Guest Entry: On the Grand

If notebook paper, canvas and my camera are my arts medium, my inspiration comes from nature . The river my solace, my sounds, and colour therapy, my well being.

Tonight, like the last few nights and so many others before, I headed down to the river. I always believe there are times to talk and other times for listening. My walks are the times I listen, not to people, but rather, to nature. I don't believe sunrises and sunsets, or flowers, or the sounds of nature are here for eye or ear candy. It all serves a purpose.

To help us. To ease us and to help shape us.

I found myself sitting below Parkhill Bridge . On an outcrop of rocks in the center of the river, about 10 feet from the brink of the thundering sound of the falls, I watched a night heron standing on spindly legs do "nothing." To the right of me I saw a blue heron intently watching the waters.

In front of me I watched two partially submerged boulders as the running waters hit them, foamy waters washing over them, sometimes making the boulders not visible.

Boulders I have seen for years. Perhaps not as jagged as they once were but they were still there, after torrential rains, cold winters, and being pounded by raging flood waters and the refuse carried by those flood waters.

I thought of the things that I, and others had faced, the personal storms we weathered and the personal storms that sometimes weren't survived, yet fought tooth and nail. The things that shaped us, made us survivors and grow stronger.

Storms that left us battered and bruised, deeming us to be "damaged goods" at times.

I looked across the river again, looking at the night heron and the blue heron and the boulders.

"I love you and thank you " I said

While the boulders may have been deluged with pounding waters, they weather the storms.

And until a personal storm enters our own life, we cannot judge another on how they fight that storm...we should only love and offer compassion, as nature offers the same to all of us.

I weathered my storm and continue to do my best, yet personal storms like weather storms can be unpredictable and veer paths...love, don't judge . Love often.

Nature nurtures and we must also nurture nature .

Joe Lethbridge is a Cambridge-based artist and activist, and a research contributor to the Common Waters project.