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Mystical Landscapes and London Road – double wow!

It was one of those days when I’m especially grateful to live in this great city – going from one cultural and social event to another, all day long. This morning, to the Art Gallery of Ontario for the Mystical Landscapes exhibition, about spirituality in art, done in conjunction with the Musee d’Orsay in Paris where it’ll go next. What an honour to have myriad masterpieces by Van Gogh, Monet, Gaugin and many others just down the road. Breathtaking. And in the midst of all those French impressionists, the Group of Seven and, even better, our Emily Carr. What a groundbreaking artist she was, camping alone in the coastal forests, communing with First Nations villages, producing a stream of extraordinary and visionary work. No photos allowed, so you’ll have to Google to see for yourself.

After going through, I had a cappuccino in the airy canoe-shaped space on the north end, and then wandered through other galleries, where almost every painting, suddenly, had a spiritual dimension and could have been in the exhibition. Soul-stirring.

North to have lunch with Anne-Marie, one of my dearest friends, who works with the Jesuit Forum and is bound up with social issues around the world. I was surprised and glad that she, too, is ambivalent about the Kinder Morgan pipeline – of course against tankers and oil, yet aware that Trudeau needs to be realistic about all the citizens of the country. She is moved and impressed by him. And by her Pope.

Further north to meet a couple who own a compact apartment in Paris which they rent to friends and, luckily for me, friends of friends. And if all works out, they will rent the place to me, not next year because they’ll be there, but in April of 2018. It’s on the right bank near the Rue des Martyrs which recently, in a new book, was called “The only street in Paris.” Sounds merveilleux to me.

Out again in the evening with Jean-Marc and Richard to see the film version of the musical play London Road, which had a fabulous production here – was it last year or the year before? Anyway, it was glorious, so when I heard it was going to be featured on National Theatre Live, I decided to see it again as a film. It’s utterly brilliant, unlike anything you’ve ever seen – the script is entirely from transcripts made in conversation with the residents of London Road in Ipswich, who were dealing with the murder of five local prostitutes, the subsequent arrest of a neighbour and the invasion of the press. Their words were then set to extremely complex and beautiful music. It’s a story of redemption, showing how a community can come together and heal, but also highlighting humanity’s ghoulish curiosity and selfishness. Absolutely first rate.

When we got out, it was snowing and cold and beautiful in my town.

However, I have to confess that in the middle of all this gallivanting, I did a stupid thing. Early for lunch with Annie, I killed time – danger! – by going into David’s, an expensive shoe store where I have occasionally bought a fine pair of shoes on sale. And there, on sale, was the pair of boots I needed to replace the old, battered pair I had on (the ones that had just marched through the Ottawa snowbanks). I was so glad to find them, I didn’t look too closely – though I did say to the salesman, “They look so big!” and he said, “No, they’re a size 10.” And showed me inside – yes, it said 10. So I thought, well, nice and roomy, and bought them.

At home I can see more clearly – they’re HUGE. They’re not remotely a 10, more like 11 1/2, maybe 12. What was I thinking? And I left the box there! I have to go back to David’s and show them my tiny little feet inside these massive boots and hope they’ll refund my money. And then put on my battered boots again. What a silly woman.

But otherwise, a sublime day.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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