|Ottawa River, Whitewater Region, acrylic, 12" x 16"|
I had planned to write about painting at the Tulip Festival this week, but the recent flood in Ottawa and Gatineau made me realize once more how fragile our world is. The rivers that once provided beauty, fun and relaxation to so many suddenly have turned into an uncontrollable force that lets us feel helpless and desperate. I am sure many of us have envied those with properties along the banks of the rivers for their view. I certainly did from time to time, but now I am more than relieved that we live far enough away from any source of water. I cannot imagine how desperate all of the people must feel who worked so hard to save their houses but were not able to stand up to the water, and who have lost so much in the last couple of days. They lived in a beautiful house and are now homeless with no idea what the future holds for them and how they will build their lives up again. It has hit close to home. I am sure all of us know someone who has been affected.
I cannot believe the destruction that I see everywhere. I look at Petrie Island where I loved to spend time, have a picnic, watch the sunset, and more than anything else paint. I am not sure the island will ever be the same. All the sand from the beaches will probably have been swept away. I am sure that the geese and ducks have a great time but what about all the other animals and the vegetation? We take things so easily for granted. I hope once the waters recede, people will work together to rebuild the community. We are all challenged to help find solutions so that living along the rivers will be a place of beauty, fun, and relaxation again. It is worth fighting for our beautiful world.
After all the saddening and just unbelievable photos we saw from the Ottawa-Gatineau area in the last couple of days, I hope that nature recovers and that the victims of the flood will get the so desperately needed financial help and ongoing support from volunteers.
May we - despite everything - not forget to see the beauty and kindness in the world around us. The crisis has brought many people closer together and created new bonds. Unfortunately, it often takes a major crisis for us to reconsider our priorities.
Here is one of my favourite paintings of a Petrie Island sunset called “Peacefulness”. I hope all of us will find a place of peacefulness in this stressful time.