Friday, July 20, 2018

Don't Fence Me In...

Each summer, I encourage a wild swat of milkweed to root itself safely down the entire length of our entrance way to the gallery. Each year it increases in its numbers and density and in so doing... it attracts and encourages different types of butterflies to visit during each day in the summer.

The road crews nearly everywhere clear cut all milkweed and other wildflowers from along Ontario roadsides and highways. In so doing, they are unwittingly removing plants that allow bees to pollinate and with milkweed... they remove the sole plant upon which endangered monarch butterflies will lay their eggs for incubation.

According to a Toronto Hospital Fundraising brochure claim..."Each year, monarch butterflies across North America make the expedition from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. This 3,000 kilometre journey signifies the butterflies strength and perseverance and is a beautiful symbol of determination and courage."

It seems easy to explain why each of us in our family relate the Monarch's journey and the characteristics of this remarkable insect when we think of our daughter Allison's journey to battle with breast cancer. Several of her friends joined her mother Joan to release live monarchs to carry out their journey as a tribute to Allie's unkind and untimely leaving to go to a place that we can never hope to visit with her.

In my own case, I seek to create a natural free resting space for those that find their way to me on their long migration. Strangely enough, I have one mischievous fellow who visits every
day, who takes joy out of teasing me... as I try to catch her image with my camera. That game of hide-and-go-seek is not restricted to the patch itself. From time to time, she tries ... it seems to tease me out of the gallery to rejoin the game.

The tease finally captured... momentarily...

                          Another bewitchingly beautiful gossamer playmate... the swallowtail

Aside for the feeling of closeness that I feel to Allison... I am gobsmacked by the fragrant gift of the patch's perfume... gift enough for my efforts. But the total overall joy this wee space affords me is more than enough payment for my attention and effort.

The life cycle of this beautiful creature of Nature chronicles the distinct stages of its life cycle in a very visible fashion. I records the brevity of life itself... but the contribution that each butterfly makes during its limited lifespan. Each life does matter...

I will end this post with words that are not mine... but for certain they speak of the deep feelings of Faith and Hope that these winged creatures inject into my life.

One Day Butterflies

Aren't we all one day butterflies
not aware of time.
Searching for partners or honey
until Death kisses us.
Then in his arms, tenderly rocked
waiting for a new chance to fly away again
and join the dance
of the one day butterfly.

And to these wonderfully expressive words and lines I choose to add a painting which offers a similar message.

                                        "Don't Fence Me In" - oil on panel  24 x 20 inches

                                                                Dare to dream
                                                                              outside of the box
                                                     that causes so many to fall short
                                                                of greater things.
                                                                              Reach out and risk flying
                                                                  To Discover
                                                                               true Joy and Happiness
                                                          Which only the complete
                                                                                       Freedom to fly

                                                                        Soar onward... fearlessly!

                                         Good Summer Painting... and rich Blessings ... to ALL! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Gone fishin' !

Prelude to Summer

I have been struggling lately with my Muse... and for the longest time ... she was winning. I seemed to be operating at a stand still. The usual fare that I dish out seemed irrelevant. Even the landscape that I love no longer spoke to me as it customarily does. I lacked direction and purpose.

I customarily listen to CBC radio when I travel about... I find music soothing and the radio hosts... both male and female interesting and intelligent to share time... and ideas with. Simply put... they encourage thoughtfulness... and common sense thinking - a very rare commodity these days within so much of other media or government sources.

I owe the much-delayed occurrence of today's post to such a morning sharing/collaboration! I simply decided to "go fishin" - just do something [different]... for my"Self". Over a few days of "truancy"... here's what transpired. I snagged a "golden opportunity" to explore new ground.

River Boy and his golden catch!

Yellow Perch anyone???

Surprised????... Certainly not something that you... (or I) might have attributed as my subject matter or focus. It did please me to come away refreshed and once again focused. It too, carried my memories from out of my deep past here on the river... days when I hurried at first light down to dip a worm into the sheltered waters of that weathered white clapboard boathouse.

There in that place, I spent hours peering in great anticipation as schools of yellow perch scurried to snare my bait. It became a daily tactical encounter to entice the bigger perch to bite... before the fry cheated them of a meal... and me of the thrill of the capture. By gone days... and little boy ways!

This activity would repeat itself each and every morning of the two weeks that we rented this cottage at the Narrows Lane Road. It would set me out on a path of adventure of many fishing trips and a lifetime of many hours of endless pleasure... never mind the feeds of freshly fried perch.

If nothing else... this simply-for-fun project pays homage to that now completed chapter of my river life. Hmm... maybe a novel in the wings of my consciousness???

I wonder...

"Summer breeze... makes me feel fine..."

I began this post several days ago with the fullest of intentions and adequate preparation to carry out the task. And then... out of no where a suffocating blanket of summer heat and humidity descended upon all of Eastern Ontario, including the Thousand Islands region where we live.

We are blessed to live in this region of usually predictable weather patterns... especially during the summer. The winter comes with deep cold and snow, but as Canadians... we grow up with... and accept this fact. It is even a part of our unique cultural heritage. Activity and holiday celebrations during this season are built around the cold.

Here... at this juncture in my fish tale lies the necessity to further explain my delay in posting. The deep heat and humidity truly cripples my creative spirit and activity levels. It simply makes me feel ill. Earlier in life I regularly painted out in such conditions happily and productively... and often not even in shaded conditions. I am paying for that earlier indiscretion... BIG time now.... "Silly 'ol bear,"

Just prior to this deep heat wave.... my thoughts swept through events drawn from my early youth and the many idyllic hours of summer fun and life on the River. My most memorable experiences are usually tied into multi-sensory influences/perceptions blended with activities which relate exclusively to summer.

The smell of rain striking the sizzling hot pavement  is one such strong and reoccurring memory. Another is the feel of a soft summer zephyr ever so gently kissing my cheek. Neither sensation is linked to any other season. Both of these powerful memory inducers denote S-u-m-m-e-r...

These powerfully summer reminders link up with music and seem to possess the ability to turn the pages of one's life journal to exact "pages"... including places... dates... activities and specific people. This occurrence also displays the ability to link those sharing the same experience... creating an unbreakable bond between them. These songs become unquenchable and intoxicating anthems that we all share.

"Pass the bottle... Amigo!"

Where were you during the summer of 1972... when Seals and Crofts recorded their iconic summer anthem "Summer Breeze"? This summer anthem like so many pieces of music that get deposited into our memory banks along our separate journeys seem almost to link us together magically for the remainder of our lives.

Timeless they seem ... perhaps nudged forward into the present by a smell... a sound... or a sight that keeps repeating as a each new summer emerges.

It was only this past week while I was making my way to Lansdowne to do grocery chores that my constant radio CBC companion conveniently belted out "Summer Breeze". I was immediately transported back to 1972.

"It was a very good year"- a memorable summer for me.

Have you had the experience of having a song enter into your psyche... and having difficulty getting it to leave? It plays... over and over, despite many and conscious attempts to set it aside. It simply won't leave. Until it's suddenly vanishes without warning... as mysteriously as it appeared. 

Before the heat wave swept in so viciously in the week earlier, those sweet summer caresses followed a similarly rapid fire pattern. Summer breezes seemed to follow me everywhere I went. 

I apologize for the delay in posting... but life does get in the way at times. So I offer the "fishy excuse... and a YouTube sharing. Along with these, I include a very BIG and combined greeting to both sides of the River:

      HAPPY FOURTH... 
                    and CANADA DAY ...                             
              HAPPY SUMMER...

                              TO ALL!!