From some court-lady’s dress and round
The wooden scabbard bound and wound
Can, tattered, still protect, faded adorn.

{My Soul.} Why should the imagination of a man
Long past his prime remember things that are
Emblematical of love and war?
Think of ancestral night that can,
If but imagination scorn the earth
And intellect is wandering
To this and that and t’other thing,
Deliver from the crime of death and birth.

{My Self.} Montashigi, third of his family, fashioned it
Five hundred years ago, about it lie
Flowers from I know not what embroidery —
Heart’s purple — and all these I set
For emblems of the day against the tower
Emblematical of the night,
And claim as by a soldier’s right
A charter to commit the crime once more.

{My Soul.} Such fullness in that quarter overflows
And falls into the basin of the mind
That man is stricken deaf and dumb and blind,
For intellect no longer knows
i{Is} from the i{Ought,} or i{Knower} from the i{Known — }
That is to say, ascends to Heaven;
Only the dead can be forgiven;
But when I think of that my tongue’s a stone.

II
{My Self.} A living man is blind and drinks his drop.
What matter if the ditches are impure?
What matter if I live it all once more?
Endure that toil of growing up;
The ignominy of boyhood; the distress
Of boyhood changing into man;
The unfinished man and his pain
Brought face to face with his own clumsiness;
The finished man among his enemies? —
How in the name of Heaven can he escape
That defiling and disfigured shape
The mirror of malicious eyes
Casts upon his eyes until at last
He thinks that shape must be his shape?
And what’s the good of an escape
If honour find him in the wintry blast?
I am content to live it all again
And yet again, if it be life to pitch
Into the frog-spawn of a blind man’s ditch,
A blind man battering blind men;
Or into that most fecund ditch of all,
The folly that man does
Or must suffer, if he woos
A proud woman not kindred of his soul.
I am content to follow to its source
Every event in action or in thought;
Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!
When such as I cast out remorse
So great a sweetness flows into the breast
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blest by everything,
Everything we look upon is blest.

Then…the painting.  Although the chin area isn’t resolved…and some other things…I captured a gesture of my great uncle, Walter Haddow as he was photographed at Camp Borden in 1915, before heading out with the 40th Field Artillary Battalion to war.  He was one of the lucky ones.  He came home.  My great-grandfather did not.

Thank you, Peter, for purchasing this piece at auction and I’m so glad that this served as a reminder of your grandfather.  Also, thanks to the many individuals, new to the Gorilla House, who stopped by and spoke to me about the poem and about the painting, my process and the subject matter!

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

I opted to stay home this morning.  It feels like heaven to shuffle to the coffee maker…return to bed with a hot cup of coffee…the bedside lamp lit…and finish reading a book.  The Cellist of Sarajevo was a two-sitting read…a wonderful relief to some degree after the very dense book, Songs in Ordinary Times.

I had wanted to read this one for a long time and just recently found a copy in the second hand shop.  Based on a most devastating time in our history, in Sarajevo, this fiction brings us into the lives of ‘real’ characters and what they endure in the streets and torn ruins of a place that at one time seemed in ways, idyllic.

Art transcends the brutal hatred, insensitivity and dehumanizing conditions of war.  The cellist represents all that is beautiful about the human spirit.  I warn you that the following documentary is graphic…and captures images of the horror of greed and misguided belief.  I hope that you will watch it for its duration and never forget.

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own. Carol Burnett

Hollee’s Card

My fridge door holds a whole collection of ephemera…wee bits of flotsam and jetsam, each piece carrying little meaning for others, but huge meaning for me.  It all takes the form of magnets, photographs, bits of writing and items that bring to light my relationships and the people I treasure.  This morning, a postcard particularly stood out for me; on the back, a special message from Hollee on her journeys and on the front, a beautiful image, La Clairiere 1944 by Rene Magritte.

Magritte had survived a very unhappy period.  Invaded by the Nazis in 1940, he fled his beloved Brussels and the woman he loved (Georgette).  Returning in 1943 and experiencing a very dark personal period, Magritte overcame his sadness at the occupation of his home by spending a brief, but potent, period experimenting with the luminous and fruity palette of painters like Pierre Auguste Renoir.  La Clairiere (The Clearing) is evocative of work coming from Magritte’s  ‘Sunlit’ period.  Something like fifty pictures were completed during this brief, but inspiring, period from 1940 to 1945.

La Clairiere by Rene Magritte 1944

From 1935 forward one can glance through the art history books and discover the huge reaction and agitation in artists. Artworks, with the coming of war and the spirit of domination, demonstrated huge shifts and experimentation world wide.  We see this evidenced in a myriad of works including those produced by Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso and abstract expressionist, Oskar Kokoschka.  Since university years, I have admired the work of Oskar Kokoschka and notice some of the same movement and expression in the work of contemporary, John Hartman.

Returning to the image…La Clairiere.  While I can not find any analysis of this painting in my art books or on line, suffice it to say that the images captured are very symbolic for me.  Most obvious, I suppose, is the image of the dove.  Within our western culture, the dove is symbolic of peace.  We see within the plants, the birth of a multitude of doves.  The single point of interest has already taken flight.  It feels as though peace arises from ‘the ordinary’, but the viewer is given the sense that it must be tended…watered…harvested.  This sense of ‘giving birth’ or ‘nurturing’ is supported by the nest and the contents, three eggs.  Here, I apply some of my Christian symbology…three; the triune God, the bread…the water of life and baptism.  I would give anything to be able to speak with the artist.  Wouldn’t we all like that?  So, for me, there is a sense of the Eucharistic elements present to a landscape that smacks of ‘the garden’.  While we are not present in the image, we are present through a sense of responsibility or engagement.  The glass of water invites us, as does the bread.  These fragile details (the eggs and nest, the bread, the glass) appear at the very forefront of the composition, causing a nurturing response and a sense of immediacy.

The shrubs read to be tobacco plants, a product that gave some sense of comfort and relief in the day and a plant that within first nations cultures represented a bartering tool as well as a gift.  Today, tobacco continues to be a part of healing ceremonies and is incorporated into sweat lodges and other ceremonies.

I enjoy Saturday mornings…after my walk with Max, I can take time to pray, sip a coffee…look at a postcard.

I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.
— Anne Rice