April 27, 2012

Post Earth Day Ponderings

Our women's quartet was invited to perform at a mini film festival on Earth Day. The two films were being shown at the local United Church, which has wonderful acoustics. We performed four songs first, then the thought provoking film Spoil was shown. We performed one more and then we all watched a lovely little short called Gratitude which left us in a hopeful mood. After the short, we had some time for discussion and then we proceeded into the hall for home-made cookies and tea. I had seen an Earth Day display on a large free-standing bulletin board in the foyer and ventured out with my cookie to read the various postings Several of the postings were quotes I had read before, but a few were poems by Scottish poet Robert Montgomery. I read one, and then I read them all.

Before the short film, we sang a song called 'The Simple Life'. But before we had begun, I had to pull myself together. The film Spoil, which is about a group of world-class photographers who gather at Hartley Bay in the Great Bear Rainforest on the West Coast of British Columbia to document, and thus show the world, what will be at stake environmentally should the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline project be allowed to go ahead and oil tankers negotiate the hazardous waterways in the area. The film had been very moving and disturbing and thus, emotional. Marilee introduced the song with a few quiet words: "It's time to apply the K.I.S.S. principle in our world: Keep it Simple, Stupid." I was at a loss for words, or more accurately, lyrics to begin the song, but somehow we rose to the occasion.

A cottage small is all I'm after
Not one that's spacious and wide
A house that rings with joy and laughter
And the ones you love inside

'The Simple Life' is a cute song from a film of the 1940's. And while it rang true for the occasion, I ventured out into the hallway looking for something more, something deeper. I found it in this short poem by Robert Montgomery, who routinely hijacks advertising billboards for his installations:

The desire for simplicity is strong in me. I wish more people felt that way because I believe if we all just stopped the somewhat blinding drive to aquire more of everything, and simply appreciated the good of what we have, if we purchased for quality and lastingness rather than trends and financial convenience, if we took more time to smell the proverbial roses and ponder the wonder of the created world of which we as people are a beautiful and ancient part, we would all be happier and our land use decisions would be wiser and from a place of stewardship rather than theft for short term gain. 
More of Robert Montgomery's work can be found here.

The photo above is of the extremely rare 'spirit bear', and is by Canadian photographer Ian McAllister, one of the photographers featured in the film, Spoil.

I will now step down from my soap box to wish you a Happy weekend.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Replies
    1. Well, it seems to be working...try again?

  3. I think that was worthy of being up on the soap box.

    I would LOVE to have a simpler life, i.e. less things. Actually, I probably am living with less because I hardly shop for "things." I think I have so much from years past and that I'm taking too long to purge.

    Don't think I'll go as far as Robert Montgomery though. :)

    1. Thanks, Anita. You are kind.

      What Robert Montgomery does is take billboards and put ideas on them that sort of look like ads but actually kind of mess with the general public's perception of things. I think he just wants to get people thinking about things a little differently, and to surprise them. I don't think I want to give away my vacuum cleaner either!

  4. smiles...what a cool find in the verse....and i crave that simplicity as well...i so wish i could get out of the house we are in now but we have been stuck by the economy...but in general i want for little...books are probably my biggest consumable honestly but i do tend to go to the used book store so some recycling there...smiles...my wife probably wants to cling to that vacuum as well...

    1. Oh yeah...I'm a book junkie myself, though like you I rarely buy brand new. Can't afford it!

  5. Hi there,
    somehow couldn't make the Robert Montgomery link work but can Google him anyway, I assume. Get back up on soapbox please, I enjoyed it. Pic of bear v interesting too - why is he so pale coloured, by the way, or is that normal? Never touch the vacuum - leave that to my cleaner - oops!!! Does that demonstrate elitist over-priviledged lifestyle or am I hard-working SAHM who contributes to global redistribution of wealth by employing another person???? Soapbox useful and thought provoking. Thanks,

    1. Hello 'L',
      That's too bad about the link - I wonder if the availability varies by country...but yes, you can Google him - that's how I found his site.
      The Spirit bear is essentially a Black Bear in every way except colour. That is a genetic abberation and worldwide biologists have only counted between 200 and 400 Spirit bears in existence, which makes them so very special.
      As far as your employing a cleaner, it is one of my dearest fantasies to be justified in doing the same, so who am I to judge!
      Thanks for the visit...come again :)


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