Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Taking Back Joy


"As we get older we define happiness less in terms of excitement and more in terms of peacefulness."
                                                   -page 103 "Option B" by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

I find this statement to apply to all facets of my life. Though I have always needed to experience solitude throughout my life and actively sought it out through my plein air painting experiences, I find now that noise and the chaos of crowds is actually painful to me. More and more, I retreat from the din and avoid having to attend parties and gatherings where I can't filter out conversation from noise.

My evening walks are more than for the sake of exercise. They primarily allow me to gather my thoughts... organize my ideas and to look without interruption. In a passage I have always favored from "another wonderful guide book:

"He leadeth me beside still waters... and it restoreth my soul."

It is when I am on these walks that I encounter "signs" (to me at least) of  Allison's renewed presence in my life...  manifest in the simple blessings of Nature and life that we shared together. Hand feeding chickadees... netting butterflies... capturing preserve sealers of twinkling August fireflies. All such perceived simple blessings weave us together into a tapestry of complete Peace and Joy.

                 "Peace is joy at rest and joy is peace on its feet." (Reverend Veronica Goines)

This personal perception of my continued connection to Allison might cause many to scoff... equating this to denial at best, or worse... delusion. But no matter the skeptics' views... "She" remains firmly embedded in my consciousness in a fashion that offers Hope in lieu of despair on a daily basis.

I have accepted that her spirit has left its physical vessel. Her presence now exists only in memories we each carry of her. But that spirit and energy which belonged to her alone and defined her continues to manifest itself in ways that only we shared... and understood.

I choose to take back Joy... and to pass it forward through my thoughts and actions to honor her... and my Self. Art and painting are the cement and underpinnings of our separate life's work. Hers was  achieved through research and scholarship. Mine through a combination of art history and fine art. Both shared a common passion and pivotal centre - Venice.

"La Serenissime" - the  Molo in Venezia - oil on canvas 36 x 36 inches

Forever serene!

Love you Jemima 


  1. Dear Bruce - I have spent several minutes catching up with you. Friend my heart cries with yours...I too lost someone close to me in the spring to cancer. The new "normal" you write is not easy to find. Grieving is a process and it takes time. Like you Bruce I seek God's comfort in the outdoors...the familiar but always changing countryside brings peace. I see my loved one walking the hills, driving his tractor and reaching for those new baby calves. He is no more gone than your sweet Allison...they will live on in our hearts and our minds. Someday we too will join them and then there will be "no more tears" - only joy! God bless

  2. Good morning Debbie!... So nice to chat again... but sorry that it is under such sad circumstances for us both. Like you... I choose Faith and positive energy to (hopefully) dispel and displace grief.

    Allison has physically departed this plane of physical existence... but strangely... her Presence is amplified as I bathe myself in those elements of life which have brought constant Joy to me alone... and as well to Allison and I together during better times.

    My Joy... even now outweighs the tears that do creep in from time to time.

    "Still waters" stretch before me... on my River! It restoreth my soul!

    Thanks for dropping by and for your wonderfully uplifting words.

    Warmest regards... and Blessings!

  3. There truly is no "normal" but just what we do, day-to-day. I do not scoff at your feelings of Allison's presence. Whenever I run into someone who does not believe, I just think of quantum physics and the craziness they are finding to be true every day = parallel worlds, etc. - so cannot the veil between this world and another not be thinned and some essence shines through at times? And even if it's just our own need to be close to that person, doesn't it honor them to carry them with us daily? Who wants to be forgotten? We all want to live on in memories and I know if I can send signs when I've passed on, I am gonna do it so look out everyone! ha ha. Take care, dear man, and enjoy when Allison shines your way :)

  4. Good morning Rhonda... Thank you for sending along these words of comfort and humour. The Universe is indeed a mysterious and ever-evolving and unfolding concept in Man's brief earthly sojourn.

    The only way to face the challenges that it presents... is to travel through it with a smile and Faith. I try to do both...

    Again, thanks for your presence and caring words - they greatly matter to me.

    Warmest regards,

  5. It feels as if I am getting to meet Alison through your beautiful posts about her. Here we see some more photos of her during her life and I discover she loved Venice and so do you. I wonder if this is a recent painting of Venice or one you did in the past. It is a great painting and it would be good to see more. Now I am wondering if you have painted Alison as she has such a fine face which would make a really lovely painting. You take it easy Bruce, you are doing just fine, go to the quiet places and find peace in the beauty of silence and nature.

  6. Good morning Lass...There are so many "crossovers" and intersections in Allison's brief life and mine. We shared so many common passions for life. Art ... people... teaching... learning ... creating and Venezia. In so many ways ... we were one!

    I completed and gifted her with with many painting and sketches of Venice. This was one of the collection that we both loved.

    I have a portrait "idea" or two of her circling in my head at the moment... but there isn't sufficient time or preparation for it to unfold yet..

    Stay tuned...

    Thank you for your presence Caroline atr this difficult time. You always bring encouragement and a positive energy with you!

    Good Painting and Blessings!

    Warmest regards,