Night image of the backyard one year ago today
Steven van Schaik © 2011
Shaky middle of the night picture of the backyard taken
by me minutes ago. See a picture says it all
(*Note -- the tree on the right of the picture
that looks like a Christmas tree -- is in both
pictures -- not the same one -- we put the tree
in the garden until the spring every year, because
Fraser firs stay green for a long time.)
Barbara Muir © 2012
My husband Steven jokes as he heads off to bed,
"so you have to write another 500 words tonight eh?"
Do I? I don't have to but I can. Today would have
been my father's birthday if he were alive. I think
about how lucky he was to be born on the day before
a possible leap year. And I think about missing
him. I think about him all day on his birthday -- not
that as a grown man he was into having major parties
for his birthday. I always remember going to the
convenience store when I was about seven in Ottawa,
and buying him a pen. My father was very fussy about
his equipment. He liked really good brand name pens,
and my gift was not that, but he opened the present and said,
"Thanks a lot Bibby!" (his nickname for me).
My father was a writer -- an excellent one. God
knows what he'd think of this blog business, and
trying to produce art every day. He was a photographer,
and a painter too. I was thinking of him driving home
from my art club tonight, because one of my favorite
friends from the club is very ill. Another club member,
a terrific artist, who always made me feel happy when
things were hard died this year, and I miss her too. I don't want
to fall into a swamp of sadness, but I feel the loss of
my dear friend who can't come to the club anymore
so keenly. I always thought that although my father
was gone, I knew so many kind, fatherly men in
my community, that I had a sense of being with
the people who represented the best of what my father
valued -- kindness, a sense of humour and good manners.
My father was a painter, but I've only realized
recently just how shy he must have been. It's amazing
to me that he never joined a photography or painting
club, or took any classes in the subjects he was
passionate about, or exhibited his work.
That seems like such a shame, because I know
he would have enjoyed knowing how much people
loved his paintings and powerful black and white
photographs. I wish I could tell him that our oldest
son is in Vancouver right now on a trip taking
photographs of athletes -- that his grandson says
he got his photography chops from his Poppa (the
name he uses for his grandfather -- my dad).
Tonight I'm showing you a picture of our backyard thatSteven took at night last year on this date. It's a far
cry from this snowless winter (my blurry shot).
Snow is predicted for one day this week, but it will
disappear quickly. In Toronto global warming is real.
The tulips are coming up in my garden and it's still February.
I saw a Magnolia tree filled with buds today. Not good.
One of my father's later paintings
He was bolder and braver about going
abstract than I am. I don't have an actual
title, but I'll name it for my Dad.
Study in yellow and orange on green
oil on board
36 x 24 inches
Wallace Muir ©
I just realized that we haven't even eaten the last
package of frozen peaches that we saved for the
depths of the February blahs -- which never happened
because it was a lovely month. Woo Hoo! So I
guess it will be peaches for supper tomorrow, and
I'll think of my father who was partial to fresh peaches
and vanilla ice-cream in season.
Now that is a perfect illustration of the power of words
to take us out of life's unavoidable sadness and lift us up.
I can see my father's face smiling when I say that. And
I know he'd like that conclusion, because
the last time I saw him as he was lying dying he was
chuckling to himself about something he was seeing
no doubt because of the strong pain killers, but all the
same -- that is my final image of the living man. He
died with grace.
And thank you Daddy, and my dear friends for carrying
me way beyond the 500 words. Well folks that's your
thousand words, and your pictures.
Have a loving-the-fathers-and-fatherly-figures-in-your-life day.