Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Martyr's Moon... along the Wye

"A Martyr's Moon... along the Wye " - oil on canvas 30 x 36 inches

A Different kind of "moonscape"

You might ask the question... "Why such a seemingly cold and joy-less subject for sharing on Christmas Eve? Why stand out in the deep cold and dark for three hours to capture this bleak moonscape... using my car's headlights to complete this large canvas. Cheerier and more seasonally appropriate subjects most certainly abounded nearby.

This is one of those subjects that I settle down to from time to time that satisfy my own need to search  for answers which provide clarity to my own interests and goals. Again, the visual imagery combines with an inner voice which represents itself externally in the form of prose. Together, they flesh out a complete personal response.

The Martyr's Shrine, located near Midland, Ontario is now a well established pilgrimage site which operates in all seasons which serves all faiths... not just Catholicism. There is a historical reenactment aspect carried out on site which features an authentic stockade from the period, complete with historical figures and activities which replicate life as it was in "Huronia" in the 1600's. High school students are hired each summer to fill the ranks of the re-enactors. This provides both a vital and living link to area history.

Visiting The Midland Shrine is a virtual teaching and learning experience that marries the French Jesuit presence and function in that world with that of the indigenous Huron nation who peopled that area. One is immediately brought face-to-face with the hardships suffered by both inhabitants and the struggles that they met on a daily basis just to survive.

The existence of today's activities... and the actualization of a stone and mortar edifice or shrine stands as a silent witness to the suffering and brutal slaying of two Jesuit priests, Father Jean de Brebeuf and Father Gabriel Lalement who were tortured and butchered at the hands of an invading Iroquoian war party. This fierce nation from Northern New York constantly warred against the French and their Wendat, or Huron allies.

Butchery inflicted upon simple peoples, political power and control continues to still exist in our divided world. Thankfully... "goodness for the sake of  goodness" coexists and flourishes as well. What remains comforting is that we each have choice to decide which view we will serve.

In closing out this Christmas Eve post I seek to encourage optimism and Faith... in Life and in Death. My own path is set.. and I follow the path with courage... Hope... choosing Believing ... as did our Allison in her own journey beyond darkness and despair.

I love "You" forever Jemima!

A Martyr's Moon Along the Wye River

Death  comes to us all
Some time.
How one faces it...
And goes forward towards the darkness
Which is, ironically... towards the Light
Defeats the powers of darkness.

Not raging... nor afraid
But in Faith and Hope
Holding onto one's flickering candle bravely
Unafraid... even to the end.
Holding firmly... resolutely to that ever faint bit of hope.
As did these brave and saintly souls

In one dark hour
Now three hundred years ago.
Their purpose and their mission
Were not  silenced
By their hideous passage.
Faith overrides death... and all suffering

Forward to Resurrection,
To enter Eternity...

 Wednesday, November 20th, 2001

Post Script

Christmas surely begs for the sounds of music. Huronia was the birthplace of a truly beloved early piece of Canadian Christmas music. The Huron Carol lyrics were composed in those now distant savagery of three hundred years ago by its  martyred creator, Father Jean de Brebeuf.

I cannot end this Christ Eve blog.... leaving my readers in a darkened place or mood. Wherever darkness is... Light exists also. That is true... especially at Sainte -Marie -among-the- Hurons. It is at this time that the site rededicates itself  annually to the true light of Christian beliefs with the Festival of First Light celebrations. Enjoy this short video visit to Sainte Marie.

Joyeux Noel...  tout le monde!


  1. Hello Bruce after listening to the Carols I saw the actress Diana Rigg who I then discovered was starring in a film called 'In this House of Brede' amazing film watched the beginning and thought it very good! I do think your painting is very beautiful, not all paintings need to be bright and cheerful, it is important they are also seasonal and that moonlight can provide a lovely lighting for a painting. Wishing you a very peaceful Christmas with your family. Best wishes Caroline

  2. Hi Caroline,

    Merry Christmas... "from away"! Thank you for your encouraging words about beauty not always needing to be bright and cheerful. I agree totally. Every part of nature contains its very unique sense of beauty.

    It's like painting in a snow storm... or in rain doesn't have beauty. You have to experience it with your full senses to discover tat beauty.

    I hope that my paintings encourage and lead others to venture out for themselves.... and then to keep on reaching and discovering.

    Rich blessings... Peace and Joy to you in 2020 Las!

    Warmest regards,

  3. I read your post and feel a deep sense of loss and longing, Bruce, and as we enter this New Year, my send best wishes to you for peace and the optimism and Faith that you encourage. I appreciate your sense of history and how the lessons of the past must be remembered as we travel through time and how that awareness is vitally important in our individual searches for meaning and fulfillment in life. Having just returned from a trip to Washington DC where I visited Arlington National Cemetery and viewed the Declaration of Independence, I am overwhelmed with a sense of history wrapped in the tapestry of my own life. Your blog post was somber but uplifting. There is so much to look forward to, so much to accomplish. I wish you a happy, peaceful and joyful New Year.

  4. I find your comments very intuitive and encouraging Susan. The post does express those very emotions... both the sad and the uplifting ones... blended to share my truthful feelings and my struggles.

    One cannot help but feel somber and somewhat saddened by the state of world affairs and the decline of our environment. I believe that artists represent a part of society which is most in touch with the natural world and its conditions. I guess that you might think of our observations expressed in our collective works as being a warning from "the canary in the mine."

    Like you I embrace the responsibility to continue to produce and share my work to educate my followers. Art Matters!... Yours and mine... and the family of artists who share our mission to reach out!

    Thank you for dropping by and for adding your very astute thoughts. Happy New Year.... much peace and Joy. Rich blessings to you and your husband.

    Warmest regards,