No Flypast This Day

Soldier's Corner...the Victoria War Memorial. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

Soldier’s Corner…the Victoria War Memorial.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

The day seems to bring few words and then…

I slip upon mon tete my hat from Juno Beach, place the camera bag over my shoulder and adjust my poppy. It is time to take up the trail.

I start the walk towards the memorial. This day it wants to rain…it wants the cold…elements I do not care for, (but others endured and so will I – this is truly not that bad – it is the years upon my person finding their edge). I continue to turn the corners towards my destination. Perching myself beside one large and familiar tree I wait…I watch…near 90 minutes as the crowd fills the view before me. Few programs, we are told, were produced…we were not expecting such a large crowd. It is with this voice I see them…on this day from before…those familiar edged faces here amongst the gathering, on these same grounds, about these same trees we stood…today…just different faces…some I will try to remember.

Sentries this day. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

Sentries this day.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

In my soft eyed way my eyes close as the black beret of a Desert Rat returns…the aged sailor whose cap of the Atlantic, like him, is no longer with us and the elder swagger of the pilot whose awards danced swing mounted from his chest. Many I knew to speak to…to share, sometimes once a year, sometimes often, tea and beverages, biscuits, kindness, laughter and heartfelt reminiscences. At our gathering this day I would welcome services canteens brimming with coffees and teas, a warm biscuit…follow the queue…wait your turnwill the rations shorten today’s supplies…I return to my perch of today.

The cold and the damp and still we came. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

The cold and the damp and still we came.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

Umbrellas break open reaching above persons, keeping mother, junior and dad dry, The leaves are my overhang for the day as solitary twigs break away finding my Juno topper on regular intervals…squirrels or birds they have voice too (hmm). The colours on my immediate horizon now mostly dark, but colour is welcome. Blooms of floral print…abstractions and single red flowers on these bumbershoots, caps and lapels and so it begins. The camera is on – the snaps will follow.

And No Birds Sang...nature's flypast. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

And No Birds Sang…nature’s flypast.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

There is no flypast this day but in the distance a gathering of birds finds flight attempting to find direction for themselves…Not so out of place methinks, as we struggle with all before us this day, and still we came. I am reminded in this flight And No Birds Sang. My eyes reopen, the birds now gone perhaps upon a perch to sit and bring birdsong…we can hope…

From my perch the camera is on...the snaps will follow. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

From my perch the camera is on…the snaps will follow.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

I listen to new homage in voice and benediction. The padre finds his words this day…ones I appreciate for the seemingly way of finding truth from caricature of words and heart. The lament , the bugle, wreath and poppies remain with me…and then…we can go.

Sentries, wreaths, poppies and memorial. The camera finds the places. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

Sentries, wreaths, poppies and memorial. The camera finds the places.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

The droplets find their way to our persons as I linger below my tree but soon advance on soldier’s corner. I feel the damp, the cold…and the ache has returned…soon I will need to find the comfort of a chair. As I return to the path, back to hearth I still think upon what words this day? Today I have felt I have not contributed as much as usual…other doors will open and I as I wander…a bit of upward lift…a passing woman smiles and provides two thumbs up…I smile as we pass…I think it’s the hat…Juno Beach…Normandy…France. What days she knows I wonder of this beach and its stories and soon words will come with this day…this fable of birds and self.

The good cap from Juno Beach. The camera bag from across Gallipoli and the Western Front. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

The good cap from Juno Beach. The camera bag from across Gallipoli and the Western Front.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

I arrive at hearth and home and remove Juno…take from my shoulder the camera bag and soon find my thumb has found the needle point of a poppy pin. A small droplet of life delivers itself to my surface…deep red in colour…and in this small bit of hurt I find the birds have sung…I have found my way this day…they gave their all…and indeed….I have remembered.

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Published earlier this Day Short Days Ago website.


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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