Saturday, March 8, 2014

Resurrection... A not so surprising theme for Spring

With Daylight Saving moving into the picture this weekend... winter loses yet another toe hold on his cold icy reign. The renewed  presence of longer lasting daylight signals clearly that we will soon move ... along with other creatures and living things into our long-awaited pageant of spring time rituals. These annually repeated celebrations, starting with the pancake breakfasts of Shrove Tuesday (just passed) herald a march from winter towards Easter and spring, eventually arriving at summer.

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
Some time.
How one faces it...
And goes towards the darkness, which is in fact
The Light...
Not raging
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. 

I wonder.....

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!


  1. Ah Bruce...the little one is gorgeous and look at that serious look he's giving his daddy! So glad you shared your Pilgrimage piece. Somehow, it reminds me a bit of Pilgrim's Progress...the end result the church in the distance, a place of sanctuary and communing with God. The end is in sight, the path a bit lessened of the briars and the brambles we tear through in this life. I do hope you restretch it and get it back up on your walls. It is a beauty.

  2. Good morning Sherry!... Yep... figurin' it all out! Deja vu for "Me"... I so enjoyed those moments alone with each of my new ones... getting to know each other. I am very proud of Andrew... and his wonderful heart. He'll be a "full out" Dad!

    You have a wonderful personal read on the painting. You make great sense. I can't see it not being re stretched. I'll put it on the "to do" list. But for now... back to the "maple madness" in my soul! HA HA!!!

    Thanks for dropping by and for sharing your wonderful thoughts. Glad to have you aboard Sherry!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Beautiful, Bruce... You live as you paint and write... Thanks, always for your encouraging words.

  4. Hi there Marian!... Thank you for this most gracious comment. I think that we both journey in parallel Marian and share so many common values and a passion for life... and people! That makes us Friends!

    Thank you for dropping by!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Dear Bruce, the baby is adorable, your words profound, and your painting is amazing. Thank you for sharing, it's always a treat to have my morning coffee and visit to your post.

    All the best to you and Deb,

  6. Good morning Joan!... Thank you!... Thank you!... Thank you! I too... always look forward to our conversations and shareing of ideas and work. Thank you for continuing to share and to openly participate in this blog!

    Our very best to you and Mike!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  7. Hi Bruce, how marvellous to discover the painting, and a beautiful one at that. It's full of colour, although I imagine you might only have had three on your palette.

    Your words, and the others you have shared, are all beautiful too.

    All the best,

  8. Good morning Keith!... Thanks for dropping by!

    It was quite a pleasant surprise to rediscover this piece and strangely near the date of the matyrdom... strange!

    Though the painting does indeed appear to have come out of a limited palette... it did not. I paint from a split palette... but the mixing often subtly combines some of those other hues... and perhaps the richness of colour you mention arrives out of that situation.

    I guess the point I really wanted to make here is that spiritual connection to what one paints usually creates stronger work. Paint what you have a passion for... but you and I know that... and follow that trail!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  9. Ah Bruce - a wonderful post filled with the three things I so hold onto in this life faith, hope and love (the greatest of these is love). When we reach into eternity I know that these three will remain. Your grandson is awesome my friend. Enjoy your time with him and with all your loved ones. That maple syrup sure sounds pretty good to me. Have a great week.

  10. Hi there Deb!... Right... on all counts! Looking forward to a great week... sunshine today... but a major winter storm advisory has been posted for this area beginning this evening into Thursday! Doesn't look pretty! A great time to put on a good fire... put your feet up and play some board games! It'll all pass!

    Have a great week! Thanks for dropping by and for adding such positive thoughts and compliments!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  11. A magnificent painting!
    A wonderful, thought evoking, post, Bruce. Spring has always spoken to me of renewal, New hatchlings, etc. We are in a season of Resurrection. Possibly even more so now than in the past.
    Without Faith, we have nothing.

  12. Good evening Dean!... A magnificent and uplifting response Dean! Thank you!

    Like you... I embrace all things natural with respect and gratitude. We are deeply blessed to live in this Eden. It forms the basis for all purpose in my life.

    Faith is everything!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,