Sunday, June 21, 2015

You Did Good, Dad!

I WISH I had known my dad better. I was fourteen when he died and he had been sick for quite some time prior. There is not a single picture of the both of us together that I could find. I look a lot like him though.

My father took a risk. He was brave and hopeful when he traveled from Europe to Canada through turbulent storm-tossed seas with his young wife and three children.

I was the youngest of two siblings born later in Canada after my parents settled in Quebec. In view of the past and continuing political turmoil in the Ukraine, my dad’s goal was to bring his children to a more secure life. Although he succeeded in that, it was not to be the best move for him in the end.

My father had been a professor at a university in Kiev in the Ukraine, a head accountant for the government of the day, a philosopher, a storyteller and a musician who also had a degree in religious studies but who turned down the option to be a minister at a Greek Orthodox Church when he arrived in Canada. Wavering in his religious beliefs, he did not want to be disingenuous I was told. Instead, he started a farm and did manual work eventually succumbing to an illness that was life threatening and common then. Tuberculosis took him down the long road of health problems, surgeries and stays in sanatoriums.

The painting of him is one of several original art pieces he brought from Europe. The work was by his artist friend that I have not been able to trace. My father’s face is inscrutable as I try to read behind the eyes. Although he is as mysterious as Mona Lisa without her smile, the portraiture reveals something about my father the way only a painting can. I sense his earnestness and innocence about what is to come. If I could speak to him this Father's Day, I'd say, “You did good, dad! You gave us opportunities we might not otherwise have had.”

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sometimes You've Just Got To Look Up

IMAGINE HUNDREDS of kites along the beachfront, each with unique hand-drawn pictures, flitting up to the sky like birds.

Busloads of kids were pulling the strings and having a wonderful time during their Crescent Beach field trip.

Dry warm weather and a steady breeze provided the perfect venue for the art show unfettered by ceilings or walls.

The airborne paintings took wing in place of the usual seagulls.

Kites dotted the horizon and flickered like pale distant stars.

They were jittery and as challenging to capture with my camera as the monarch fluttering about the butterfly tree nearby.

Eagles overseeing their realm were no doubt taken aback by so many people and featherless flyers.

It was tricky for some kites to avoid getting snagged in bushes and branches.

Continuing to cast my gaze upward, I spotted silver tinsel stuck in a hole on the siding of a house. Perhaps it was put there by a small bird nesting. Or maybe the owner wanted to attract new tenants to the birdhouse.

Its wind-strewn dance and sky reflections were mesmerizing.

My photos do not do justice to the day. The sun-touched tinsel glittered like a cluster of diamonds and the swarm of kites transformed the sky into a Dali dreamscape.

I would have missed so much had I not looked up.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, June 1, 2015

Whales Stemming The Tide In White Rock

WE SHARE this planet with all sorts of creatures ... some we rarely see other than in zoos. Although there is no greater excitement than to spot whales in the wild in BC, seeing them hover on a wall over passersby is also a treat.

The mural in White Rock titled Gray Whale Family was completed in 1984 by Robert Wyland. It is one of one-hundred whale murals the artist has done throughout the world. It is impossible to know how many more years the painting will escape the jaws of big development.

Wyland also did a mural in Vancouver, BC, called Orcas. Its fairly recent demise to make room for a high-rise is covered in Vancouver Street Blog.

All these works are subject to changing times that some call progress and others call a shame. More importantly, real-life whales are also in jeopardy. With recurring oil spills and global warming impacting ocean homes, environmentalists seem to be in over their heads sometimes when trying to turn the tide against public opinion that refuses to see a problem.

Wyland is trying to bring awareness in his own unique way as an artist. He says at his Foundation site: “We know now that water connects all the countries of the world. Our goal with these projects over the last three decades has been to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public. The health of our ocean and waterways are in jeopardy, not to mention the thousands of marine animals and plants that face extinction if we do nothing.”

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To see more sights from around the globe visit OUR WORLD at the sidebar.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms