Thinking of My Mother, Greek Myths and Rebirth

painting ©Flora Doehler, 2014
20 years ago today, in 1997, my dear mother died. Her Toronto hospital room overlooked a ravine filled with trees in their autumn glory. In her last days, I sat holding her hand, looking out the window, thinking, waiting and wondering if the end of this journey would lead to an existence after this one. That’s a tough one for a non-believer like me. On the day she died, it snowed. I’ll never forget the brilliance of the autumn colours behind that screen of falling white flakes.

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Montreal Rendezvous

Larry and I are near the end of a wonderful visit to Montreal where we were generously and graciously hosted by Emily and her significant other, Jerome.

Jesse joined us for some of the visit and I was so very thrilled to spend time with family.

Emily and I had birthday celebrations and it was wonderful to share that in a city filled with art, music and lots of special food.

The little grocery stores have a wide variety of beautiful vegetables...cheaper than in Digby, Nova Scotia. :(
The little grocery stores have a variety of beautiful vegetables.
Cheese is everywhere.
Cheese is everywhere.

Montrealers love their cheese!

We spent time going to art supply stores and bookstores too.

Father and daughter share their love of lettering.
Father and daughter share their love of lettering.

And we took the subway (Metro) everywhere. Gotta love public transportation.

Emily and Jerome in the Metro.
Emily and Jerome in the Metro.

I have ordered art supplies from independent art store Kama Pigments for several years now. It was a thrill to visit the store in person and ask many questions about using oil paints. The store started out because an artist wanted to make his own paint and sold powdered pigments. It has since branched and expanded, but still retains that ‘can-do’ attitude that all artists can create their own watercolours, gouache, oil or acrylic paints with ingredients from Kama.

Pure pigments at Kama Pigments in Montreal.
Pure pigments at Kama Pigments in Montreal.
Mediums to use with oil paints at Kama Pigments.
Mediums to use with oil paints at Kama Pigments.

We spent a lot of time going to events via subway. For my birthday, Jerome took us to the theatre. He is a kind, generous FX artist from France and a wonderful cook too and we all think he’s great…..especially Emily. 😉

The underground Metro in Montreal.
The underground Metro in Montreal.
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Heading to an Indian food restaurant in old Montreal.
An Art Installation about Light in Montreal.
An Art Installation about Light in Montreal.

Public art is everywhere in Montreal. There are loads of wall murals, sculptures and interesting architecture. It was so good to see that and is such a positive statement about the importance of art to enhance all our lives.

Sculpture on the rooftop in Montreal.
Sculpture on the rooftop in Montreal.
One of many, many interesting rooftops in Montreal.
One of many, many interesting rooftops in Montreal.
Bitcoin machine in Montreal or Art Installation?
Bitcoin machine in Montreal or Art Installation?
Door in Montreal
Door in Montreal
One of many, many wall murals in Montreal.
One of many, many wall murals in Montreal.
Wall Mural in the Plateau neighbourhood of Montreal.
Wall Mural in the Plateau neighborhood of Montreal.

Besides fabulous public transit, there are bike lanes everywhere and many, many bike parking spots on the residential streets. There are also lots of shared car rental schemes. Clearly this is a city with innovative, people-centric ideas and results.

Bikes are everywhere in Montreal and there are lots of public rentals too.
Bikes are everywhere in Montreal and there are lots of public rentals too.
Graffit\ti in the bathroom near Indigo.
Graffiti in a bathroom downtown.

It’s inspiring to catch up with our kids and it’s great that Emily is working fairly close by right now, because that can change fairly quickly.

Together again.
Together again.

Soon it will be time for us to fly home to our quieter lives in Bear River. This is a great way to end the long winter and long spring; with family, with food and with a city of art.

Jesse returns to Toronto.
Jesse returns to Toronto.

 

The to-and-fro of Love

A reader asked how to handle the separation of moving away from “children”? It’s a fantastic question because it’s a heart-issue for so many people who move here. For me, six years later, I know that I never resolve this one completely.

Camping on Brier Island with Emily and Larry and I.
Camping on Brier Island with Emily and Larry and me.

When you love someone – a partner, offspring, relatives, friends, you want to be near them, right? Everyone has to work out that problem of separation themselves and I have yet to find an easy way.

You have to settle for Skype, phone calling, emailing, chatting and as many back-and-forth visits as you can afford. We’ve been super lucky that our kids are good communicators so we are in touch often.  They have been here enough that they know the terms of reference when we talk about village life and people. We have a genuine interest in their life paths so we are always available to listen. Sometimes we Skype and we all drink tea and show each other what we are working on. I can’t wait until someone invents a transporter machine so we can have cups of tea together.

Skyping from Vancouver.
Skyping from Vancouver.
Skyping from Toronto
Skyping from Toronto

But how did we get to the point where we could move away? For starters, we viewed it as moving to. Moving to a place where our spirits and souls could thrive. We had devoted 30 years to parenting 2 beautiful souls and the time was overdue for me and Larry to find a community of creative types in a beautiful rural setting. We tried finding “Bear River” in Ontario, but it didn’t appear for us.

Skyping with Jesse
Skyping with Jesse

Our kids both love the vibrancy of living in cities.  They indulge in their creativity when they visit us here and view Bear River as a lovely, but temporary retreat so it’s unlikely they would ever move here. And for us the need to be here in a rural setting is very strong.

Skyping from Germany.
Skyping from Germany.

We miss each other, we love each other, but we are all where we want and need to be right now. And all of us are pretty happy with our choices.

Jesse cuts metal and creates some jewellery.
Jesse cuts metal and creates some jewellery.
Parting gift.
Parting gift.

We  love our thirty-something year old kids, and we love spending time with them. Distance and missing them can hurt. That’s a difficult part of parental love.  But it’s also important for us to let them separate and to establish their own lives and identity.

Christmas view where Jesse and I sat in the snow and talked about life.
Christmas view where Jesse and I sat in the snow and talked about life.

I wish I had a better answer, but I don’t. Certainly your end destination must meet some profound unfulfilled needs to fill the gap of distance from family.

The To and Fro of Love  can be bitter and can be sweet.

Poem and Painting about Emily leaving by Scarfe and Shischkov.
Poem and Painting about Emily leaving by street artists Skafte and Shishkov.

A Monk, the Harvest, Time Travel, Art, Music and Family

A couple of days before our tree fell,  I planted over 120 cloves of garlic for me and 80 for my friend Pat. I had some time to think about all the posts I didn’t write this month.

Although I used to wonder what people ever did ‘for fun’ in a little village, I have to say that now I know that so many events and activities happen in a month that it’s not possible to take part in everything let alone write about it all.

Still, I would like to share with you some of the events that happened here to me in October. Continue reading

Toronto House Sold = Bear River, Here We Come!

I want to update you about our journey east as our launch deadline draws near.

The house sold after 7 days and 3 offers. The hot real estate market in Toronto worked in our favor. Also, the garden looked lovely and lush, even though. We worked really, really, really hard to get everything into a polished shape.

We are still in the house and now I feel as if I’m living in a hotel or a B and B. The place is TOTALLY de-cluttered and there aren’t piles of papers everywhere. On the other hand, it’s not really functional and I can’t paint because the studio has turned back into a living room and the art supplies are packed. I thought I might have ‘seller’s remorse’ but it hasn’t hit me yet, 2 weeks later. In fact, I feel a huge sense of relief that this hurdle is over and that we are now free to pursue our long awaited dream of living near the ocean and pursuing our art.

The only time I feel regrets is when I think about living in a far-off province from our son Jesse. It’s been such a gift to live with him this past year.  I know it’s inevitable that we all will continue our journeys in separate directions, but it’s hard for me. It was really tough when Emmy moved out of province, but now with webcams and Skype, we have wonderful visits and Larry and I have adapted, so I know we will again.

Who knew that being a mother and feeling that attachment to your kids would be so strong and so eternal? I know I used to resent it from my own mother, but now I think of her and smile at the irony of this situation and ask for her forgiveness.

Anyway, this new step is so exciting. Larry and I will have the chance to work creatively 24/7, for the first time in our lives. What an extraordinary gift we are about to receive. We will be doing this in one of the most beautiful spots in Canada. We have already met with and connected to some wonderful, funny, creative and generous artists and others in Bear River which is also amazing. And it looks like we’re going to get away with it too!

Stay tuned!

Emmy Leaves for la la land

Today was a day of parting. Our dearest daughter began the drive 5 days south west to work in animation in Los Angeles.
Larry said goodbye to our wonderful girl.

Jesse said goodbye to his dear sister.

Lucky said: “HEY GUYS…what about ME?!?!?!?

And Lucky got his wish…..

And away they went to la la land…………..