A walk with my Brother

SlaDE~s early morning delivery of Dad’s truck to the other farm gave me the opportunity to take a walk down memory lane. Or should I say, a stroll down recollection road, as adopted by my Father, in remembrance of my brother Kenny, who passed away 18 years ago this past June (on Father’s Day). ‘Kenny’s Road’ as I fondly honour it.

Before my Dad sold the farm the I grew up on (perhaps 16 years ago?), Kenny spent much time in the bush, especially at the cabin that they had built from the wood harvested from those bushes. I recall one mid-summer’s afternoon when I was about 12, with Kenny riding a horse and me riding the three-wheeler, we ventured into the said forest and he showed me to ‘The Valley of the Trilliums’. Standing proud were hundreds of white beautiful flowers, noted as Ontario’s official emblem. I don’t ever recall seeing one Trillium up close and personal let alone a whole basin of the beautiful blossoms. We lounged and talked for hours, more as friends than as brother and sister. It was an afternoon like no other, and one of the few that sticks out so vividly in my mind. That bush was a sanctuary of discovery for all of us kids, I believe, growing up. And upon hearing of it’s sale (I was in Australia at the time), I was deeply saddened, feeling an incredible loss, knowing that for me this farmland held the last few remnants that belonged to our family, holding Kenny so brilliantly and poignantly in my mind

Back to today’s walk: I had an incredibly intense and soulful sense of connection and closeness with my brother. The weather was unbelievably warm and natures’s colours were vibrant and enhanced with the sombre cloud cover (my favourite time for taking photos when light is reflected and intense, especially at sunrise or dusk). Although I was kicking myself for not bringing along my digital camera, I was quite surprised at how more fully connected I was to nature, the breeze swirling around me without the camera’s distracting capacity. Everywhere I gazed, I was framing the shots in my mind. What a gift … I thoroughly enjoyed the visual canvas so extravagantly and beautifully laid out before me. I honestly feel blessed by the gift I possess … the ability and talent to frame beauty anywhere (in even the simplest of forms) I look. I truly believe that this is a gift from my brother. He was incredibly talented and creative. He was an phenomenal abstract artist who drew/imaged some awe-inspiring lithographic paintings. Someday, it’s my goal to scan in all the slides of his artwork (with my parents blessing of course) and sell them online, with the proceeds going to The Salvation Army or some other charity of their choice. The Salvation Army played a huge role in my brother’s existence when he was down and out. From my understanding, there was only so much financial help that Kenny would accept from my family, and often he would turn to this charity for his well-being. My brother was wild, untamed and beautiful in his youthfulness, often classified as a rebel. However, he didn’t care what others thought and he lived a unique, rugged and unbroken existence. Shunned by many, especially many relatives and acquaintances who judged his spirit, he lived carefree yet not unscathed. He carried the burdens of a haunted soul, far beyond his years. He only lived to the ripe young age of 24. I think that I am similar to Kenny in many ways … I live with no boundaries, travelling the world in my nomadic ways, fluid (except with my packrat ways) and loving life fully.
I miss my brother dearly and profoundly.

Again I digress. One of the responsibilities behind adopting a road, here in Ontario, is to maintain its cleanliness, picking up garbage and keeping it clean. The road was immaculate until I passed the cabin, oddly enough. Beyond that, trash was strewn quite liberally, often hidden in clumps of leaves or in shallow gravel-filled ditches. I had never thought to bring any bags to collect the rubbish, and with full pockets and hat, I questioned how I could carry everything without duplicating the problem. Yet somehow I managed to find the bags that I needed to fulfil the obligation that should rest on everyone … picking up that which doesn’t belong in nature. Tim Horton’s cups and pop cans seemed to be the prevalent form of waste. Amazing how many cigarette butts lie everywhere. Why litter our land with such toxic junk? Truly sad, especially in this serene charming countryside of Culross Township.

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