Saturday, February 18, 2017

My Friend Lillian - "How Deep in the Valley"




Last night I lost my beautiful, creative friend, Lillian. She was 89, soon to be 90 in March. She was very much a big youthful personality.

I don't remember the first time I met Lil, seems like a long time ago, reflecting back, but it wasn't really. She certainly left a lasting impression on me. She was always smiling, dressed with flare and was friendly with everyone, young and old and she loved to socialize, and sometimes even flirt. I think that's the way she impressed everyone who met her for the first time.

 If memory serves me right, I think Lillian and I met at a fund raiser at the local school. We were both providing Tarot readings for the participants.

Several months later she'd asked me if I'd come to work for her one day a week. I was happy to accept her offer. Prior to this I knew of Lillian, but I didn't really know who she was, until I went to work for her. We  fast became good companions and I did a variety of chores for her. Mostly we'd shared many things in common, that we both took interest in, like country living, gardening, cooking, reading, CBC Radio, singing and playing music and Tarot.

There are many memories I have of my time with Lillian. One afternoon we spent the day listening to her fabulous and treasured old vinyl record collection, on her big cabinet Hi-Fi. Just to name a few there was Hank Snow, Wilf Carter, Charlie Pride, Dave Dudley and all the old classic country music she'd been collecting for years and years. It was something, and it felt very special to be sharing this time with her.

Lillian always had one Tarot card on her fridge, The Sun. She told me this was her card, which really did embody Lillian's positive personality, a musician, optimistic, with purpose, foresight, and faith in the striving human spirit, always moving forward and transforming toward the goal.

Because we shared our belief and love of Tarot, one day I told her I would do her reading. She was very happy and open to this. We both looked forward to that afternoon. Of all the readings I've done and it's been many, I'd never seen such a positive reading.

Some might say, what kind of reading could someone her age have and how could it possibly be positive? All I can say is you'd be surprized! When I think about it now, how could it be any thing but positive?

 Lillian was full of a life force and lived a full life. She'd overcome so much, walked the hills and valleys and still had a deep faith in the God of her understanding. She knew where she'd been, where she was in the present moment, and where she was headed. Lillian without a doubt, found her wings and was glory bound, because she knew 'the way on is the the way out.' Lillian was very much the transformed  Mariposa/Butterfly Woman.

 We had lots of great heart to heart discussions, about everything from politics, the state of the world, God, our spiritual beliefs, philosophy, art, story telling, jokes, family, relationships and mostly about life. We enjoyed each other's company, understood one another and shared lots of laughter.

Lil was full of life, with a positive attitude and an independent outlook, which was very important to her. She loved having company, but she also loved her own company, very comfortable in her own skin, in her big old charming country home.

No she wasn't perfect, she had her foibles like we all do, but she liked to shoot straight from the hip, telling it the way she saw it. If I disagreed with her, she might not have liked that, but regardless, she respected me for it.

I'll certainly miss Lillian's spirit and our community is now diminished, no longer having her living presence among us. But she'll always be a big part of our hearts in our little rural tight knit community. She'll not ever be forgotten. I know my life and spirit has been greatly enriched for having known her. I'm very grateful for her friendship and the lessons she taught me. I will miss her very much.

This song is for Lillian.

Rest In Peace Diamond Lil'





How Deep in the Valley - Sarah Harmer


How deep in the valley must you go
To find what your footsteps already know
The way on is the way out
There are signs to follow
There is deep in the valley
And I'm bound to go
How deep in the valley must you stay
To know why your footsteps led you that way
The way on may be truly to stand in one place
And let the deep of the valley
Fill you will grace
And treat yourself lightly
Treat yourself kind
You've got nothing to worry on
You will be fine
You will leave this place laughing
And somebody will cry
There is deep in the valley
Wonder not why
Wonder not why go
Wonder not to stay
If it takes me and I follow
Or if I lead the way
It can come when it wants to
But it might have to wait
There is deep in the valley
I don't hesitate
I don't take it too lightly
But it don't weigh down too low
There is high on the cliff top
And there are deep creeks below
There's a green shade you can't miss
Where the spring water flows
There is deep in the valley
And I'm bound to go
How deep in the valley must you go
To find what your footsteps already know
The way on is the way out
There are signs to follow
There is deep in the valley
And I'm bound to go

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Moses (Amik) Beaver and Stuart McLean



Warrior - Moses Beaver - 2004



 Today's a very sad day hearing about the deaths of such gifted, talented artists and story tellers, Moses Beaver and Stuart McLean. I couldn't possibly mention one without the other.

 Like Moses Beaver's beautiful painting "Warrior",  I believe both of these individuals were warriors in the real sense. They fought the good fight, and it's all that can be expected of those who love life and who give back to others through our art.

The death of Moses Beaver I believe was preventable, but the lack of mental health services afforded to Indigenous people once again, has resulted in tragedy.

Moses Amik Beaver, shown in 2010 with students at Holy Family Catholic School in New Hamburg, Ont., died Monday in the Thunder Bay jail. He was 59.  (Peter Lee / Waterloo Region Recors


I'd never heard of Moses Beaver until today, when his death was announced on the news. Adding to this the death of his beautiful sister Mary, as a result of a car accident, when she was on her way with the family to retrieve her brother's body. My prayers go out to their family, and I carry them in my heart.


Stuart McLean, who for so many years on the Vinyl Cafe, I'd been listening to for more than twenty years I think, enjoying his many moments filled with humour, humility and love of humanity. I've heard every episode, numerous repeats and then some. He was a big part of my Sundays.

 I remember listening to a Morning Side program, before the Vinyl Cafe, when Stuart worked with Peter Gzowski, another of my very favourite radio personalities. This very funny episode was in 1986, when they both went into a complete laughing jag over Stuart's  Sleeping Cricket.

Stuart McLean - 1948-2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Jim Gaffigan on Valentine's Day






I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day. The commercialism of every holiday is a big turn-off, and I simply try hard to ignore all that and enjoy what I can about every holiday.

The only time I can remember even vaguely liking Valentine's Day was, you know when at school everyone in your class gets those cheap old Valentine cards, your mother would buy for you at Woolworth store, that we all exchanged.

No one was left out, and there wasn't any thoughts of who you were going to let know that you "loved" them. It was just kind of fun, even though we really didn't have a clue why we were giving each other cards, and we sure as heck knew nothing about who Saint Valentine was.

Today in 2017 most of us still don't know much, if anything about Saint Valentine, and if we do, it really doesn't matter because, we're more interested and all caught up in getting flowers, chocolates, a dinner out and maybe disingenuously giving some kind of schmaltzy card we've picked up at the last minute from the corner store, all just to let one another know we "love" them.

One of my favourite comedians Jim Gaffigan expresses his feelings about Valentine's Day very well and pretty much sums up my thoughts about Valentine's Day.

The cards that Jim and his wife Jeannie write to one another are my idea of the perfect love notes.




Sunday, February 12, 2017

Feargus Callagy - Free Diver - Fire and Water



Feargus Callagy

Sleepless nights sometimes lend themselves to late night radio. Feargus Callagy is what's called a free diver (no tanks) and was featured on RTÉ Radio 1: Documentary on One - Fire and Water last night.

WOW! What an amazing story he had. Feargus Callagy is a real testament to what human beings are capable of without ever understanding or believing this to be reality, only until we really begin to understand ourselves and how we are all directly connected to nature.

This story immediately brought back a number of years ago when I learned how to SCUBA dive. It was a hard won battle with myself, because initially it certainly wasn't something I wanted to do. Proir to having this chance to get free training, I was fearful. But once I made up my mind to take advantage of the opportunity to learn and get certified, I immersed myself into the learning process completely and I had a new determination.

A whole new world was opened up to me and I was given an acute and in depth insight into myself and how I approached challenge, overcame my fears, and like Feargus Callagy says, diving helped help me to surpass what I thought I was capable of doing.

 SCUBA was so full of rewards and important lessons that I can apply to just about every life situation and circumstance. Diving to me, can help you to get in touch with a spirituality. It's one of those self-actualizing experiences that changes your life.

I've never been a free diver, but I'd certainly love the opportunity to one day learn. I'm convinced the rewards of being a free diver even greater than with tanks on you back as a SCUBA diver.

You can see listen here to the RTÉ Radio 1: Documentary on One - Fire and Water.







To be Free
as wild animals are.
To dive naked
as a dolphin.
Swift, silent, serene
into the depths of the sea.
To fly high up into the
infinite blue of the sky,
and glide quietly
over man’s shabby world
to blend in with the air
or melt into the water
becoming one with nature
and rediscovering the “Self”..
This is my motto!
-Jaques Mayol.

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Carry It On"

Sacred Tree - Catherine Meyers
I know I can't sit around waiting to get 'inspired' or motivated. I've learned that it's in the doing what creates motivation and perhaps even inspiration. I believe we don't have far to look for inspiration. Life itself is inspiring and sacred. Knowing this is what helps us to get through the storms of life.

The Snow Moon or what is called Hunger Moon brings with it snow storms, and it's hard for the wild creatures and even human beings to forage for food. This year with this full moon and the Lunar Eclipse, certainly has brought that and it can be easy to feel down in the dumps, having a good dose of the Winter blues, along with shack wackiness.

We might find ourselves hungry for Spring,d the warmth of the sun with longer days ahead. So today I wanted to post this inspiring and uplifting song by Buffy Saint Marie that is a good reminder to carry on.






Carry It On
© Words & Music Buffy Sainte-Marie.
Hold your head up
Lift the top of your mind
Put your eyes on the Earth
Lift your heart to your own home planet
What do you see?
What is your attitude
Are you here to improve or damn it
Look right now and you will see
we’re only here by the skin of our teeth as it is
so take heart and take care of your link with Life and
Oh carry it on – We’re saying
Oh carry it on – Keep playing
Oh carry it on – And praying
It ain’t money that makes the world go round
That’s only temporary confusion
It ain’t governments that make the people strong
It’s the opposite illusion
Look right now and you will see
they’re only here by the skin of our teeth as it is
so take heart and take care of your link with Life
Oh carry it on – Keep saying
Oh carry it on – And playing
Oh carry it on – And praying
Look right now and you will see
we’re only here by the skin of our teeth as it is
so take heart and take care of your link with
Life is beautiful
if you got the sense to take care of your source of perfection
Mother Nature She’s the daughter of God and the source of all protection
Look right now
and you will see she’s only here by the skin of her teeth as it is
so take heart and take care of your link with Life
Oh carry it on – Keep saying
Oh carry it on – And playing
Oh carry it on – Keep on praying


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Transcending The Ordinary

Organic Shallots, Jalapeño Peppers, Lunch Box Peppers, Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries
               


Organic Garlic, Leeks and Roma Tomatoes
                                          

 We are anticipating a big ole Nor'easter tonight, 25-40 cm of snow is forecast. This kind of weather is a pretty ordinary thing for Nova Scotia. It doesn't bother me that soon it will be snowing and blowing, because I'm busy growing. I've been planting seeds for Spring gardening. This means having the ability or vision to transcend the ordinary and that's creativity to me.

 This year I've made the transition to all organic gardening.

Excited to be having creative thoughts about organic gardening in the early days of February sure brightens my day and greatly enriches my life. I'll call it my Hygge health.

Now I'm just looking to get a high blueberry bush, a hanging strawberry plant, some broccoli, potatoes and then I think I should be good to go for digging in the dirt this Spring. Before I know it, the Easter season will soon be here, my favourite time of year!


Quite some time ago my interest in gardening lead me to learning about Permaculture. It's a creative design system  based on  principles and a philosophy that incorporates these three things. Caring for people, caring for the earth and everyone having a fair share, living within limits and distributing the surplus.

 "Vision is not seeing things as they are, but as they will be." 
                                                                            - Unknown Author 


 Well the Nor'easter has arrived but I'm transcending that ordinary into a beautiful daffodil!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Thaddeus Holownia



http://holownia.com - Photo credit: Denis Duquette
Below is a post I saw yesterday written by Michael de Adder, a fellow Mount Allison Alumni, who also like me and many more are very happy to be celebrating the exhibit and work of Thaddeus Holownia, called The Nature of Nature at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
 
"In my life there were a few artists I looked up to as mark makers or painters. But only one artist almost tempted me to consider another art form. That was my former professor of photography Thaddeus Holownia. In the newspaper business I've been lucky to have met the best photographers in the world, many of whom inspired me to draw an image. But only Thaddeus inspired me to want to take a photograph.
Now at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia: Thaddeus Holownia: The Nature of Nature (Halifax)�
February 4, 2017 to May 28, 2017
�Curators: David Diviney and Sarah Fillmore�
This career overview offers insight into Holownia’s photography from the late-1970s to the present day, providing the most comprehensive critical analysis of this Maritime artist’s practice to date."

Michael de Adder's brief item is very poignant to me in it's meaning.
 Thaddeus Holownia was also my former professor and photography teacher, mentor and I'm proud to call him friend. I doubt I'd been able to graduate without his generous, encouraging and ongoing support when things got really difficult for me as a mature student, who'd been out of University for 30 years.

What Michael de Adder has stated about how Thaddeus inspired him, is no doubt a deeply shared sentiment by numerous students that have ever been fortunate enough to study under him. His intimate knowledge of and passion for photography are second to none.

Thaddeus is what I would call one of those rare Heuristic teachers, and I've been very blessed to have been one of his many students.