As the Stars are Known to the Night

Waiting for the stars above Flanders. The Kasteelgracht near to the Menin Gate Memorial. (P. Ferguson image, September 2006)

Waiting for the stars above Flanders. The Kasteelgracht near to the Menin Gate Memorial.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2006)

Remembrance

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.
Augustine Mandino II (Author and WWII USAAF B-24 Bombardier)

This one night, seemingly so long ago, I lie awake looking from the window of our Brandhoek stay. The view is the stillness of the indigo blue-black night, the quiet beckoning of the stars. There are shapes to see and mist around the forms. It is the end of the day. Nearby, soldiers rest at Brandhoek’s cemeteries. That evening vision has remained with me, that night between Ypres and Poperinghe…so often I wish, perchance, to have this night…to show it here…it is not to be.

The Rosary. Shoeing Smith W. Allen, "B" Battery, 177th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Killed 27 July 1917, age 31. Brandhoek New Military Cemetery. (P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

The Rosary. Shoeing Smith W. Allen, “B” Battery, 177th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Killed 27 July 1917, age 31. Brandhoek New Military Cemetery.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

Brandhoek is a small hamlet once used as a Casualty Clearing Station and Field Ambulance during the war that consumed this region from 1914 – 1918. Here we find Brandhoek Military Cemetery (601 burials), Brandhoek New Military Cemetery (514 burials) and Brandhoek New Military Cemetery No. 3 (849 burials).

And here all the light we cannot see…as the stars are known to the night. Stories of lives lived…if we can only find the keys, like the rosary hanging from one marker…there is story here. At light…at darkness, beneath the indigo blue-black night where stars shine above the mist and forms that is Flanders remembered.


About The Author

pferguson
Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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