Tears of Heaven

As the clouds gather. The present day Cloth Hall. - a reminder to us all of both war and accomplishment.  (P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

As the clouds gather. The present-day Cloth Hall – a reminder to us all, of both war and accomplishment.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

Thread Three

We awake to the sound of church bells announcing that our day is to begin. Refreshed and reinvented, our breakfast and table furnishings delight the soul as I continue to refine a short piece for the Western Front Association.

Our day takes us to the In Flanders Fields Museum where the current temporary exhibit Traces of War provides an engrossing and not unwieldy examination of First World War archaeology. Taking the bus to Zonnebeke, I at long last remember to photograph a Canadian artillery plaque anchored to an exterior wall of the church. We visit at the Zonnebeke Research Centre and then turn towards the Memorial Museum where, yet again, one always finds something new to focus upon.

Returning to Ieper (Ypres) aboard the number 94 bus, we attend the Last Post ceremony, meeting new friends and where I truly begin to understand the powerful symbolism of the 90th anniversary of the British Legion Great Pilgrimage. This year’s journey, by thousands of pilgrims, in commemoration of the last 100 days of the Great War, is a marvel of logistics and will be rewarding for all who attend here this eighth day of August.

After a day and a half of heat we are caught, at the end of the day, in a storm, the lightning – as if flares – and the roar of thunder – as if artillery. The Cloth Hall lights up time and time again as the sheets of lightning bask the building in a familiar glow of torment. Knowing what this building has endured and how it has risen reborn to Ieper, it is a gift to us all who seek an understanding of peace from conflict.

As we walk the rain-refreshed path back to our Ieper home I remind myself again, it’s better when it rains, these tears of heaven.


About The Author

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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