Two Bald Eagles on our Roof

Posted by Kitara Julian On 3:37 PM 0 comments
For those who live in the city, we share with you the recent visits of some wildlife. We live in an eleven-story apartment building right on Juan de Fuca Strait at the Pacific Ocean.
Two days ago, a pair of Bald Eagles decided to make our roof their cosy home. They’re called ‘Bald’ but of course that’s a misnomer. The top of their head is covered with white plumage.
I am sure these two "marauders" are plotting ways of tormenting, if not getting rid of altogether, the Blue Herons who recently started to return to the high firs in Beacon Hill Park.
We say this, because last year, a female Godzilla Eagle, all by herself, ransacked and destroyed the Blue Heron rookery in the Park.
We love both the Eagle and the Heron. What’s one to do? Not much, let Nature take its course I guess. Another visitor of late is an Elephant Seals, weighing tons, just washed up nearby here on Vancouver Island.
Then at the other end of the scale are the Hummingbirds; some species normally only found in warmer climes to the south are now being spotted more and more.
The Orcas and Salmon are become scarcer, that’s not good news. Seals, orcas and grizzlies are blamed for depleting the salmon, but how about we humans, and fish farms? We consume this delicacy on a regular basis, including ourselves. All sorts of factors including pollution and global climate change result in tricky things, creating all kinds of upheavals in the magical realm of Nature.
Bears are also spotted more close to human habitation. We’re removing their habitat and food sources, so are they not allowed to live? Small wonder that on a few occasions there are encounters between the bears and us (the spoilers and intruders) in what was their territory, their domain, until recently. There were here long before us.
Where will it all end? In the meanwhile we keep looking for other newcomers, but when we spot pink dolphins from the Amazon then we’ll really know all is not as it should be. In the meanwhile, that pair of Bald Eagles above our heads are plotting something. Just as well we don’t speak their language, or they, ours. Signing off, Henri

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From Holy Bishop to Ho-Ho-Ho Santa

Posted by Kitara Julian On 11:34 AM 0 comments
Some people look upon the word “Xmas” as sacrilegious, but it comes from the Greek “Xristos”, Christ. Xmas has been used in the UK for centuries. My previous post mentioned the third century Bishop from Smyrna, Nicholas and how we knew him in my childhood in the Lowlands, as Sinterklaas or St. Nicolaas. (Who in turn became North America’s “Santa Claus”.)
In the Netherlands and Flanders, St. Nicolaas rides a horse and is accompanied by Zwarte Piet (Black Peter), a Moor.
Santa Claus rides a sleigh pulled by reindeer. And of course back at the North Pole he’s got his helpers, the elves.
In my boyhood, Sinterklaas was “the” day of the holiday season, much more anticipated than Xmas Day. On the eve of December fifth, we put out our wooden shoes, shoes or slippers with an apple, carrot, or any tasty bit for the horse of Sinterklaas. [December 5 because that was the day of the original Saint Nicolaas’ birthday.]
Needless to say, during the night of December 5, time seemed to pass slowly. Our little hearts bounced with great expectations. We knew whether we’d been naughty on a few occasions during the year, but hoped the good man had forgiven these small ‘side-steps’.So you see, not much different from Santa Claus, and Christmas Eve, here in North America, except almost 3 weeks’ earlier.
When a young boy I recall a few occasions close to Xmas Day when father came home with a small conifer tree. There’d be white candles placed on the branches, and father always put a bucket of water beside the tree, in case of fire. There were no presents or toys since these had already been given on Sinterklaas Day. Sometimes father would hang apples on the small tree (having selected one with sturdy branches to bear the weight). Then there’d be no candles or any other decoration.
Later I learned from my maternal grandfather this was a tradition practised back in the eleventh century and symbolized the Tree of Paradise. At one time, maybe still somewhere in the world,
December 24 was celebrated as the Feast Day of Adam and Eve.
It wasn’t until 1841 when Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert of Germany installed a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle. From there the tradition of trees reached out to rich and poor alike. We all have our unique childhood memories, mine go back to Sinterklaas Day much more than December 25.

[There’s a new field called “psychophysiology”; yesterday we read an article about how for example experiences and memories of joy, or sadness for some, around the holiday season can be mapped in our brains and effect our subsequent frame of mind around Christmastime. For many people the family gathering can be very stressful, especially if they feel forced to “put on a happy face”. You can’t fool your brain though].
I like “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas, especially the recording read by the poet himself. All these traditions based on folklore, mythology and pagan history are just as interwoven, complex (and sometimes confusing), as we humans. And “memories” are made of all this.
Here’s a quote from “The Pickwick Papers” by Charles Dickens, who wrote in 1836, five years before Queen Victoria had her first Christmas tree:
Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own friends and his quiet home.”

Signing off for now, Henri


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"The Night Before Christmas”, a poem written in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore, heralded Santa Claus in America. Or so the story goes. But centuries before, (280-342 AD) to be exact, Bishop Nicholas of Smyrna in Turkey brought joy to poor children by strewing gifts and goodies their way on his birthday.
That’s the same Sinterklaas (Flemish) and Sint-Nicolaas (Netherlands) we celebrate on the eve of December 5th (or the morning of the 6th), the birth date of the Bishop. And Saint Nicholas as we call him is patron saint of children.
The pilgrims of Holland brought this tradition to America in the 17th century, also to New York (formerly Nieuw Amsterdam).
From there the Santa Claus morphed into the jolly friendly fellow we know today, continuing to enchant children wherever he goes on his sleigh, the famous sleigh powered by reindeer.
Speaking of which, my favourite Yuletide carol is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. It is one of the very few with a deeper message and which few seem to realize.
Nobody cared much for Rudolph. He was a laughing-stock and wasn’t allowed to play with the other reindeer. He was ridiculed, mocked or ignored, until Santa recognized great merit in that glowing nose. (Read: as in recognizing his worth and talent.)
Then of course all the other reindeer loved Rudolph. The message in Rudolph’s song isn’t unlike the story by Hans Christian Andersen of the “Ugly Ducking”, who turned out be a swan.
[Just like we all ‘love’ Vincent van Gogh or other artists, now that they’ve been universally recognized, a century or more after they were living and breathing amongst us.]
Getting back to the song, it was Gene Autry, the legendary “singing cowboy”, who made an evergreen recording in 1949. That’s when I heard it, during one of my transatlantic sailings with Holland America Line to the New World, when I worked as a steward in the first-class dining room.
Then, we also heard Gene Autry singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” back home on Radio Luxembourg, broadcast station for the U.S. Army in Europe. (That’s where I learned my first English, through Radio Luxembourg.)
Then, there is the Scandinavian tradition (where the word “Yuletide” originates), with its Festival of Light. Yule has its origin from a Scandinavian word (e.g. in Finnish it’s “Joul”) and means ‘feast’.
Also there is the Norse mythology of Thor, the God of Thunder. He would fly through the sky in a sleigh pulled by magical goats. (And in the American song, the seventh reindeer is named “Donder”, which in my native tongue translates as “Thunder”). Pagan traditions, ancient mythologies and history, all mixed up. More to come on the subject. Signing off, Henri


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Trying Times, Keep on Trying

Posted by Kitara Julian On 2:19 PM 0 comments
What I find truly amazing is the newly-elected government of the Maldives, an archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean, is seriously considering buying a whole new land for its 380,000 citizens.
Reason – the ocean level is rising by the month, and the atolls of the Maldives are in great danger of becoming submerged. The highest point of land is only 2.4 metres above sea level.
We had the privilege and experience of visiting the Maldives on several occasions by ship. It’s made up of a chain of 1,200 islands and coral atolls about 500 miles from the tip of the Indian continent. The new president, 41-year old Mohamed Nasheed, is a human rights activist who was once imprisoned (a former political prisoner, like Nelson Mandela). He started his tenure in the islands’ capital of Male last week. This is the Maldives’ first democratically-elected president.
According to the report, tourism brings in $1 billion a year, so there is ‘cash’ for this colossal real-estate acquisition in the making. They will create a “sovereign wealth fund”.
President Nasheed, also known as “Anni”, is preparing for a mass exodus. He’s eyeing and enormous tract of land in either Sri Lanka, India or Australia as options to safeguard his people from becoming the first climate change refugees.
“We can do nothing to stop climate change on our own and so we have to buy land elsewhere. It’s an insurance policy for the worst possible outcome
,” he said. “We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades.”
Here we have one of several nations becoming victim of this human-caused problem. Cause and effect. Gratifying to see that at least somewhere, one leader is concerned about his people’s safety and well-being. Signing off for now, Henri

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Poinsettia Trees in the Caribbean

Posted by Kitara Julian On 4:59 PM 0 comments
We belong to a club here in Victoria. Mostly because of our interest in billiards and snooker.

The club has three professional-quality billiards tables. Snooker requires concentration, awareness, decision-making and mental mathematics, and creates a fellowship amongst other aspects. The aficionados play regularly, not only for the joy of it, but many play to compete in tournaments. (Plus, it’s good exercise, mentally and physically.) Both Single and Double tournaments are held throughout the year.

I am a novice, with a handicap of +25. Recently a friend of ours, a very good billiards player, created a new game called Zen Billiards. Last weekend a visiting club from another city came over for a big annual tournament, Doubles on Saturday and Singles on Sunday. Both tournaments were won by the visiting squad but Victoria put in a fair show. (I was a spectator in the gallery.)

But hold on, we’re getting side-tracked here.

Yesterday when visiting the club, we noticed two sentinels from the Nutcracker Suite standing at the entrance, while indoors more glimpses of the “Ho-ho” season could be found, gnomes sitting atop mantelpieces and other Xmas decor or pixies on shelves. The decorations are elegant, not the usual sort of ‘tinsel’.

No sign of the traditional Big Tree yet, or the neat rows of bright-red poinsettias, stationed neatly on the steps of the main stairwell. Yet, these harbingers signalled loud and clear the Holiday Season is upon us. Following a couple of rounds of snooker, I rested in the spacious reading room, while Natasha did some computer work in the Business Centre. In between resting, slumbering and resting (yes, it’s that kind of Club where in the old days only gentlemen could be found snoozing behind the daily paper, a la “Drone Club” of Wodehouse fame), I was transported in my reveries back to the Caribbean one year ago. At that time I was guest artist aboard an ocean liner, the QE2.

We’d called on Dominica, a beautiful and lush island. It was December, and while exploring the island, we noticed everywhere tall poinsettia trees, glowing with complementary red and green colours.

Throughout the Lesser Antilles, in the sweltering heat and humidity, at each port of call shops were overflowing with ‘snowmen’, Santas with reindeers and snowflake decorations on windows and doors. “Have you ever seen snow?”, I asked one of our guides. No, she hadn’t , but she knew all about mistletoe, holly and that famous reindeer with the red nose, Rudolf.

Not only in the Caribbean, but in December throughout Central and South America in tropical regions, Santa rules.

But what is all this “Ho-ho-ho” all about, which gobbles us all up into commercial temptations and deck halls?

How did those three kings, those three wise men, know a Saviour was born? From the stars, we’re told. Yes, there was the star above Bethlehem. And shepherds, who as the story goes, were told by an angel to go 'towards the bright Star shining in the East, for there in Bethlehem in a stable, the Saviour was born.' All well and good for those wise Men, they were star-gazers, ‘studiers’ of the constellations, or astrology. I wonder when people sing their Xmas carols, if they have any idea what it was that led the three kings to the saviour?

And what about the iconic Christmas tree. Do conifers and pine trees grow in the desert lands? Date palms, yes. Cedars of Lebanon, yes. As most people now, our Christmas tree goes back a long way, to pagan and Druid times. The time of the Winter Solstice, the return of the ‘newborn’ Light. Enough said for now. I’ll just go and wonder, wander and ponder some more. Ho-ho-ho! Henri


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Micro - Macro Cosmos revealed

Posted by Kitara Julian On 2:09 PM 0 comments
At the same time we hear “science is mystified or baffled” about something, or that “science says” our spaceship Ocean Earth is in more and more peril, remarkable discoveries are made by scientists.
Yesterday we learned a team of scientists announced an “unprecedented discovery” of phenomena light-years away: three more planets circling around another Sun have been spotted. Apparently this is the first time images of several planets around a star outside our solar system have been captured.
Meanwhile Hubble keeps peering deeper into space, sending back more and more breathtaking macroscopic images. (I still wonder, “where did all that Space come from, for the whole universe to dance in?)
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, and not wishing to go unnoticed, the microscopic world reveals itself, making headline news as well.
This week Santiago Costantino, a physicist at University of Montreal recreated Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” at 200 microns, about the width of two human hairs.
He arranged the image ‘pixel by pixel’ and aimed a laser through a microscopic lens to arrange molecules in the liquid to form the famous image. Costantino explained the aim of this laser technique is to help medical researchers:
the laser can create intricate protein patterns in the lab that researchers can use to test how nerve cells might be re-grown - the first step toward the long-term goal of repairing spinal cord injuries and other nerve damage”.
This same week we learned in Japan the world’s smallest engagement ring has been created: a diamond 5 billionths of a carat, 300 nanometres thick and 5 micrometres across.
It was made by carving out a circular structure in an artificially- made diamond. It will be used to access single photons, the basis for developing quantum computers. The ring can only be seen with a microscope. (No kidding!) And I thought my father was a genius, when he put 52 facets on a 0.20 point diamond.
Many years ago, on one of our journeys to Mexico, we met a local artist on the beach. His specialty was to carve your name on a grain of rice, which he’d put on a string and you could wear around your neck. He did this without glasses or magnification instruments. This is quite commonly seen today, but in those days it seemed absolutely amazing.
Back in the 1960s, the first images became available to the public of minerals or crystals magnified by an electron microscope. These were vistas never before seen and which carried the viewer into another realm. I used to call them, and still do, images of ‘never-ever land’.
Sometimes the resemblance between the multi-coloured splendour and sparkle of images from space (such as the extraordinary nebulae captured by Hubble we see today), and those from the microscopic world are so similar, it is uncanny, revealing the micro and the macro world are one.
However, what is interesting is that before I personally ever witnessed such images, I was already depicting imagery of a micro/macro nature, but born from intuition and experimentation. (See images of paintings here.) Evidence that the creative mind is a vehicle of the zeitgeist and can function as a harbinger of the future.
Keep on discovering! Henri


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We live right at the Pacific Ocean and from our window have an unobstructed view of Juan de Fuca Strait, the Olympic range of Washington, and much of Victoria. When a rainbow appears, we can ‘capture’ it, if alert and ready.
This photo was taken by Natasha with her mobile this morning, November 10 at 10h00 Pacific time. The ‘raincircle’ spectrum hat, I acquired in the Canary Islands from a handicapped woman who crocheted it herself.
When teaching art aboard ship, most recently with venerable QE2. Tomorrow, November 11, she sails on her final voyage, heading ‘into the sunset’ in Dubai.
We give a different theme every day, and the passenger-students have to draw mostly on their imagination. At first this can be quite challenging for many people, however even those with the most difficultly to ignite their imagination, ‘take off’ once they see the theme of the day is: rainbow fantasy. (See here an example of one of my students.) In no time, their efforts are transformed into joyous rainbow colours. Maybe for the first time in a long while, they have connected again with their inner child.
Scientists, thinkers and polymaths have tried for a long time to analyze the phenomena of a rainbow. Poets and artists express their feelings and impressions back to the world. Children always find inspiration and joy in depicting this magic “bow” of colours.
It is the rainbow which teaches (long before the advent of art schools) what happens when you mix the three primary colours (Red, Yellow, Blue): you create the secondary colours (Orange, Green, Violet). I wonder how our “Lucy” ancestors must have felt upon first seeing a rainbow. What were they thinking when witnessing this mysterious and magical arch of colours? How did they feel? Joy? Fear? Wonder? Happiness? Did they utter “Wow”, “Ah”, “Oh”, like we do, or better still, take it in with awe and silence?

Here’s a poem I wrote awhile back. Happy Trails, Henri

“Cry O Sun

Smile O Rain

Cry O Rain

Smile O Sun

Only your union

Creates a Rainbow”


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"Ah, when we will ever learn . . "

Posted by Kitara Julian On 9:02 AM 0 comments

These grey and “early-dark” days of November are once again upon us. All the leaves destined to part from their “tree home” will soon leave bare branches. The conifers - - cypress, pines, junipers, firs and cedars now have more to say and make their presence felt. They tell us without words,
“Look! We’re evergreen.”
No sooner have the yellows, tans, ochres, sienas, reds and umbers of Autumn go, than another Red ‘pops up’ (be it briefly), to be seen on almost everyone’s attire, especially the TV anchor people. Symbol for those soldiers and civilians who gave or lost their lives, so we can all live in ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’. Not only WWI is remembered, but all the wars and killings that followed, to this day, adding ever-more reasons to perpetuate Remembrance Day. [War is called “Regime Change” nowadays.] “Lest We Forget”, all right.
Bob Dylan wrote already in the ‘60s “ . . the answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind” . .. “oh when will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn?”
What a strange and paradoxical species we are, Homo Sapiens. I saw "the bombs drop", and lived through WWII as a boy.
On the one hand we go out to kill and get killed, both for the same cause of Freedom. Soldiers gave their lives so that we can live free. Yet, our freedom is stealthily being taken away; ‘Big Brother’ has crept up, making Orwell’s book “Brave New World” look like amateurish scribble.
You may recall the classic black and white move “All Quiet on the Western Front”, based on a novel of the same name by German writer Erich Maria Remarque, a ‘realistic and harrowing account’ of WWI slaughter in the trenches and fields of Flanders.
We came across these thoughts from someone in England, on the wearing of poppies and remembering, “
. . how much does it serves to console as much as to mask the terrible reality of death in war. By masking, it is meant that remembrance becomes a ritual used to ‘blot out’ the horrible reality of, in this case war, and the First World War in particular. Naturally, the truth is far too disturbing to continually be exposed, so the ritual of remembrance helps to create a more ‘comfortable’ memory of the deceased. This is most noticeable, for example, on Remembrance (Day), when the wearing of an artificial poppy, and the two-minute silence in recognition of those who gave their lives, saves one from having to dwell on the specific details of the deaths of millions of men killed while serving their country.” (From “A Memorial in Scarlet” by Stacy Chambless.)
But why do poppy flowers flourish in battlefields? I learned the first reference to this was made by a writer during Napoleon’s time. He observed certain fields were barren before a battle but exploded with poppies after the fighting ended.
It’s known that in Flanders and France, the chalk soil became very rich in lime from all the rubble, but after the lime became absorbed, the poppies disappeared. Today many Quakers wear white poppies which they say "is not about insulting the dead, but to honour them by working for an end to war”.
Remember Swift's "Gulliver's Travels"? War because of a song the "Littleputs" argued about? We need a few more Gullivers in the world.

Would it not be something to see a film such as “All Quiet on the Western Front” where everything was in reverse? Then you’d have peace instead of war: bullets shot from rifles would come out of the bodies and return into the rifle barrel. The bayonet plunged into flesh reverses and leaves the body. No wound. Advancing commandos go backward. Shrapnel would re-assemble. Bombers raining their deadly cargo would have the bombs flying upwards back into the hold of the aircraft. Hand grenades would boomerang intact back into the hands that threw them. Cannons nicely receive back their lethal cannon balls, all the carnage ‘undone’.
On the topic of shooting, why do we speak of killing a penalty in hockey or soccer (associated football).Can’t we say ‘ride out’ or ‘weather’ or ‘survive’ a penalty? Or we speak of “a nice shot” in pool or billiards. Our words perpetuate our culture’s killing habits.
But, this November has given us hope and a sigh of relief: the end of a great “error” (which added to the deaths of how many more thousands?), and beginning of a new "Era".
Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye, Makes the whole world blind.” Signing off, Henri






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Back in 1967 a small group, twelve of us, visited the Paleolithic caves of Lascaux in France and Altamira in Spain.Both caves were closed at the time we arrived. My French and Spanish helped, along with our being mostly artists from Canada, allowing us access to both primordial art galleries.(Both Lascaux and Altamira have for some time now been closed to the public). So it was a great privilege to see with my own eyes these so-called ‘primitive’ images. Something I’ll never forget. Beyond being awestruck, I was tongue-tied.
It was like journeying back to The Origins, to our creative roots. These humble rock artists left us a vast legacy.And you know what? Not one of the pre-historic creations by early Homo sapiens shows a “signature”; I’m pretty sure in their vocabulary they did not have a word for Art. [You can see images of human hands, and “dots” too, on those cave walls. Enigmatic symbols. Are those their signatures, left behind for us to ponder?]I often wonder to which ‘school of art and design’ they went to, to learn their skill.

And how can we say these works have been done by ‘primitives? Just look at those lines, shapes and colours, the way they made use of the contours of the cave walls and ceilings to enhance their creations.
Surely it took not only great certainty on the part of the painter, but they had to be ‘refined’ minds. The grace and precise coordination between hand, head, soul and heart is stunning.
In later travels to other parts of the world, we witnessed other early forms of art, those of ancient Egypt; in Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Palenque and Tulum in Central America; the San/Bushmen rock paintings in Namibia; aboriginal work in Australia; petroglyphs in North America – none of these are “signed”. What a contrast with art today, where some signatures are often so large or dominating it ruins the composition.
But look at snowflakes, flowers, ocean life, animals, all that grows and blooms --- no signatures. Signatures abound in our documents, papers and our works of art.
What is it with us, that everything we create has to be signed? (Sure, in ancient time there were ‘signet’ rings of the Pharaohs, using scarab designs.) Nowadays, signatures and stamps of authenticity are considered a must. If an artist won’t sign a painting, the dealer will insist upon it. Even this blog is identified.
A signature represents ID, as in “I.D.T. I Did That.”
Yes, signing denotes authenticity, but signing also resembles a territorial marking. “This is mine”, like the spraying by the cat family. Of course it also represents pride, and in some cases vanity, a ‘copyright within a copyright’?
In 1972 I embarked on “Organiverse”, an opus of one hundred mandalas in pointillism, dot by dot, atom by atom. I never signed one of them. My intent was, and still is, to let the images reveal themselves to the viewer. Evolution without words.
In a sense, Art is silent communication. Viewers in their own way need to connect with a work of art, while in turn the full sum of the artist connects with the viewer through their work. Each of us lives a life, with its own experiences, and reacts to the world accordingly.
Vincent van Gogh signed his paintings and drawings simply “Vincent”. We know from letters to his brother Theo that he left out his surname because he realized people would have problems pronouncing it correctly. How right and compassionate he was. Just listen today how his name is mispronounced in a multitude of variations.
Going back to “Organiverse” (the series of 100 images all done in pointillism), this series was created in 1972. In those days printing technology didn’t have the know-how to reproduce the delicate and lucid “colour-play” of the dots. Now, not unlike the cycle of the Cicada that spends many years underground and then emerges “singing”, Organiverse seems to be morphing and re-awakening. (See organiverse.com)
And guess what else is new? Not only are we expected to sign our work, but in the case of Organiverse people ask for explanations of each one! Please, there are 100 of these mandalas.
What’s then left for personal perception and imagination of the individual viewer, if the artist “explains” what should be silent communication.
Imagination for artists is their ‘breath of life’.
See what we mean? We stand upon the shoulders of our noble ancestors, those pre-historic cave painters - - - whose works of the far-distant past have no signature, but lots of intent, spirit and soul. Sign-ing” off, Henri


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Is Life a Dream, or a Dream Life?

Posted by Kitara Julian On 9:48 AM 0 comments
A question from a friendly reader across the pond, in Yorkshire. “I read with interest your blog about the postwar resurgence of ocean liners, and also the movie stars who were aboard. I believe most English movie stars at that time sailed with Cunard or P & O, am I right?”
Yes, that’s true. Most British celebrities and movie stars would often sail with Cunard, P & O or Union Castle Line (which did the route to Africa). Americans and several European stars seemed to prefer the vessel I worked on, Holland America Line’s “Nieuw Amsterdam”, partly because she had air-conditioning, unique in those days. Some sailed with the renowned Ile de France”.
Now we’ve touched once again the subject of post-war Transatlantic crossings by the ocean liners, and re-introduction of 5-star service, let me say a few more words on the topic.
We all have our own life experiences. Except today people are experiencing things “more similarly”, for example, through the saturation of media, we all get showered with the same water. Witness people in subway or buses, all reading the same newspapers. They arrive at work, having formed “opinions” from this “wisdom-source”.
How do we fit in with this assault of confused minds? How do we make sense, or order out of the chaos caused by endless sources of information coming our way (including this blog, ho-ho!) When we travel, we hopefully set out to see and experience different things, but upon our return, do we digest or distill these experiences into seeing things differently?”
During our travels many well-known people, celebrities and members of high society came our way. But several were a bore! Why is this? Smugness? Narcissism? “Blind and deaf” to the world beyond themselves? Who knows, but can be dull.
Often the most interesting people are ‘unsuspecting’ adventurers, humble but proud. When they return home, these individuals see the world differently, with ‘fresher eyes’ than when they left home. These are the same kinds of people who often end up “leaving this world a little bit better than they found it” as the Circumnavigator’s Club motto says.
What makes my own life so diverse is that it all seems to fall into place, in a sense ‘predestined’. Maybe all our lives are, who knows? And it’s not always smelling the roses, but feeling the thorns once in awhile. Plenty of slips on the banana peel of Life. In my early boyhood in the Lowlands, we learned a song, called “Wij Reizen Om te Leren”.

Wij reizen om te leren,
Door heel het land,
En hebben als wij wederkeren
Ook meer verstand
.”

“We travel because we wish to learn.
Then, upon return, we will have gathered more insight and knowledge.”

(An aside, yours truly learned five languages because of all my travels, and ‘being there’.) Returning to the title of today’s post and the subject of dreams and reality:
One blistery Toronto winter morning in 1973, I woke up with a clear dream of teaching Art on ships, later that dream became reality. (Caused indirectly by a rejection I’d received for a grant application.) There is a great difference between making a dream reality, (remember Danny Kaye in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?”), daydreaming or “self-talk”, where nothing happens. Alot of "baaaaaaaa", but no wool! If an around-the-world sailing is the ‘crown jewel of travel’, then to make a dream-come-true must be a ‘crown-jewel of life’s journey’. Happy trails, Henri


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Is life

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