Ahoy! It's a small world

Posted by Kitara Julian On 11:14 AM

Question: “Where were you in the Solar System a month ago?”

Answer: “80 million kilometres, or 49 million miles from where you are right now.”

The elections here in Canada are history. Not all eligible citizens voted. Multitudes stayed away, not exercising their democratic rights. Maybe they had reasons for doing so?
All I can say is, as an artist, the results don’t bode well, considering what our government ‘thinks’ about the Arts. Already we’re placed into a begging status; funding has been cut and cut over the past few decades. (And even before the cuts, it wasn’t in good shape before the surgery). Enough said about this.

Recently the very last cruise ship of the Alaska season came and went. Many passengers take pre-packaged ‘shore excursions’, while others end up strolling around our neighbourhood of James Bay.
On my daily excursions, shopping for fresh groceries, I often meet a few passengers. That’s no surprise since the ships dock nearby at Ogden Point, 500 metres from where we live. What made a recent encounter very different was the fact that a woman came up to me while I was pushing the grocery cart along in the supermarket. She was with her husband.
“Mr. van Bentum, what a surprise! How good to see you. Remember us? My name’s Jennifer Trenholme and this is my husband, Paul. I was a student in your Small is Beautiful art class aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 a few years’ ago, on the Xmas/New Year’s sailing.”
I didn’t recognized them since they were decked out in anoraks, quite different from attire aboard QE2. “Hello. Good to see you again. Natasha and I live here in James Bay”, I replied.
Jennifer went on, “Ah yes, now I recall your speaking in art class about Victoria. Well, what a small world. We’re sailing with the Celebrity ship which docked this morning. We’ve just come from Alaska and soon head back to England.

Paul and I also wanted to see for ourselves the impact global warming is having on the glaciers. By chance we came across this store, we’d like to get some genuine Canadian maple syrup. It’s a real treat in England to put on “pancakes”, as you call them.
This is a beautiful region; we’re going on a tour after lunch to visit the “Centre of the Universe” at the Observatory.
"Mr. van Bentum, I wanted to let you know how much I learned from you in the art classes; am still using those professional quality Watercolour Pencils you introduced in your ‘art afloat’ workshops.
Are you going to continue teaching o/b other ships now the venerable QE2 will soon be out of service?” I replied. “Yes, the new “Queen Victoria” is on our horizon.” “Oh good!”, she exclaimed. We’ll have to book whichever voyage you’re taking, that would be great.”
I told them Natasha and I don’t have a car, otherwise “we’d take you on a tour ourselves. But in the meantime, since your ship is docked close to our apartment, when you depart later this afternoon, look out for us. We’ll be waving a bright golden-yellow towel (“Deep Cadmium”!) from our balcony. You should be able to spot us from aft or port side of your ship. In the meantime, enjoy beautiful Victoria, and we may see you aboard “Queen Victoria”. Bon voyage! And safe journey home.”

Yes, it’s a small world after all. Our planet is getting smaller by the day, it seems, while we’re orbiting around the Sun at 29.85 kilometres per second (that’s 18.55 miles per second), zoooooooooming through space. Signing off, Henri

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