Sunday, 13 November 2011

Go big or go home

The best part of this past week was my weekend. Not to say that school wasn't enjoyably challenging as usual, but it had its fair share of bumps and EGRM's (Extra Grace Required Moments). However I do have an excepionally well crafted birthday cake to show for it. I made a delicious marble pound cake for a 90th birthday party. If I turned 90 I'd want chocolate flavoured butter and a wheel of gouda cheese but to each his own.

My weekend started with a bang on Friday morning, Remembrance Day. My friend Sam has a boyfriend who is in the army and he had the honour of firing off the canons for the salute at 11:00am. I have never seen the firing of a canon before so I jumped at the chance to see it in real life. Despite the hurrican speed winds and driving rain I braved the weather and walked with a delightful spring in my step to the wharf. I found shelter behind a post 50 feet away from the canons. A handful of soldiers were setting them up and directing the twelve other civilians that had come to watch to a safe distance. Sam arrived and like a pair of army wives waiting for our sailors to come home we bunked behind the post, leaning out occasionally to wave at the soldiers and get some choice photos of the canons. The soldier in charge gave us the signal to cover our ears and yelled a command and the first shot of the canon was fired. The delicious sound of the canon blast ripped through the air, the shock wave ripple through the cobble stone and shook my legs, it took my breath away. My reaction was the same for the following shots.

After it was all said and done Sam and I ventured up to the cenotaph and managed to catch the end of the parade. I have never felt more humbled and proud of my country. When the veterans drove by my heart exploded in gratitute and I applauded vigorously. Sam and I placed our poppies on the wreaths at the foot of the cenotaph and then parted ways, each of us pondering what this day means for us on the walk home.

Did you know that Remembrance day is a stat holiday in every territory and province except Ontario and Quebec, according to Wikipedia? Odd and frankly, irreverant. I can understand why Quebec doesn't observe it as a holiday, they are just a whole other world, especially when driving, but Ontario? We are home to the capital! So here is my thought folks: let us make a motion to recognize Remembrance Day as a nation wide stat holiday. Let us over fill Parliments mail box with this request. No, let us demand it! I am not saying this because the island character of finding anything to celebrate so there is a holiday has rubbed off on me, I am saying this because I am Canandian Day. Remembrance Day is a dedication to the memory of past veterans and the support of present ones. To all you pacifists out there this does not suggest that war is to be celebrated, it recognizes that war is hard to understand and as long as we are human war is inevitable in any capacity. But this doesn't have to be the final answer, I believe that one day war will be snuffed out, however long that may take. So for the time being let us show our respect for the people in the war and not the cause.

Saturday and Sunday were a blur to me. I spent most of them shopping at what better place but an island and east coast craft fair! Saturday night was filled with browsing antique tables, sampling island potatos and cheese cake, and riffling through piles of treasures. All the while jaw dragging on the floor as I gazed at the continual wave of island creativity and craftsmanship. I had many educational conversations with venders about their porduct, how was it made? Where was it made? How long have you been doing this? Most of the answers that came back were similar. "It was made in my basement on my moms old kitchen table and I've been doing it for 20 odd years."

Though Saturdays craft fair was lovely, it favoured to the antique side of things and already found objects. Sundays craft fair was handmade crafts wall to wall. I have never seen so much creativity in one room and it was all local! I wanted to support every artist there and if I weren't a student I probablly would have. There was pottery spun to perfection with crisp artistic detail, jewlery crafted so eligantly it would have sold millions at Tiffany's, wood workings so delicate and stunning it took my breath away, and paintings vivid and saturated in rich colour it looked like a scene from a Disney film. I didn't want to leave, I wanted to stay wrapped in this air of original and imagintive craftsmanship. But what I loved most about these craft fairs is the connection between the artists. Venders would leave their stations and wander over to venders of a similar craft. They would trade secrets, stories of how they came to be a business, and what inspires their work. When asked why they do it the resounding answer is: Because I love it.

The next best thing about these craft fairs is that every artist there is two pennies shy from being as poor as a church mouse and yet they all buy each others work. It's not about the money, it's about supporting and encouraging one another. Being a starving artist myself I could not resist the erge to support these artists. I didn't just buy their product and walked away, I engaged in converstation, complimented on their work, and encouraged them. Sometimes genuinely marvelling at and appreciating an art piece is just as wonderful as buying it, although shelling out a few bucks to help pay the bills doesn't hurt either, wink, wink. Did I mention I was a starving artist?

After a successful day at the craft fair I headed home, my new found treasures tucked under my arm. As I stepped outside I heard a ribbon of music drifting through the air. My first thought was that it was some comfortable back ground music for a cafe near by, but as I rounded the corner there was a man sitting there dripping the streets of Charlottetown in sonorous clarinet melodies. My heart melted and it was the perfect ending to my day. I gingerly walked up to him, pulled out a few dollars and plunked them into his open case. He stopped playing immediately, stood up and introduced himself to me, "Hello darling, how are you? My name is Joseph, thank you so much. Very kind of you." His voice was as melodious as his intrustment thick in a chocolate Italian accent, his eyes kind and genuinely grateful. We chatted for a minute he told me his life story, he embraced me and then went back to doing what he loved to do.

I was all smiles on the way home my heart bursting with inspiration. Could this day get any better? Yes! While sitting on my favourite bench in the park, sipping an exceptionally well made carmel macchiato, I witnessed a dazzling PEI sunset. The sky looked like plums in winter and pink ballet shoes on the windowsill with loud streaks of gold. Like something out of a Hitchcock film, hundreds of crows came to roost in the trees by the Governors house, and across the water down by the army base a marching band was practicing. The whole evening was loud and resounding. It's as if the world was celebrating and taking pride in itself and so it should be. The world is a work of divine Craftsmanship. Molded, woven, painted and spun in so much tremendous detail that not even the most gifted artist can capture.

So here is my charge to you: wander aimlessly for an afternoon, absorb the texture of sunlight on rocks, spend hours following the map of viens on a maple leaf, and simply sit still and drink in your surroundings. And when you think of it breath a prayer of thanks to the Artist. The beauty around us is a divine gift.   

                                             Me icing the cake with chocolate butter cream.

                                                    Loading the canon

                                                Crazy weather. Crazy girl.

                   That is a loaf of bread, chiffon cake, and chocolate cook book. Just a regular day.

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