Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Beautiful Day

I spent this afternoon painting with the grades four and five students from Victoria Public School – and what fun that was!!! All of the students are very keen to learn about our environment and ways that we can make this world a better place. Of course, they love the painting part of the workshop the best. Today was the second day of the workshop. Tomorrow, I’m teaching at Montessori and so, the final class at Victoria will be this Friday – and the painting will be complete.

I handed out the ‘colouring contest’ sheets during the first part of the day and the students became very excited. When I was getting ready to leave for the day, many students were anxious to show me their pictures. Many of the students spent their lunch hour working on their artwork instead of playing ball in the playground. I’m glad that I have been able to get these young and creative minds turned on.

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Last Friday, Joanne and I were eager to leave London for a relaxing weekend at my parent’s house. As soon as Jo’ came home from work, we jumped in our car and started our journey. Just outside of London, we saw a spectacular sight. The entire western horizon was ablaze with brilliant reds as the sun was setting. There must have been close to twenty-five different flocks of Canadian Geese heading south, all at the same time. Each flock had over twenty geese all perfectly formed in their ‘V’ formation. I knew that this event would soon be over, so I didn’t bother trying to find my camera – we just enjoyed the sight while it lasted.

The next gorgeous day, we were sitting on my parent’s back porch and my dad motioned towards the sky. Unbelievably, there was a bald-headed eagle flying in our direction. For several minutes we watched as the eagle flew in large circles as it slowly continued on its way into the distance. My dad had said that they have seen these eagles in this area before – but this was the first one that I had seen in this part of Ontario. Whenever I see a bald-headed eagle my memory travels back to the time when Jo’ and I were living in Nova Scotia. During certain times of the year, we could see up to fifteen or even twenty eagles at once, flying overhead.

My parents live in a very small community. Ten years ago, the first traffic light was installed. The town consists of a general store, a gas station, a church and only a couple hundred houses. This area of Southern Ontario is very unique because the Niagara Escarpment runs through this region. All of the rolling hills and river valleys were formed over ten thousand years ago -–when the ice age glaciers were receding. As a child, I used to play with my friends in the farmer’s fields and surrounding forests. We used to build tree forts in the forests and we would play hide-and-seek in the cornfields. Unfortunately, a lot of the farmland that I knew as a child is now gone.

Huge expanses of fields have lately been turned into subdivisions for the city workers who want to enjoy their leisure time in the country. This ‘self-centred’ mentality only benefits the greed of the few construction crews who have manipulated this environment in destructive ways. The fields that produced food for humans and animals is now gone. During the planning of the subdivision, contractors miscalculated the amount of rain ‘run-off’ and they sloped the land incorrectly. Now, after a heavy rain the water backs up and causes flooding in a few areas and this floodwater backs up into the drinking water available for the community. Every new house has a large lawn that now needs to be sprayed with poisonous pesticides twice a year. Every new house needs a new riding mower that offers our atmosphere an increase in monoxides and other exhaust emissions. Almost every new resident works in Toronto or Barrie so now the surrounding roads are filled with more cars that do nothing to benefit our world.

Ahhhh! Just as long as these people get what they want….

The saving grace of our civilization will emerge when humans evolve to realize that living for the benefit of others is living for the benefit of the self.

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During the months of May and June, this year, I was amazed by the progress I was making with my guitar. Within several short weeks, I had written five complete songs. I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs, some of the inspiration that led to the creation of these songs:

Since that time, I had to let the blisters on my fingers heal and I concentrated on practicing and practicing. Last week, I began to wonder why I hadn’t created any more new songs and so, I picked up my guitar to see if I could create something new. About an hour later, I had the beginnings of something very lively and fresh. I spent a few days trying to expand on the music with little success.

During one of the afternoons, at my parent’s house, Jo’, my sister and I decided to go for a little adventure in the back forests and fields that surround this area. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining down. Our adventure took us to a fence that was missing some of the bottom fence rails, so we crawled under this fence. Later, we found our path was blocked by several fallen trees, so we had to climb and jump over top of them. After several hours we returned home, covered in burrs and prickles from all the weeds we had to walk through.

We got cleaned up and were relaxing in the backyard and suddenly a strange melody began to ring in my ear – I went to get my guitar. Within fifteen minutes, the second phase of my new song had been created. I was practicing and began to hum to the beat of the music – to try to feel out the rhythm for the words that would eventually be written. Another fifteen minutes later had passed and I had the first few lyrics written. Later that night, after everyone had gone to bed but me, I sat quietly on the front porch with Koly keeping me company. The melodies were drifting through my mind and a few more lyrics were about to be written.

The song still has a great deal of growing to do, but that won’t stop me from sharing the little bit that has recently been born….

Beautiful Day

It’s a beautiful day
The sun is shining down
We’re walking through the fields
Under a big blue sky

We’re crawling under fences
And jumping over trees
Then the leaves came crashing
Under a big blue sky

+ + + +

The next afternoon, I was talking about my hopes and dreams for creating some kind of presentation for some of my other songs. My dad told me that his digital camera could record short movie clips… my mind exploded!!! Half and hour later, Joanne and I were walking down a sideroad with my guitar, tripod and camera. Two hours later we had captured enough footage for two videos. The videos will be rather simple, but I believe rather effective. I’m hoping to be able to do some simple editing to create these videos in the next two months.

My first rock video may be just around the corner! I would have to fill two pages with exclamation marks to express the joy that this adventure in filmmaking is bringing to my mind…. I’m very excited!


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