Thursday, April 30, 2009

Earth, Moon and Sun

Last Saturday was very busy for me. My last blog entry told of my adventures with colourful chalk art designs with children. That short event ended at 11:00am. Just after that time, I went home for a very quick lunch, picked up both Taylor and Chris and then we made our way to the Lion’s Artisans Community Centre for the afternoon. I was told to expect up to six students for this class, but only one other showed up. That was just fine, as we all had a great time!!!

I began the class with my usual chat about the importance of environmental conservation and the importance of art in our world. Then I got out my guitar and we all worked together to create a simple song about peace.

Before the painting begins, we all talk about what it is we are going to paint, what colours we’re going to use and how we’re going to create texture using different brush stroke techniques. Then the painting begins….

I usually take about fifteen photos during the class, so I can select the really nice ones to email to all the students – as I’m sure that their parents will really enjoy them. These are my favourite photos from this class…

As you can see, I like to take fun photos as well. I took this photo of Chris, through Taylor’s arm. I had to hold her hair out of the way and everyone was laughing while I was getting into position to take this photo.

Chris and I usually work on one canvas together. He does most of the work, so I let him keep the finished artwork. I use the canvas to demonstrate painting techniques. It’s so much easier to know what I’m trying to teach when the students can actually see me applying the paint with the desired brushstroke. Every once in a while, Chris is busy cleaning some brushes so I get a chance to spend a few moments continuing to paint this canvas. I find that the students always enjoy when I am a part of their group – instead of someone who just tells them what to do.

This class went by very quickly, for all of us, and soon it was time to get another artist, that was in the centre, to come and take our group photo.

Since Taylor lives right across the street from me, and since she was so proud of her painting that she showed many people, I have had many neighbours, over the last few days, tell me how impressed they are with her painting. I’m always hoping that little by little, more people will find out about these art classes so that my next efforts will attract more young faces.

So….. to further my advertising of these classes I will post the flyer again:

As you can imagine, I will be waiting with much patience until the next class. I have so much fun and the students always leave feeling so proud of their accomplishments.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Earthweek – Chalk Art Event

About a month ago – since I started my new job as a schoolbus driver – I started spending some of my afternoon ‘free’ time at the Masonville Library, which is located at the north end of the city. I noticed that there is a large concreted area at the front of the library and I thought that it would look nice if it was filled with children’s art! Earthday was soon approaching and I thought that this would be a fun way to celebrate. I talked with the supervisor of the library and soon enuf, the event was scheduled.

Just two days ago – Saturday – early afternoon – we began…

As you can see, we had a nice sized canvas to work with.

To attract any passers-by to our art event, I suggested that we (my two volunteers and I) begin with a few drawings of our own. I suggested that we should have a big title at the top of our ‘canvas’ so we creatively wrote “HAPPY EARTHDAY 2009”. It’s a little hard to see, but the 00 in 2009 was drawn in the shape of two flowers! I thought that this was a great idea.

A few minutes later, a young girl decided to help us create some colourful art. She had been inside the library, watching us, and she could see that we were having fun, so she wanted to join us.

Soon, a mother and her two young children came to create their own Earthday chalk art drawings.

The last twenty minutes of our time was filled with quite a few children with their parents. Everyone was having a great time! I tried to take a picture of two of the young boys, but they were moving so fast that I wasn’t able to get a clear photo. One of the little boys was running with his little footsteps across the canvas and every three or four feet he’d bend down and draw a single line on the ground and then he’d continue to another spot. Just a step or two behind him, was his younger brother, who was chasing after him – and laughing hysterically (this was indeed a fun game!!! LOL) - and stopping at the same place to put his chalk mark down beside his brothers. These two carried on for a little while and I must have looked quite ridiculous chasing the two of them around with my camera… but alas, no photo turned out.

I spent a bit of my time working on a few of my own art designs and a bit of time encouraging the children with their art designs, offering to get them different colours of chalk and telling them how wonderful their artwork was. The children really enjoyed it when I got my guitar out to play a few fun songs for them.

Here are a few of the designs that were created during this one-hour event…

It’s funny when people say that they have no time to contribute to healing the planet, or that they don’t have enough money to do anything to make this world a better place – actually, maybe it’s not so funny. I hope that this story inspires others to realize that it takes very little to create an experience that can be shared by many in the pursuit of smiles and creativity. A simple conversation got the ball rolling – that took about ten minutes. A few emails were sent during the organizing stage – fifteen minutes. The event was an hour long and I had two volunteers helping me – we all were able to set aside this small one hour of our lives. The library paid for our chalk – which came to less than ten dollars. I volunteered my ideas and services to put this event together – no cost to the library so they were able to donate the sidewalk space and volunteers. That was all it took for us to create this event that over twenty people became involved in and that a few hundred people would enjoy until the rains came to wash it all away…

Be inspired! Be active! It’ll make a world of difference.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earthday – or should I say Earthweek???

The first time that I had ever heard about Earthday was in 1991. I was living in Toronto and I was riding my bike up Yonge Street to go to work. It was late in the afternoon so all the Earthday celebrators had finished their day, but their work remained for many days to come. From the waterfront of the city all the way to the most northerly subway station – a distance of several miles – all of Yonge Street’s sidewalks were colourful decorated with thousands of chalk art designs. The next day there was a small story in the newspaper at the back of the ‘Community’ section.

Now, eighteen years later, this one-day event has grown into a weeklong event filled with many different community activities. You would have to be blind and deaf not to hear all the talk on the radios and television news programs and see all the posters in shop windows and street poles advertising all of these events. It has been truly inspiring to witness the birth of this global environmental consciousness that is waking in all of our hearts!!!

A friend of mine emailed a list of community events that took place just last weekend. Joanne and I decided to help out with a tree-planting event, so we put on our gardening clothes before we went.

Many families were bustling about, visiting all the environmental displays that had been put up. There was one area that had a few clowns, making dogs out of balloons, magicians and face painters. All the young girls were decorated with colourful displays of flowers on their cheeks.

It was an absolute pleasure to watch all the young children enjoying themselves in the sunshine with a shovel in one hand and a sapling tree in the other.

The organizers of the tree planting were handing out a few different species of trees. Each species is indigenous to this part of the country – meaning that these species had been here since the last ice age and had not been brought to this continent by the first early settlers. Joanne and I planted a few Cottonwood trees.

Because the saplings were very small – I felt like I was planting a twig into the ground – we had to surround them with wood chips so people would be able to see where the trees were.

As you can see, there were lots of people helping out throughout the afternoon. The plan was to expand the future forest by about fifty feet, along the banks of the Thames River. I would estimate that a length of ½ km was reforested with this effort. I didn’t realize it until I looked at this picture more closely, that it looks just like a road construction crew – LOL – with one person working and everyone else watching!

Eventually, someone notices that the little girl needs some help and offers some assistance.

I think that it is very important for all of us to realize that we all need to be a part of the coming change, to be leaders and helpers for the next generation.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blinded By The Light

I was blinded by the light
The white reflection from my skin
Was such a frightful sight!

Ha! Ha! Joanne and I were both commenting on the paleness of our Canadian skin, Saturday, when we put on our shorts and T-shirts for the first time this year. It was a beautiful and sunny day and I spent about five hours digging and planting in my garden.

It’s incredible how strong and destructive a simple thing like a flower can be. Over the last fifteen years – I would estimate – Day Lilies have slowly expanded beyond the neighbour’s garden, where they were planted, to overtake the edge of our asphalt driveway. About four inches of asphalt has been turned into small bits of rubble during this time. I decided to dig up all of these flowers to give them a more appropriate living space in another part of my garden. In a few weeks I’ll be preparing to fix the edge of our driveway.

I’ve learned that these types of flowers really enjoy living closely with other flowers of the same species. They are very community oriented Day Lilies! When I transplant them I try to keep them in small groups of five or six. Next year each small group will double in size and in four more years this whole patch will have filled in quite nicely. It’s a shame that I’ll never see the benefits of my work… Joanne and I will soon be buying a house – keep fingers crossed – and I’ll have to start building another new garden.

Whenever and wherever I happen to be doing my gardening, I’m always thinking of the future. I try to create a garden that will become self-sufficient with spring flowers that grow between the summer hostas that are surrounded by flowers that bloom in the fall. Eventually these gardens will need very little work – just a bit of maintenance that doesn’t take a great effort. This philosophy that I live by is one that I want the whole world to evolve into. “Work hard in the present, with an eye towards the future.” If our city planners and council members thought like this then we might just see our cities expanding into healthy and sustainable communities, instead of the subdivisions and malls that are sprawling across our countryside – a problem that the future will have to deal with. Wouldn’t it be better to build our communities so that the future simply has to maintain them instead of having to ‘deal’ with them.

While I was keeping busy getting covered in dirt, Joanne spent time doing the laundry and later she bbq’d a most delicious dinner. There’s nothing more flavourful than bbq’d veggies sprinkled lightly in oil with a bit of spice. With the weather finally being warm and pleasant we got our clothes drying racks out of winter storage.

As you can see, they are very simple in design, allowing many places to hang our clothes. Usually our underwear and socks get hung on the inner rows – so they are not in full view, with jeans and such being hung on either end, leaving the top-middle section for T-shirts. Both of our racks were given to us and each time we use them – which is from now ‘til some time in October - we save close to four dollars in quarters. By the end of the year we will have saved close to one hundred dollars and saved lots of electricity that we didn’t use. If other people acted in similar ways then I’m sure that the amount of electricity that could be saved would be quite substantial. Instead, I’ll often see people in their automobiles, idling at intersections with their air conditioning on full blast while they roll down their windows to complain about the heat to their friends. Seems a little crazy to me!

This is one of the areas of the garden that I worked in last week. Already, the Daffodils have started to bloom. It may not look like much, right now, but it will soon be very full of green things and colourful flowers. I mixed the Daffodils with some Tulips and even tho’ only a few flowers will bloom this year, next year each small grouping will see four or five flowers growing. Just behind these flowers, I’ve planted a few small patches of hostas. Each hosta will grow to cover about four square feet of garden – they really fill out the space - and they have very lovely flowers that grow above the broad leaves. Along the back of the fence I’ve transplanted many groups of Day Lilies. They will bloom in the middle of summer with bright orange flowers that grow to about four feet from the ground.

If you look closely at the Nature that surrounds us, you will often times see symbols that can be adapted into our everyday lives. This Daffodil, for example, got slightly damaged while I was splitting apart the bulbs. The stem of the flower broke and yet the flower bud still continued to grow to the best of its ability. We can use this symbol to empower us to realize that sometimes life’s shortcomings are not meant to halt our growth but rather make us try even harder to be as successful as we can be.

This is another example that I noticed just the other day. This small flower ended up growing through a tiny hole in a leaf that fell on the garden, last fall. The flower does not have enough strength to break ‘the chains that hold us back’ but this does not stop the flower from continuing to grow – to be a unique individual. Maybe it won’t ever break from these bonds so the flower has learned to grow with these bonds.

These examples are what many ancient Native legends talk about when they refer to ‘the truth that is found in the soft breeze, and in every leaf.’ When we find the truth in Nature we become closer to who we are meant to be and not the person that our commercial society tells us we should be.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rankin Inlet – Radio Show

My last blog entry shared the list of tunes and the script that I prepared for my two-hour radio show, while I was in Canada’s Arctic in 2006. This is the story of how that day went…

Just after lunch, I walked to the local arena where the radio station was. I had a small bag filled with all the music CDs that I would need. I was a little nervous, but soon after I started into the show I was able to relax a bit more and soon I was pushing levers up and down and cueing up the songs that I wanted to play.

As soon as I started speaking into the microphone the Jim that most people know vanished to be replaced by Radio Jim. It was like I became a character in a play, a performer – and I did this on purpose. I deepened my voice a bit and really started to ‘ham’ it up a bit with a few hoots and hollers into the mic and quite a few ‘Oh – Yeah!’s. The three other radio dj’s – Vital, Mary and Shirley – where all smiling and looking at each other with laughing eyes cuz they thought it was funny to watch me talk and yell into the mic.

About one minute into my show the telephone lines all lit up and they stayed lit up until well after my show was over. Most of the callers wanted to know what happened to the radio station. They were used to certain dj’s and they were used to the way they spoke; which is very monotone and very hushed -–like a droning whisper. Many listeners thought that the frequency had been taken over by a radio station from ‘down south’. Down south is what the city of Winnipeg is referred to – I thought this was hilarious. Coming from London, Ontario I had always considered Winnipeg to be a northern Canadian city and down south, to me, was a place like Texas or Florida. I would guess that people from Rankin Inlet would refer to Florida as ‘way down south’ – LOL!!!

The other dj’s told me that I had really confused most of the listeners and I’m sure that many funny stories were told – on the air – over the next several weeks, after I had left.

The day before my radio show, I had spent a while listening to their normal broadcast, to listen to how the regular dj’s organized their shows. I soon realized that very little planning went into the ‘flow’ of the songs when I heard a Madonna tune followed by Johnny Cash. I also noticed that I never heard a song in its entirety. The dj’s were constantly lowering the volume of the song so that they could make community announcements. They spoke in the Inukitut language, so I never knew what they were talking about.

I asked the cook from my hotel to tell me what they were saying. He told me that most of the announcements weren’t terribly important – just messages from mom’s or dad’s to their kids – and things like that. We listened, together, and he translated a few of the short announcements. “Denny – don’t forget that you owe Peter $20. He wants it by the end of the day”, “Maria – go to the Northern store at 8:00 to meet mom”, “Thomas – your mom wants you home right after school”. I was laughing every time one of these ‘community’ announcements came on. The dj’s didn’t wait until the end of the song to make the announcement they simply lowered the volume while the song was still playing, made the announcement and then turned the volume back up. It made me realize how important this radio station is to the community. It is the voice of the community, hosted by locals with continuous input by all other locals. Radios where on in most homes, all the time and everyone knew what everyone else was doing or going to be doing. It reminded me of how my life was, growing up in a very small farming community where everyone knew about everyone else in the area.

As I mentioned earlier, while I was the dj the phone lines were always lit up. About half of the callers were wanting to know what had happened to the radio station cuz it “sounds like down south…” and the other half all had announcements to make. When the first announcement came through one of the dj’s made a move for the volume control and microphone. I quickly stopped her. I told her that I didn’t want my songs to be interrupted and that I would give them time to make their announcements between music sets. Mary wasn’t offended and understood how I wanted my show to proceed so she took notes as the calls came in and after every six songs or so I would say something like, “Now – before we get this next set of tunes spinning out for y’all, we have a few community announcements…”, and then I’d give the microphone to Mary.

I was really grateful for being give this opportunity to speak with the community of Rankin Inlet and for being able to share the music that I enjoy listening to. The other dj’s and I all had a great time and they told me that I had really ‘shakin’ things up’ in the community – in a positive and fun way. When I got back to the hotel, all the cooks and wait staff came out to congratulate me on my show. They told me that they turned the radio “wwaaaayyyyyyy up” just like I had told them to and they all enjoyed the tunes that I had selected to play. For five minutes I felt like a celebrity!!!!

I ordered a plate of spaghetti for dinner and I ate it all – being a celebrity sure works up your appetite – LOL!!!!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kickin’ At The Darkness – Rankin Inlet, Nunavut

Near the end of August, 2006, I was visiting the very northern community of Rankin Inlet in Canada’s newest territory, Nunavut, to complete that portion of my national arts project “Canada: Glorious To Be”

During my research of this community, I discovered that there was a local radio station. I brought a small collection of music CDs with me with the hopes that I might be able to volunteer to DJ for an hour or so. I met with a few of the other radio hosts and soon arrangements were made. I spent a few hours, in my hotel room, going through my selection and scripting my show. I didn’t just want to spin a couple of tunes for the locals; I wanted to share a Rock ‘n Roll story with ‘em!

I thought that you would enjoy reading the script and tune selections that I put together for that show:

Kickin’ At The Darkness
Friday, August 25th, 2006
Rankin Inlet 97.8 FM
2pm – 4pm

- Jim’s special ‘intro’ music plays
- Welcommmmmmme….. You and I are listening to CFRI 97.8FM, broadcasting to the WORLD out of beautiful Rankin Inlet, Nunavut! I’m your host, Jim, and for the next two hours you and I will be “Kickiiiinnnnnnn at - - - the darkness!” It’s time to turn your radio wwwwaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy up as we Rock ‘n Roll and dance our way into the future. We’re gonna start this show off….
- I’m The One = 4 Non Blondes
- … with a song ‘bout love.
- Ray Of Light = Madonna
- Good News = The Waterboys
- …and we’re back. That last set of tunes started off with ‘I’m The One’ – a cover of a Van Halen tune – by 4 Non Blondes. Madonna tripped out on a ‘Ray of Light’ and the Waterboys stopped by to bring us a little ‘Good News’. We’re just gettin’ started…
- Wash My Hands = Meredith Brooks (live)
- …down here at 97.8FM. This is Meredith Brooks – and she’s kickin’ at the darkness with ‘Wash My Hands’.
- Staring At The Sun = The Offspring
- …Now! Ladies and Gentlemen – that song definitely proves that Rock ‘n Roll bangs the beat for universal peace. That was the Offspring with ‘Staring At The Sun’. If any of you – out there – enjoy Rock ‘n Roll as much as I do, then I will see you tonight – at 9:00pm – down here at the arena for… Battle of the Bands!!!!. This is going to be a performance that you don’t want to miss.
- Search For Peace = Flora Purim
- I’m slowing things wwwaaaayyyyyyy down to start off this next set. This is Flora Purim with ‘Search For Peace’.
- Life Is A Long Song = Jethro Tull (live)
- The First = Tegan and Sara
- Finishing that last set was a female duo hailing from British Columbia – Tegan and Sara – with ‘The First’, and before that was a live recording of ‘Life Is A Long Song’ by Jethro Tull. Ya know…. when I was on the plane – flying from London, Ontario – all the waaaay up here to the arctic – to visit Rankin Inlet – I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know anybody here and I had no friends… and then I landed. Since then, I’ve met so many wonderful people and I’ve made lots of friends and I feel as tho’ instead of having traveled somewhere new and different, I had a feeling of coming home.
- A Sort of Homecoming = U2
- This is U2 – with ‘A Sort of Homecoming’
- Singin’ In My Sleep = Semisonic
- Put Your Lights On = Santana w- Everlast
- Who can mistake that soulful guitar for anyone other than Carlos Santana – with vocals by Everlast and a great tune called ‘Put Your Lights On’. Before that we heard ‘Singin’ In My Sleep’ by Semisonic. Now! I believe that all Canadian radio stations should play lots and lots of Canadian music… especially if it rocks and it rolls. We’re starting off this next set with 54-40 and we’re gonna find out what it really means to ‘Pay For Living’.
- Pay For Living = 54-40
- But Anyway = Blues Traveler
- That Hypnotizin’ Boogie = David Wilcox
- And we’re back. This is CFRI radio – 97.8 on the FM dial. That last set included a live recording by Blues Traveler with ‘But Anyway’. David Wilcox – a Canadian rock legend – took us out of that set with ‘That Hypnotizin’ Boogie’. Now – any keen listeners – out there – will have noticed that I’ve been playing lots of live recordings and that is because live Rock ‘n Roll is the best Rock ‘n Roll. Tonight, I’m gonna be down here at the arena at 9:00pm to listen to some live Rock ‘n Roll with Rankin Inlet’s first ever – Battle of The Bands. I hope to see you there. Until then, I’m gonna keep spinnin’ some tunes – and we’re starting things off with another live recording by a great bunch of dudes. This is CCR with ‘Commotion’.
- Commotion = CCR
- Vigilante = The Barstool Prophets
- Hum = The Sheila Divine
- In that set of tunes we heard a great Canadian band out of Toronto – The Barstool Prophets – off of their 1997 effort with ‘Vigilante’. Finishing things off was The Sheila Divine with a great song ‘Hum’. Many of you know that I have been visiting beautiful Rankin Inlet for over a week now, and this obviously means that I have been away from my family – from down south. Yesterday, someone told me that I was looking a little ill and that I should go and see a doctor. I said to him, “I don’t need no doctor… I’ve been away to long from my baby and that’s what’s ailin’ me.”
- Don’t Need No Doctor = Ray Charles
- Yes! That was Ray Charles with ‘Don’t Need No Doctor’. I’m sending that one out to my beautiful wife, Joanne. I miss you, babe. I’ll be home soon.
- In My Life = The Beatles
- The Fab Four are gonna keep us rollin’ along here with ‘In My Life’.
- Thing of Beauty = Hothouse Flowers
- Who You Are = Smalltown Poets
- The Smalltown Poets brought us to the end of that last music mix with ‘Who You Are’. Hothouse Flowers was also sharing some inspiration with ‘Thing of Beauty’. That band is from Australia and I think that is about as far away from Rankin Inlet as a person can get. But who wants to talk about leaving – I just got here! So let’s ‘Celebrate’ – okay – let’s have some fun and Led Zeppelin’s gonna show us how.
- Celebration = Led Zeppelin
- Fireworks = The Tragically Hip
- Pearl in a Shell = Howard Jones
- WOW! You should have seen all the dust come off of that last CD case. I was diggin’ wwaaayyyyy back into my teenage years to play Howard Jones – ‘Pearl in a Shell’. But – I’m really not that old, and there are no gray hairs on my head either!! The Tragically Hip also joined us for this Rock ‘n Roll party with ‘Fireworks’. Now – I’ve seen the Hip perform a few times – actually, just two months ago, they played a show in a conservation park near Guelph, Ontario – and these guys are a band that has never lost sight of what’s really important to Rock ‘n Roll and humanity. This statement is also true for this next Canadian band. Originating out of the Kootenay region of British Columbia – this is Blackfish with ‘Close To You’.
- Close To You = Blackfish
- Now – Ladies and Gentlemen… I must say that it has been an absolute pleasure for me to share this time with you. I’d like to thank Vital, Matthew, Shirley and Mary and this station – CFRI 97.8FM, for allowing me this time to kick at the darkness with you. I’ve been your host, Jim, and I’ve got time for one last song. This is Neil Young with ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’
- Rockin’ In The Free World Neil Young
- Okay, Neil… take us home!

So…. that was my script. I hope that you enjoyed reading it and that you enjoyed the playlist. There were a few funny incidents that occurred during that broadcast. I’ll share those stories in my next blog entry.

Until then,


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Getting Dirt Under My Fingernails

Over the last decade and a half, my love for touching Nature and the Earth has grown and grown. While millions of people sit in their metal boxes, staring at a concrete jungle with all it’s plastics and asphalt, I can find a small sanctuary filled with green leaves and colourful flower petals that will allow me to forget about ‘that’ world – if even for a moment.

Last Sunday, I continued my work in my garden…

Since I’ve learned that any attempt to plant vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and squash will fail – because the neighbourhood squirrels destroy these plants – I’ve decided to plant a flower garden instead, in most of this space. To begin, I simply raked away all the leaves that I had piled onto the flowers that I planted last year. I read that it is good to rake a thick pile of leaves onto flowerbeds, in the fall, to give them a small bit of protection during the winter season.

I raked the leaves onto the area of the garden that I had no time to attend to, last year. Last year, this area grew an abundance of weeds and a few tall flowering plants and unless I do something, it will start to overtake my cultivated areas. Once the leaves have been spread through this area, it is time to turn the ground over. The leaves will be buried underneath and they will add nutrients to the soil.

Although the squirrels have forced me to stay away from planting vegetables, I still plant a few root vegetables that they can’t get to easily. Above the ground, the leaves of the carrots and potatoes grow, while in the ground the vegetable remains safe. It is a little limiting, but it’s a compromise that I had to make.

Just after noon, I took myself to a matinee to see ‘The Watchmen’. It was a great film. I was an avid reader and collector of comics, during my teenage years and now it seems like all my favourite comic books are coming to life on the silver screen. I was always drawn towards the works of a few select comic authors and artists. Alan Moore – who reinvented ‘The Swamp Thing’ was one of the authors of the Watchmen comic book series. I could go on and on about this film, but I’ll simply say that it was extremely well done and thoroughly enjoyable.

On the way home, I heard on the radio that it was going to snow over the next two days. Arghhhh! When is winter going to end???? I decided to postpone my gardening ambitions. I figured that the plants need time to heal and grow strong again, after I had transplanted them and split their roots apart, so I didn’t want them to have to struggle against the cold, too. My gardening would have to wait for a little while.

My parents had told me that they had received over a foot of snow in the days that followed. I guess we were a little lucky, here in London – we just saw an inch on the ground and by last Wednesday the snow was gone.

Soon after, my gardening continued… but that’s another story.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Photos From Around The World

For those of you who use Facebook, I’m sure that you’ll agree that one of the most interesting things on anyone’s profile is their collection of photoalbums. I, presently, have created about 23 photoalbums to share many of the experiences that have been created during my children’s art programs. I also have photoalbums that showcase my commissioned artworks and another showcasing the art that I’ve donated to charities. One of my favourite albums is entitled “Our Home in the Stars”. It is a collection of images showcasing many beautiful landscapes of the Earth, as well as photos of moons, stars and galaxies. The landscape photos I find in a variety of places on the internet and the galaxy and sun images I find on a special N.A.S.A. website that I know about.

Just recently, a young monk from somewhere in Asia, requested to be my Facebook friend. Of course, I said yes! He had many, many photoalbums sharing images of things that interested him. Most of them where landscape photos of the area where he lives. I really enjoyed his albums and I ‘borrowed’ a few of these pictures to share with you.

His monastery must be very isolated in the mountains because there were many landscape photos like this one, in his collection.

Vast fields of wild flowers flourish throughout the countryside.

Now, everyone around the world has seen many sunsets, but this particular photo really delighted my senses, with all the colours and textures of the clouds.

From the great vistas of the mountains to the confined beauty of the jungle interior, my journey continued into a strange and beautiful land.

When I saw this photo, I paused for quite a long while. I found this photo very captivating, as I had never seen a tiger, such as this, before in my life. I watch a lot of Nature television shows and I flip through lots of picture books, but I had never seen a tiger look so… magical and totally ancient in it’s being. My mind began to trip through time and space into an ancient world dominated by the wild, where man and machines hadn’t yet destroyed.

The photo of the tiger captivated me with it’s ancient aroma, just as this photo hurled my mind back to the future; to the world of man, with it’s walls and weapons.

The internet is such a powerful tool for communication. It can make the world seem so large and vast one moment and then so small and irrelevant the next. As our growing knowledge of our Earth expands around us, we can begin to see how precious and fragile our planet is. Let us acknowledge these growing understandings and use these tools of communication to share in the responsibility of contributing to all existence in positive and constructive ways.