UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

'Mother' nature’s message

Getting swept in the winds of change

By Carolyn Pogue

After my mother’s funeral, a sudden wind swirled down into the church yard. It lifted skirt hems and fluttered the napkins on the long, lunch-laden table. It raised the edges of the photo collage that we’d created to show mom’s life. It sucked the painting from my hands, spun it slowly round and round, then up over the red roof of the small country church. And it was gone.

I know that when we are grieving, we are more open to receive messages from the spirit and the natural world. Mother Nature spoke powerfully that day. Don’t hold on, Carolyn. No need to hold on.

For some months, we’d known that our mother was dying. I had hoped it wouldn’t be too drawn out; cancer was everywhere in her body. We siblings had each taken turns giving care and visiting although only one sister lived in the same province as mom did. My husband, Bill, and I planned to visit the U.S. and then Ontario, before driving to see her in Saskatchewan.

We were staying with our friends Hannah and Bob Anderson in Massachusetts. He is a minister, she is a priest; both are artists. Their home atmosphere is calm; beauty is important to them. While there, Hannah gave me free reign with her water colours.

Wesley United Church in Vandorf, Ont. Photo by James Pogue
Wesley United Church in Vandorf, Ont. Photo by James Pogue

In addition to other outings, I’d taken mom to enough medical appointments to have a clear picture of where she was at the moment that I picked up Hannah’s paint brush. I took my time. In my mind’s eye, I saw her connected to an IV. I painted her in a hospital bed with hospital green sheets, more or less realistically. Then the paint that caught my attention was sunshine yellow. She loved the sun, the heat, the beach and the lakeside. I filled the paper to the edge with warmth. As she was an avid and very successful gardener, I next painted bright flowers and greenery. Flowers were under her bed and all around her. Vines climbed the IV pole and the bed's headboard. I felt joyous as I painted. Joyous and calm, both.

One week later, our mother died. The funeral was held at Vandorf, Ont.'s Wesley United Church, which was built in 1881 and which I attended as a child. As was the case in the years of my growing up, the church women offered spiritual support and practical care. This extended to setting up tables outside on the lawn so that we could all enjoy the beautiful August day after the funeral service. Bill suggested that I add the painting to the display table as a final tribute. But Mother Nature had another idea. I don’t think anyone but me saw it fly away.

Since then, when I sing Gordon Light’s hymn, She Flies On, I see the painting flying gently through the air, above the people, the bushes and gardens, above the towering trees and finally over that red roof. I recall that strong message from Mother Nature. And believe I hear my other mother’s laugh.

Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a longtime Observer contributor. New posts of The Pogue Blog will appear on the first and third Thursday of the month. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image


David Wilson%


by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image


ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image


July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots


June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.


June 2017


by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.


June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.


April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart


March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image