November 2018
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To the Light of the Morning…

Posted By on November 11, 2018

The inscription on Private W. Fletcher’s, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, grave at Ypres...Some Day We’ll Understand. (P. Ferguson image, 9 November 2018)

The inscription on Private W. Fletcher’s grave at Ypres, Belgium…Some Day We’ll Understand.
(P. Ferguson image, 9 November 2018)

…I’ll let it in

This day, 11 November 2018…a hundred years has passed and in my time I have hoped to bring to you…connection. These words have followed my path as I have followed the trails of the Great War from the June heat of Gallipoli to the cold gusts of a November Western Front.

It was not long ago that I wrote the 100ths are soon upon us…and now, a little more than four years later, it is time. Not to let it go…but to let it rest…there is more to follow…but for now, allow me this chance for quiet thoughts…to rejoice in today’s silence…some regeneration…but a few more lines please…

…In August 2018  I visited here at the Menin Gate, bringing Rosemary to this and all the other places that I have experienced. Vimy…Thiepval…Spoilbank, and more. I have mentioned, many times, searching for peace in the chaos…I have found new ways, new designs, new messages…I have become more aware. I have invited connection…and it has provided. There is symbolism here, there is metaphor…there is peace in this chaos. One needs to let it in…

If the Great War teaches us anything, it is that it continues to provide its lessons…It offered me the chance to find a voice and I accepted…I can only hope that in some small way I have, through my clatterings, found the voices of those with whom I have visited whilst searching for my peace.

In August last year Rosemary and I stayed in Ieper (Ypres) and discovered a kindred spirit…Elodie…whose similar taste in music offered another chance at reclaiming the peace I sought. Through Elodie, we discovered Bon Iver. I was connected immediately. Again this morning, at 8:22 a.m., its words came to visit once again…I have searched for its meaning…you can too…It is, for Bon Iver, an awakening of understanding…it is a metaphor of my journey…to the light of the morning…peace in the chaos…if we let it in…

To all those who served…We all have a voice.

Thank you!

Great War Remembered Concert – 2018

Posted By on November 10, 2018

St. Martin's Cathedral, Ieper (Ypres), Belgium (P. Ferguson image, September 2010)

St. Martin’s Cathedral, Ieper (Ypres), Belgium
(P. Ferguson image, September 2010)

St. Martin’s Cathedral: The Great War Remembered Concert

We have steadied ourselves against the wind as we wait for the wooden doors to open. There are many of us here outside amidst the gusts of wind. Awaiting the performance, we watch as seats fill…several have been before but today is a first for this part of western Canada.

Interior of St. martin's Cathedral. (P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

Interior of St. martin’s Cathedral.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

Though I snap several pictures I have preloaded other images anticipating that one would be occupied with sound, voice, music, narration and light. I am not disappointed in our evening, this 9th of November, 2018. I have absorbed deeply a great feeling of connection here amongst those assembled. There is connected emotion here, not manufactured…it is heartfelt as fingers reach for the corners of the eyes. Some sit bowed in feeling…the songs carry…there are angels here amongst us…and after more than four years of war why not…why not believe in angels?

The Crucifix at St. Martin's Cathedral. (P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

The Crucifix at St. Martin’s Cathedral.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

And the leaves of the tree…

Posted By on November 10, 2018

Memorial Avenue sign toppers.

Memorial Avenue sign topper, Shelbourne Street, Victoria, BC. Placed In commemoration of Great War Memorial trees rededicated 2018.
(P. Ferguson image, October 2018)

…were for the healing of the nations
Revelations XXII.2

Today we gather our thoughts before the day ahead. Tomorrow…what will we feel…what is to be…?

Still – this day, is a chance for gathering our thoughts before the morrow…it is a chance to pause previous to the emotions of the current ending. I often speak of regeneration in these places of conflict…finding peace in this former chaos, finding ourselves amongst those who have been…and remain. Knowing too that a bit more than twenty years after this peace, the chaos returns…Lucifer again amongst the tumult of all survivor’s memories and their children’s new war…a second world war, does not pass this day unrecognized.

In search of the Great War’s peace I have wondered what might be found to add to these clatterings of mine? Today the words were found…thanks to another….one soldier, one mother who chose her son’s inscription in search of peace from this chaos. Today one image was found…lest we forget…here at home.

Laura Hoare chose the biblical inscription that leads our day. It is the focus for our interests after the Great War…healing…rebuilding…memorialization…hope…closure. Laura’s son, Captain Richard Lennard Hoare (12th London Regiment “The Rangers”) died  on the first day of the Somme 1 July 1916 and is buried at Gommecourt British Cemetery No. 2, Hebuterne, France…and though I have not been…I will go…one day…not this day…soon…its about healing.

Dancing On My Own

Posted By on November 9, 2018

In memory of Sergeant F.W. Jestico, Royal Sussex Regiment. In Loving Memory of My Dear Husband Until We Meet. (P. Ferguson image, 9 November 2018)

In memory of Sergeant F.W. Jestico, Royal Sussex Regiment. In Loving Memory of My Dear Husband Until We Meet.
(P. Ferguson image, 9 November 2018)

For the pilgrims

The bells are striking nine this morning in Ieper (Ypres) as we sit amongst the goodness of this a.m. feasting. The morning window is fresh and, through its clarity, I see the stretching greenery in search of rejuvenating sunlight.

I struggle finding my thoughts this morning but happen upon a phrase to work with. Pilgrims…we saw them last night as Canada arrived at Ieper…pilgrims…soldiers…pipes and drums…locals…the bugles of the Ieper Fire Brigade. Visitors crane their necks skywards reading their names…one over one…some are their ancestors.

Why do we visit here? I am fortunate to be here more often than most but when thinking last night and early this a.m. it’s…for the pilgrims…the families…who knew how they lived…and to the wives and sweethearts who hoped or remembered forever one last dance.

Meanwhile…on the buses

Posted By on November 8, 2018

Poppy wreath at Chelsea Barracks.

On the way to the National Army Museum. Poppy wreath at Chelsea Barracks.
(P. Ferguson image, 7 November 2018)

Lest We Forget

The day begins with a walk to the National Army Museum [NAM]. Along the way a Poppy Appeal bus attracts my attention. Quickly the camera is out, but the bus changes course…we continue along our urban streetscape, pass by wreaths adorning shops, Chelsea Barracks and a remembrance display at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

After viewing the exhibits, tea and a walnut/coffee slice of deliciousness at the NAM we wander down the King’s Road towards Sloane Square. And there it is…. a Number 11 Fulham Broadway, white bus with red poppies. Though in previous years various bus routes have similarly been adorned one cannot help but think that, this centenary year, the Number 11 has been chosen specially…the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Thankfully, for me, the bus is caught in traffic, and the driver’s plights is to my benefit. The delayed traffic, not uncommon here, provides time for a fine picture and a thumbs up from the driver. It makes me smile.

Poppy Appeal bus.

The Number 11 Poppy Appeal bus along the King’s Road, London.
(P. Ferguson image, 7 November 2018)

Still I am not unaware that remembrance is for all conflicts and with the bus adornment I cannot help but think of On the Buses, an English sitcom that ran from 1969-1973. Amongst the characters, Inspector Cyril “Blakey” Blake, an India and Burma campaign veteran of the Second World War. Inspector Blake was always in the throes of keeping one particular driver named Stan Butler in line. The inspector endured relentless antagonism though he equally conspired against driver Butler. Occasionally “Blakey” was equal in his comebacks with his antagonist Stan (I’ll get you for this Butler!).

Stan: What did you do in the war Blakey? 

Blakey: Making the world a better place for the likes of you Butler!

…we are at the Imperial War Museum now for a second visit and after some wandering and tea [no cake] we head for the bus stop that take us across Vauxhall Bridge Road to Tate Britain. Sadly the art exhibition I seek Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One is no longer in place, but whilst at the Tate there are a few bonuses.

Another exhibit Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-33 is on at Tate Modern. Exhibition catalogues for both installations are available..alas another bus ride is in order, but not today. Around the corner of Tate Britain I photograph evidence of the Second World War blitz along the building’s side. Both world wars were here too in London…Zeppelins and Gothas, Heinkels and Dorniers.

…and meanwhile…there is another bus…another reminder, prior to our arrival at the Tate..a green Clarke’s carriage with single poppy and lighted station stop Lest We Forget.

Lest We Forget

On the buses...Lest We Forget...
(P. Ferguson image, 7 November 2018)