Monday, March 4, 2019

Life on the River

My life on the River that I have been blessed to have grown up on has helped shape the very person that I have become. Throughout my entire seventy-five years, she has offered me an unceasing sense of belonging and nurturing that continues to enrich my spirit and zest for living.

She has conducted my rich outdoor education program upon which my knowledge and respect for all things wild is built upon. That same knowledge became the crucible and engine for my creative activity.... both en plein air and then carried into use in each of my classrooms, as well back into the studio.

The solitude and silence that she provides has continually stilled the reoccurring anguish and confusion... in a world driven too much by money and technology. Her banks, channels and bays provide undefiled refuge for all living things - mySelf included. "Still waters... it restoreth my soul."

Life did necessitate my leaving all of this at certain points in my journey. But I never found myself able to feel comfortable without the presence of water nearby. So I rooted those early chapters beside similar sources in Kingston located on Lake Ontario... Nova Scotia and the Georgian Bay area. I added regular trips to Algonquin Park during intervals when I was not living within sight of water. Thus I always found ways to support my need to be near water.

At the close of our tenth season here in Rockport we came jointly to a firm decision to close The Paint Box Gallery permanently... not solely because it wasn't enjoyable or lucrative, but rather because we both were experiencing health issues that made continuing a struggle. It was necessary to decide upon a course of action which provided less stress and greater latitude to grow in different directions with new opportunities together.

We made a firm decision to travel upstream fifty kilometers to Kingston... located on the shores of Lake Ontario. I enjoyed a rewarding twenty-seven year teaching career in that picturesque and historic city... so it was an easy decision to make. Hospital care is conjoined with Queen's University offering the best of medical services.

Culturally, there are unlimited opportunities and facilities to engage in and enjoy. What's to lose? A no - brainer, as they say. So the search for an acceptable new place to hang our hat was begun back in the late fall. A sprawling student population has all but swallowed downtown residential opportunities and have driven up the rental costs astronomically.

We had almost given up hope of finding one for ourselves... when the Universe... ever so mysteriously laid a perfect one in our laps. Perfect in every way. A condo, meaning no more stairs... no more property maintenance... no more hordes of noisy, rude and invasive visitors.  The condo has everything in the way of space and amenities  that one could ever wish for at our time in life. We snapped at it right away.

So ... this will be my last posting from the village of Rockport. No longer did we find the village a refuge with peace and contentment. Like so many quaint places... or Paradise as we had earlier known and experienced, $$$ brought with it a need for substantial changes which did not serve the well being of all residents.

We have enjoyed our stay here and our relationship  with so many fine people who we have been blessed to live with. We shall carry fond memories of them and the "glory days" that we shared as a community of like-minded people.

High on that totem of Friendship are the eight individuals who made our quicksilver move to Kingston possible. Without them... we would have been lost.We will ALWAYS bee indebted to each of them. We are indeed blessed to have such people in our lives!

We are now fully embedded in the move... and establishing new directions for us both. We are still searching out answers for that rotten sciatica we both battle with still. But that is a small issue... and too... will come to an end!

Spring is indeed in the air here. But reluctant.. as always... to fully commit!

Rich blessings to ALL!

I wish to close out the Rockport chapter with this appropriate thought that I clipped out of a magazine a couple of years ago. Somehow... I always seem to find a suitable place to insert them into my thoughts and writing.

Life on the River

Send your worries downstream
Watch every sunset
Let the current give you strength
Have lazy days
Take walks and play in the sand
Make memories.

                  From Renaissance Magazine (Summer 2017 Issue)
                  - a sign at the Sulphur's (??) cottage

And sweet River memories will remain in my heart... no matter where my journey leads me from here. I am deeply blessed...

"Minuet d'hiver"- (River Dance) 1st take
  30 x 36 inch oil on canvas


  1. And so a new chapter very exciting for you both. I have just spent an enjoyable few minutes looking at pictures of the city. It looks lovely and very spacious too with it's green spaces and the expanse of lake, the architecture is beautiful.

    I wish a speedy recovery for you and Deb so you can get out and about enjoying your new home. I look forward to hearing of your adventures - best wishes.

  2. Hi Lisa!... You are very right my Friend. The "missing" part of leaving behind is beginning to be less of a pull... and our new condo home and beaUtifully historic Kingston has rushed in to fill that early feeling of void.

    Hoping that our settled feelings will promote a rapid healing... so that we both can get back to our art! I miss the painting so!

    Stay tuned... Spring is in the air! And I promise that I will "spring" fully back into action!

    Thanks for stopping by and for leaving such promising positive comments Lisa!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Good Evening Bruce,
    Is it really ten years since you moved to Rockport! I can clearly remember when you were talking about planning to move back to the river. I'm sure it will be nice not to have the pressure of getting ready for the next tourist season, and then tolerate all the visitors. Perhaps you will be the tourist for a change!

    I hope the move goes well.
    All the best,

  4. Hi Bruce

    All the best, good luck on your move and great happiness in your new home. I hope that you find time to paint and blog when you are settled.

    They say that change is as good as a rest. Perhaps a change in scenery is just what the doctor ordered.

    We, too, are preparing to sell and move closer to our children, as we are needing a home that requires less maintenance.

    I have really enjoyed your blogposts, a Bruce, and look forward to hearing about the next chapter in your life.

  5. Hi There Keith.. Our first Kingston "connection"from our new condo home in this beautiful, historic "Limestone City"... a name derived from
    the very obvious fact that many homes and all important civic and government buildings were constructed from the from this sedimentary rock.

    Lots to share about these details in future conversations... which you and I both enjoy so much in our art and our fact gathering sorties.

    Strange... to be right back where it all started for me artistically and with my family. Allie and Andrew grew up and attended school two buildings east of us... directly behind the very building that Deb and I are now living in.

    I will not miss the noise and crush of tourists and bus fumes all summer Keith... and be assured Deb and I will be touring some. But historic Barriefield Village... in which our building dwells was a chief painting mecca for me in those early days. I plan to simply walk across the highway and relive those halcyon days... and the smell of lilacs in spring.

    Stay tuned... and thanks for your visit Keith!

    Warmest regards as always... and good painting!

  6. Hi Wendy Allison... Nice to hear your cheery voice again... I always look forward to hearing from you and sharing new thoughts and ideas!

    Our move was indeed very stressful and challenging in the face of our common sciatica problem, but we received such a blessing from six very special friends and members of our Rockport community.

    Dive Charter Captain Wayne Green and his partner Jane and four of his crew members took over the move and organized every last detail in a final two day push to place us in our Kingston condo and to unpack all boxes and place items in them where they belonged. We closed out the activity with a pizza party... the only compensation that they would hear of for their heroic efforts on our behalf.

    Many people in our community boast about the heritage value of buildings in our wee village as being the most notable measure of the legacy of Rockport. I would very much argue the fact that the greatest manifestation of "heritage" is NOT measured using the age of remaining buildings from our past to determine its sole heritage value.

    I believe that a greater and more meaningful measure of heritage... in the three smaller communities that I have been privileged... fortunate and blessed to have lived in is that sense of "community" - the spirit of generosity and common purpose and belonging which only exists in this age in smaller communities like Rockport.

    Deb and I are deeply blessed... to have been given the gift of such Friendship in all of the three places we have called "home" in our time together."

    Hope that you too find a new home closer to your family as we have done... and that your move brings you the same measure of peace and Joy that ours has for us.

    You can be sure that I will indeed continue to post... and paint. These activities allow me the wonderfully enriching opportunity to reach out... to share and to meet good souls like your self Wendy.

    Look forward to our next connection.

    Rich blessings of Health and Happiness!

    Bruce and Deb

  7. Wishing you a wonderful move and new paintings to come from your new surroundings :) Wherever you go, I hope good health comes to you and Deb soon!

  8. Thanks Rhonda... for the encouraging words! We are enjoying the new condo location... but not the "living tinier" feel that comes attached to the two bedroom space. Time will no doubt diminish that new feeling.

    Hope to get back to the painting soon... missing that a lot!

    Thanks for your visit!

    Warmest regards,

  9. Hello Bruce, what an adventure you and Deb are having! I can remember your move to Rockport is it really ten years ago! I remember those freezing cold winters on the lake and you getting ready for the tourist season. How time flies! I did try to google historic Kingston Ontario but didn't find much to see of your area, some old grand houses and some very modern buildings of the big city behind. But I do remember the paintings you painted of the area you are in now. There must be some changes from the time when your children were at school. Hope you and Deb feel better soon, I hear yoga is good for the lower back and my mother used to sleep on the floor when she had sciatica attacks. I am amazed to hear about the wonderful Captain and his gang that actually helped you move house! good to hear there are still such wonderful people in the world you put others before their own selfish needs. I am looking forward to hearing all your news soon, and dare I say it, your first painting!!! Best wishes Caroline in Scotland!

  10. Good afternoon Caroline! Thank you for your upbeat response to this post! Yes... Time does move along quickly at this moment in our lives. Years become a blur as do events that we (mistakenly) believed were unending. Fact is... the very River that flowed without end,surely... but quietly by our door for all of those ten years that we were privileged to experience provides an ample metaphor to support of this truth.

    We shall be fully in Kingston by tomorrow's end with the help of two good neighbours and friends, Mike and Julie DeWolfe. They have agreed to transport the last load of my paintings and supplies to their new home... in storage... for now,... I hope.

    Deb and I are both still battling the sciatica... which has taken most of the "joie de vivre" out of life since it arrived in late fall. Hoping for some medical "magic"... or intervention to help us cast it off. Fingers crossed for us Lass!!!

    Kingston is a wonderfully beautiful and significant city... architecturally and historically. I have spent many wonderful hours travelling its streets painting its beauty. I hope to jump back into that milieu... "aussitot que possible"!

    Thanks again for your continued presence, interest and support. Good luck with your own wonderful artistic journey. I'll be watching...

    Stay tuned...
    Warmest regards and blessings!

  11. It saddens me to read that you and Deb are still suffering from the sciatica. Have the doctors located the problem yet (as there seems to be several issues that could cause it). It also saddens me to read that this could last a long time (months?) :( So...reading a bit and found this information on exercises to try to stretch out those nagging places (but do ask your doctor first so it's not aggravating an existing problem)...anyway, wishing you the best and SOON!!
    Lady and Lord Bug are winging their way to your new home as of Friday :)

  12. Hi again Rhonda!... You are too kind Rhonda! We keep searching for solutions for this affliction... and must add that we have had some relief during the past week. I believe that the stress of moving... and dealing with the pain itself might actually be the most significant contributing factors.

    Actually having to move heavier objects about simply added to strain that likely inhibited or prevented the healing process. Fingers crossed... and easy as she goes for now!

    Look forward to discovering what your "Lord and Lady Bug" might be. Again... thank your for caring! That means alot to us both!

    Happy Spring... Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce and Deb

  13. Hope your back is getting better Bruce. Just popped over to wish you a Happy Easter Weekend. Best wishes Caroline

  14. Thanks Caroline... For your Easter visit and best wishes! Our backs continue to show improvement each day... especially since the lugging and lifting is over. A time to heal now.

    Am looking forward to a return to my easel.

    Hope that your shoulder is o the mend s well.

    Hoppy Easter Egg... back to you Lass!

    Warmest regards,

  15. Hi Bruce Rhonda is right though, you need to do some yoga exercises to help the Sciatica. I just found this link for seniors.
    Best wishes Caroline

  16. Thanks Caroline for your interest and helpful suggestions! We'll look into them. Cheers!

    Warmest regards,