This week, my youngest son Bryn will join us here in Rockport for the traditional March Break which all school children ( and teachers) so look forward to each spring. We plan to join my daughter Allison for a trip to the maple bush at the Cataraqui Conservation Area north of Kingston to watch and take part in the annual tapping and sugarin' off event... topped off by horse-drawn wagon rides and a pancake... sausage and maple syrup lunch. We have observed this maple sugaring rite of spring as a family tradition every year... except during the Nova Scotian years.
It is no surprise that the Christian religious celebration of Easter strongly embraces and is built around the theme of Resurrection. "Rising from the dead"... at this particular time of year would truly be very easy to comprehend for even the most illiterate of church goers... in any age. Why would one question the mystery in such a sacred event? Why would not accept, just through simple faith alone that the resurrection of the Son of God... Creator of our world and Universe is possible? That same mystery of rebirth out of apparent death in winter happens before our very eyes each and every spring as the seasons cycle in expected change. Can science diminish the mystery of "the why" in that process? Not for me!
Somehow, in my system of belief... Faith offers Hope. Without Hope... what is life? Just a treadmill of events. A gerbil wheel of sorts for all living creatures on which meaningless and purposeless cycling occurs. If I subscribed to that fateful definition and acceptance of life.... why would I create "others in my likeness" to find the same fate? Would the life and purpose for our new born "Wee Mac"... scarcely begun his journey... be simply to trudge meaninglessly using the same wheel as his Grandfather?
No! His birth is actually the Resurrection of my father and forefathers' lives and dreams and accomplishments... and my own youth ... with its unbridled energy and belief in possibility. Resurrection defeats the feared notion of the permanence of Death. For me personally, it offers the possibility of "sweet dreams"... eternal rest and continuance in a fashion that I am presently... in this earthly plane unable to understand - or worry about. My only function is to live my life as fully and purposely as I can... sharing the gifts that I possess with my Family and as many fellow travellers who share my beliefs and dreams as I am able.
Andrew and Mac... These are my sons... They're both "Grand"...and I am greatly pleased and filled with Love...Faith and Hope!
Enough of the metaphysical... and back to the earth! This morning the term "Resurrection" took on an actual physical aura in my day. I have been carrying out some "Spring Cleaning" - a dreaded task for a hunter-gather such as my Self! Rolled up and tucked deeply in the back of our deepest basement storage space... not unlike a Dead Sea Scroll (couldn't resist) was "an antiquity"... well for me anyway. It was a largish 30x36 inch canvas that I had taken off its stretcher bar frame, simply because the framework had warped in storage. I had no idea what to expect as I unrolled it... but in doing so, I was immediately transported back thirteen years and another "plane" in my journey.
The painting captures a nocturnal November image of the Shrine at Ste. Marie-Amongst-the-Hurons at Midland, Ontario on Georgian Bay. It is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage location dedicated to the martyred Jesuit Fathers Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalement who carried Christianity to the neutral Huron tribe in what was known then as Huronia. They were brutally tortured and martyred by the warring Iroquois on March 16th and 17th, 1649. How strange the timing of my re finding the canvas... but nonetheless appropriate! On the back is a poem that I created which considers their plight and the plight of all humans... who must, in their life time surrender to death's grasp.
I took my youngest lads Bryn and Liam to the site on a number of occasions. I had thought that the reconstructed palisaded village protecting the elm bark longhouses... complete with re-enactors and modern Huron interpreters would be the most exciting for them. However... each time, I was blown away and humbled by their request to visit the church... to light candles and pray. It is indeed a highly moving and spiritual space. My own cathedral of worship remains the outdoors. "I" ... am "One" with my Creator or version of Him, in that immense vaulting open space. It pleased me greatly that my lads could find their own sense of the same here in this wonderful and historically significant space.
I hope to re stretch the canvas... it deserves that to be done and just perhaps to find its way back to Ste Marie. We'll see what time has to say about that!
"A Martyr's Moon Along the Wye" - oil on canvas 30x36 inches
Here are my thoughts regarding the frontal image recorded au verso on the canvas on November 21st, 2001
Martyr's Moon Along the Wye
Death comes to us all
How one faces it...
And goes towards the darkness, which is in fact
But in Faith and with Hope
Holding one's flickering candle bravely
Unafraid... even at the end.
Holding firmly... resolutely to that ever faint and flickering Light
As those brave and saintly souls did
In one dark hour
Now... three hundred years ago.
Their purpose and mission are not silenced
By their hideous passage from life...
Faith overrides Death... and offers forward through Resurrection in spirit
In closing... my thoughts are shared humbly with all of my blogging friends. These are more eloquent words words on the same subject by writers of more skill and reputation. They do, however... offer credibility to my own thoughts about resurrection. This first passage might well be compared to the volatile situation in the Ukraine and Crimea. Is it insurrection.... or Resurrection? Only time will tell!
"Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of light is the same as the survival of the soul."
- Victor Hugo
This next quote is so very appropriate and one that means a great deal to me personally. He is a modern martyr... who shaped the world through his mission of non-violence... the very act which extinguished his earthly being. He even knew that he would never see the mountain... or his dream realized in his life time. But Faith and Hope drove him to pursue it on behalf of others.
"Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime."
-Martin Luther King Jr
We shared the same cathedral I believe... and the Hope for a better place for all. Maybe ... he was a painter too.
The last quote comes from the Jesuit martyr Gabriel Lalement's own journal:
"My strength is in the strength of God. In Him, I can do all things."
Keepin' the Faith... and paintin' in Rockport!
Rich blessings of Spring ... and
Good Painting... to ALL!