Day 12/30…

So here’s my day 12 sketch. It was from a pic I took while on a weekend trip to Kootenay Park Lodge – a beautiful part of the world along one of my favourite stretches of highway between castle Junction and Radium in the south west corner of BC. I rented a little rustic cabin and toured on the motorcycle looking for inspiration. I went into Radium one day to get some gas and realized I didn’t have my wallet. Radium is about 67km away and I made the trip there, back to KPL, and back to Radium on fumes. My bike has more range than I thought. 🙂

Beside the lodge is this beautiful stretch of the Kootenay River that I have driven by for decades but oddly never stopped. This was the inspiration for the trip. It has the most beautiful blue water and meanders lazily along the rocky banks and oddly, this is the only spot that looks like this. After snapping a few pics the light changed and I sat on edge and became very peaceful.

KPL Cabin

Grant Waddell Oil Painting

Vermillion Crossing 8.5×11 Oil on Canvas

 

 

 

Morning…

The morning, breathless and scented,

lifts up upon my weighted soul and turns gently

with a kiss too soft.

And holding tender, seeks a word

or simple gesture that says things

that will always be left unsaid.

An embrace of a moment where the answers

to what,

remain covered by dried leaves and bits

of things scurrying, into the dark shadows

just beyond my reach.

 

Music that Inspire me #1…

Music has always played an important roll in my life. It’s almost as if there is a sound track to the various chapters as I’ve grown. It gets into my soul and takes me away. Makes my creative mind stir and weaves imagery as rich as my deepest dreams and sweeps my imagination into a place of connection and peace. This is the first of many pieces I am going to share with you. I have listened to it several times over the last year while driving out to Bragg Creek. The mountains loom as I listen and eventually it will be the score to one of many short films I am going to create over the next year. I can hardly wait to get them underway. When I quickly did a search for the song, I found this in Wikipedia and after reading it, I was amazed to see how many things in my life are reflected in this particular song and meaning behind the title. I love astronomy and the heavens although I have to say I have never been good at math. When someone asks me about God, I say we will never understand the true essence of what that really means. It is simply beyond us. I describe it as a “Hum” that occupies the entire universe.

Reminds me of August Rush, one of my favourite movies. Things happen for a reason as I’m beginning to see…

————————————————

From Wikipedia

Musica universalis  or Harmony of the Spheres is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies—the Sun,Moon, and planets—as a form of musica (the Medieval Latin name for music). This ‘music’ is not usually thought to be literally audible, but a harmonic and/or mathematical and/or religious concept. The idea continued to appeal to thinkers about music until the end of the Renaissance, influencing scholars of many kinds, including humanists.

The Music of the Spheres incorporates the metaphysical principle that mathematical relationships express qualities or ‘tones’ of energy which manifest in numbers, visual angles, shapes and sounds – all connected within a pattern of proportion. Pythagoras first identified that the pitch of a musical note is in proportion to the length of the string that produces it, and that intervals between harmonious sound frequencies form simple numerical ratios.[1] In a theory known as the Harmony of the Spheres, Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum (orbital resonance) based on their orbital revolution,[2] and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds which are physically imperceptible to the human ear.[3] Subsequently, Plato described astronomy and music as “twinned” studies of sensual recognition: astronomy for the eyes, music for the ears, and both requiring knowledge of numerical proportions.[4]

The Creative Soul…

Creativity copy2

 

“Creativity makes what it makes, does what it does, and fully understands that we see our true beauty reflected in works that reveal our deepest selves.”

The only thing that I have ever known for sure is that I am creative. It has been, is, and always will be. It is the only constant thread in the entirety of my existence. It is a dear companion and, I used to believe, a dreaded enemy. One that I have a caressed lovingly and stabbed repeatedly in the heart. It has loved me deeply, and has left me bloody and bruised. It will offer a hand up the last challenging pitch of a frightening mountain climb, only to let me fall to the self critical rocks below. The resulting recovery, very painful and slow.

To let creativity be what it is meant to be, we need to understand that the truly creative person, holds their creativity close to their soul. Lets it flow from deep within and lets it produce from a place that is so connected to this “creative other” that we can feel it as if it were a living breathing entity within us. It taps deep into a place we have rarely, if ever met. That makes our senses draw in experience, and lets creation begin, naturally and without question. No internal judgment. Creativity makes what it makes, does what it does, and fully understands that we see our true beauty reflected in works that reveal our deepest selves.

Sounds airy fairy, I know, but I don’t believe it’s a skill that we are born with. We develop the skills to satisfy the insatiable hunger of these creative musings. I believe this creative force lies in us all. Some have natural talent, some have to develop it. Some don’t acknowledge it, give it a voice for the fear that they won’t be good enough. I used to say to my son when he said “I can’t draw” that we all have drawings in us, that we won’t like, and you simply have to “draw them all out of you” till nothing but the drawings you like remain. Simply practice.

Cook, draw, paint, garden, knit, write, sing, and play as much as it takes to get better at your craft. Honour it.

Creativity is one of the greatest gifts we have ever been given. It is a part of who we are. It is everywhere. We hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it, and see it. It is not an enemy or dreaded foe, but a gifted friend. It draws inspiration from it’s experiences and surroundings. What we listen to and what we see. What it teaches us about ourselves. What it reveals about our vulnerabilities and insecurities. And, if allowed, contributes to our ever growing self expression, and to the creativity of those around us fortunate enough to experience our journey. And maybe, just maybe, give them the courage to embark on their own.

—————

What does creativity mean to you?

Runaway Train…

 

Sugar Maker

 

Moving slowly at first the subtle sway feels soothing as the clack clack of track under steel wheels, begins to form those familiar rhythms that seem so far back in my memory. As if being held by my mother in the maple wood rocking chair so long ago.

And out the window, things that are closest to me blur into shades of brown, light against dark. I focus on the horizon, seeing dreams in the distant haze, but always on the edge,

never closer.

Faster

The sway, dangerous and unnerving, brings panic. I look around and see others looking out their glowing laptop windows, heads down, at reruns of Honey Boo-Boo and Keeping up with the Kardashians, hyperlinking to dreams of cars, houses and shoes.

In a trance, on track, to a better life…

And I begin to realize what this really means…

And I want off

The Window…

Star Banner

“I believe we all receive glimpses into the mystery, and are simply not tuned in to that  frequency within our world. We’re much more aware of that, which will never matter”

I sat quietly in one of the two Adirondack chairs that sat on the small wooden porch. Part of a cabin built in the 1940’s on Jackson Lake at the foot of the Tetons. I couldn’t see these magnificent mountains not only because night had fallen, but also due to the simple fact that the cabin faced the other direction, towards a black asphalt driveway that wound it’s way around the Signal Mountain Lodge Resort.

The forecast called for rain. there was a dampness in the air, a chill that I welcomed.  I sipped my rye and coke slowly, scanning left and right looking and listening for what, I wasn’t sure, but it must be out there, somewhere.

I could feel it…

I could sense it…

Waiting…

I let my thoughts wander. Time passed and the rye, sweet, slowly left, leaving nothing but the last sip. It was time to go in.

I leaned forward and felt a calm drape itself over my tense shoulders. I looked down at my glass, resting on the broad arm of the chair which held nothing, except cold ice. My right hand wrapped softly around it.

Looking up one last time, I cast the ice out over the inky black of the driveway and it scattered in a broad arc before me.

I sat mesmerized by what I saw…

I stopped breathing…

Reflecting the porch light behind me, the ice became a thousand stars against the black of dark bituminous pitch and gravel. It sparkled and shone in the silent night. It was beautiful.

And in a second, I felt like I could see pure understanding. It seemed to breath knowing into my soul. As if this small fragile universe that had opened before me was the answer to every question I had ever had. Like I was staring into a mystical world that very few people had ever seen. The truth.

I was in awe, and I watched this fragile gift slowly melt into small pools, and fade gently into memory. The window closed. I sat for a while longer, thinking, and wondering if what I had felt was real. It was. I wondered if this had happened countless times before and I had always ignored it. Not present enough in the moment and let it slip by, not knowing how precious it was,

but never really wasted as it just is.

We choose to see it or we don’t.

It’s Been Awhile…

It's been awhile

[Apologies to those who saw this already but WordPress somehow took my published post and unpublished it and reverted it to draft]

What did I believe?

Why did I believe it?

Why was I a photographer?

A father? A husband?

Play guitar?

Not go to church but consider myself highly spiritual?

Love nature, as if it were… in my soul?

And many more questions.

—————————–

This is a long post, but if you’ve ever felt disconnected, have experienced great loss, gone through a life threatening condition, mid life crisis or simply questioned what life is about I encourage you to read through it.

Introduction…

It has been awhile since I really posted something that I found true to the reason that I created this blog. It’s very simple… my father passed away, and shortly after that my stepmother as well. Both great figures in my life. Grieving is such a strange thing to go through. You not only have the loss of life that is very close to you, but you also have the loss of the parts of you that used to be rock solid. Things that seemed important no longer are. The lives of those around you just keep moving along. And so many questions arise.

My dad passed away four months ago, and my stepmother a month after that. I started writing this on April 4th…my 50th year. It’s some exploration of an area of existence that I’m not sure there’s an answer for. Not one that I’ve found anyway.

—————————–

Here we go…

In the wake of my father and stepmothers’ passing, and under the microscope of my own mid-life passage, and self reflection, I have been left with several questions about what the hell we’re doing here and what purpose we have other than generating an income and consuming. How do our belief systems play into how we interpret and interact with our world, and what if you question your core values during these times, and, as in my case, they appear to completely abandon you.

In “The Garden” I wrote about how we can’t fully know how much of what we feel and believe, can be relied upon as being “born within us” and how much of it is imbued upon us through family, friends, society, religion, and culture. A road that we are set on, wearing carefully crafted glasses, that shape our world views and, our “personal” beliefs, and our prejudices. What would these glasses reveal, if we were born and raised in Canada, Bangladesh, or the Sudan. Ours views on family, love, hate, God, religion, a meaningful life, and the afterlife would all be shaped differently.

Initially, this is not a choice. We are indoctrinated very early in life from very well meaning people. It is only when, with age and maturity and curiosity, we may begin to challenge, ask questions and seek out our own answers, and simply ask…

“Why do I believe that”?

“What do I believe?

Some of you may never ask this question, but for those who look deep, and really examine whats at the heart of “Self,” you may begin to understand just how much (or how little) influence others have had on shaping who you believe yourself to be. And maybe, begin to understand the nature of who you really are, and possibly, the reasons for the quality of your perceived existence.

—————————–

The Catalyst…

So, as I left the hospital on both occasions, and drove home, a growing sense of frustration and unease crept over me. Images and thoughts flashed quickly. Family, and friends, my beliefs, and theirs, my father, and his positive and negative impact that he had on me. Things I have achieved and not achieved, and how everything fits with what I have discovered from my quiet, and sometimes very emotional, and not so quiet introspection.

As I kissed the forehead of my dying father and held the hand of my passing stepmother, I could slowly see the shadow of my own mortality lengthening. And I couldn’t stop thinking about the passage of life and what purpose, if any, there is, or was, or could be. What had their lives meant? Did they feel they lived a life that ultimately mattered to themselves and others? Was it fulfilling?  What about regrets? Would they have done things differently? Would it have made a difference? Did they even think about it? I began to compare where I was to where they were, and examine where I fell short. I think it’s normal to use those around you as yardsticks. And then I thought to myself, does it really matter.

In the days that passed, I would go about a simple routine. I would wake up, enter the world of the busy masses, and observe.  At cafe’s, and restaurants, on the street as people hustled by on their way to the next meeting. Stuck in traffic to and from work. And it just seemed so unbelievably pointless. You grow up, go to school, get a good job, get married, have kids, go to work. Work for decades, and in that time, acquire things. Take a few holidays, work some more, acquire even more, and finally retire. Hopefully with your health so you can enjoy the time you have left. All that was expected of you. Make mom and dad proud. Conform to what we were all taught as children and teens as the “right path”. That’s all fine and nice as long as it truly reflected who you were. You loved your life from beginning to end with few questions. Became what you always dreamt of. But, what if you became an engineer because that’s what was expected, but you really wanted to be an artist. Chose friends and a lifestyle and created a persona based on what you believed society expected of you. Got married because, that’s what your family expected, time was ticking, but you knew they weren’t “the one” and sadly, stayed this course your entire life. The end, would come very, very differently, and very sadly.

So………. How much of who I believe myself to be, is really me? How much is my father and mother and stepmother? How about the rest of my family and friends, and experiences I’ve had ?

Who am I?

Really…

What did I believe? Why did I believe it? Why was I a photographer? A father? A husband? Play guitar? Not go to church but consider myself highly spiritual? Love nature, as if it were, in my soul? And many more questions.

Why?

The only thing I knew for sure was, I was born to be creative, curious, and ask questions. I had done so since I could talk, walk, and look up at night sky with wonder. Walk in the forest, down trails, and feel the sun on my face. Look up at the mountains, or sit and listen to a creek, ocean surf or the wind in the trees and stare into a campfire and see my ancient self in it.

I learned to never take what someone told me as truth until I examined as many sides as possible, and make my own conclusions. This involved my religious and political beliefs and several other areas of life that are given to you as a gift from your family as you are raised.

But, one persons truth does not have to be your own. It all comes down to choice. That was one of the best things my father taught me. Question things. Simply apply curiosity and seek knowledge.

So, in classic style, I began the process of asking questions within myself and was having a hell of a time even coming close to what this all meant. Like trying to step on your shadow. Maybe it was simple grieving. A natural response to losing two people within a very short that were very close to me.

I held off posting this because I wasn’t able to really complete what I had set out to do. To fully grasp, what I was trying to convey or answer.  As my eyes opened wider and I asked more questions, I couldn’t find the comforting answers and understanding that I had come to expect from exploration. I didn’t find peace. And maybe that’s what we were never meant to find. Draw the curtain back and reveal that life is more than we thought. And maybe the tension we feel from time to time is when we realize that the life we are living may be an illusion. When I achieve this or that, make enough to buy that thing, then I’ll be happy. Tomorrow, I’ll be happy. But this is always a moving target.  The promises of happiness and fulfillment never really appear. You play the game and achieve what you think you need and generally it will never be enough. And then you realize, something fundamental is missing. Something… This is where I fall down. Whats is it thats missing? Whats left?

Tune out the noise…

I began to understand that “life” as we know it is noisy. Full of work, kids, TV, Facebook, Twitter, and yes blogs and so much more that we engage in, ultimately add nothing to who we are. But we think it’s so important. It’s not. It’s such a waste of time and as I’ve started to understand, time is precious. It distracts us from what’s really important and when you realize it, it’s painful. And I guess it’s for that reason we do it. To distract ourselves from our possibly stark realities and not face that pain. Because in many cases it means turning several aspects of your life upside down and how do you start over from that?

I have been talking for so long. Listening to the opinions of friends and family, reading the teachings and opinions of others and examining theological explanations and I will never find the answers from any of these sources. They’re are all disparate opinions. Nothing more. I’m not going to find what I’m looking for amongst the hustle and bustle of daily life or the noise of living.

And this is when it dawned on me. It was in what I wrote earlier.

“The only thing I knew for sure, I was born to be creative, curious, and ask questions. I had done so since I could talk, walk, and look up at night sky with wonder. Walk in the forest, down trails, and feel the sun on my face. Look up at the mountains, or sit and listen to a creek, ocean surf or the wind in the trees and stare into a campfire and see my ancient self in it.”

Really listen…

Maybe part of what I’m looking for is as simple as that. For it is only in the quiet of the mountains and forests, or looking at the ocean or up at the moon in that beautiful night sky and looking into that campfire that whatever it is, feels closest. In that peace and silence it speaks to me without saying a word. I will never pretend to know. It is far to big for any of us to truly understand. But I feel truly connected to it when I silence what we have created as our normal and expected human path. As an an Agnostic (Sorry Ayn) this is the closest I will ever come to knowing what God is. I think this is where I’ll find my answers. Not from the internet, not from noted experts, not from friends and family and not from books. I will find my answers by simply sitting quietly and tuning out and unplugging, and letting the  silence of nature and solitude speak to me. Maybe this is why I’m driven to explore that trail, climbing through the difficult parts till you come across something that takes your breath away. Places where many others would have stopped just short of the parking lot or the fading internet connection and never had that experience.

In a strange way, it’s much louder than the white noise of life and maybe thats what frightens some of us away from it. It doesn’t come with easy answers. I comes with a deep sense of calm and knowing without anything being said. A voiceless conversation between yourself and the flowing sense of awe that surrounds everything in this wonderful universe. It’s there all the time, it always has been. It always will be.

It is pure wisdom. And we just need to tune into it a little more while we still can.

Darkness…

Crow

The shadow cast 
on this moonless night
by ravens black
it’s wings spread wide in the expanse
as it glides silent towards shimmering curtains
draped over northern hills.

Oh this night I will wear tucked under my chin
with it’s seam held tight to my chest with clenched fists
and wait for the first rays of this, another day
to warm the weave of it’s black chill.

Believe…

20130624-222442.jpg

We had the worst flooding in history in my home town of Calgary. It is utter devastation. Basements and main floors flooded. The town of High River is virtually wiped out. The downtown core was declared an evacuation zone.

I went down to the flood zone to help out and was amazed to see the destroyed contents of all these homes sitting in large piles on their mud and silt covered front lawns.

Amongst the debris, and the wet, was the word “Believe” in the mud in the driveway of one of the houses. I pictured it sitting on the mantle a few days earlier with the forecast of heavy rain coming.

So as I looked up from it and saw all the volunteers and the generosity of complete strangers working hard for home owners that have lost everything. I couldn’t have imagined a more appropriate message to find. A message that says no matter what happens. That no matter what Mother Nature can throw at us, we can believe that things will be even better than they were before. New friendships made, and a city made even stronger.

Wading…

She stands at waters edge, leaning into the cool morning air…waiting for him to return. Stepping onto the dock and into the sun, she can hear water lapping and birds in the trees across the lake, their calls echoing over the still water.  Snapping turtles rest on a partially submerged log, wary of passing boats and the bullfrog croaks loudly from some reeds to her left and she wonders if they really do taste like chicken like she’d heard. The smell of burning Alder wood hangs in the air and reminds her of, those days.

He wades back into her thoughts. Hands pressed to her lips, then open palms towards winters lake.

He’s been gone too long…

Frozen Lake and Dock