Thursday, June 15, 2017

Our arrival on this planet

I wrote this after seeing a photograph of a friend's father in RAF uniform during WWII. It made me think how obvious our lives seem, seen from our present day perspective, and yet how chancy it all was. My own father fought in WWI, was badly wounded in Palestine and could easily have died there out in the desert sand. What then, finished before I began.

Up in the night sky the sound of aircraft, somewhere over the fields the sound of Ack-Ack and falling bombs, but in the upstairs bedroom Becky was struggling to give birth. There was nurse Bodkin as usual, but sitting in the chair under the low thatched roof there was a different doctor, a young and unsure fellow, because the regular man had been killed, drowned, during the Dunkirk evacuation. This was wartime Britain, 1942, and I was slow to venture down the birth canal. It must have felt safer to stay, given the circumstances.

Let nature take its course.”, said the doctor, crossing his fingers. No, now we must help, thought the nurse, but of course she could not take command when a doctor was present. Eventually out I popped, but that was not the end, because I had my brother, someone I had been close to for many months, waiting in line. The doctor dithered some more, the nurse insisted at last, but baby number two was dead on arrival. Another wartime casualty.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Along the Shore

Full of blossom, the fruit tree clings to a rocky cleft along the shores of Ruckle Park, here on Saltspring Island. I have seen its parent tree go from youth to maturity to dead and gone, a stick lying haphazardly among the sandstone rocks, and have watched its offspring struggle to grow and survive summer droughts and the cold, salt-spray filled months of many winters. Here now it puts out a million flowers beside the sea. I choose to photograph it within its natural setting rather than produce yet another 'blossom' image. It is its life's struggle that is important about this particular tree, its rightful place along the shore.