'T is not too late to seek a newer world
© 2022, Elin Babcock; Magdalena Brzezinska; Carmen Camilleri; Renske Carbone; Habiba Chouchen; Robin Cox; Edward Cromarty; Jim Fleckenstein; Romina A. Guerra.; Judith Gutlerner; Aki Halme; Yulia Ivanova; Pasi Kirkkopelto; Anthony Kolasny; Agneta M Lindh; Sole Afra Martinez; Gudny Sigridur Olafsdottir; Renske Oort; Ola Porebska; Deisy Rey; Marjorie Rosenberg; Sonia Roychowdhury; Peter Sansom; Maria Laura Scasso; Cathy Silk; Arevhat Simonyants; William Strnad III; Julia Teplova; Andrea Uhl; Dąbrówka Ujec; Natasha Vanderlinden; Nicole van der Wolf; Mieke van Os; Simona Vasilace; Cynthia Willett
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.
The title of the volume was inspired by Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Ulysses.
© CoverArt: Magdalena Brzezinska Poznan, Poland 2. 11. 2022
ThishasbeenaveryspecialeditionoftheLinkingWorldsproject,which has, again, gathered participants from all the corners of the globe, regardlessoftheirethnicity,gender,religion,orbeliefs.
Inthetimeswhicharenotgettinganyeasier,weallstandunitedbyour strong conviction that bridges can bebuilt across any chasm, and all it takesisgoodwill,empathy,andmaybemorethanaspoonfulofart.And you will find exquisite, very meaningful literatureand visual art in this volume.
For the curator of this unique project, this year has been marked with transitions,whichhavealsobecomethethemeoftheissue.Forher,one of the transitions was having to adjust to a “ new ” post surgery body; anotheronewaswakinguptotherealityofacountrywithover3million refugeesfromwar-tornUkraine;anotheronestillwaswatchingherchild leavethefamilynest.
However,transitionsareathemeanyonecan anddoes relateto,ina very personal way. A transition can mean leaves turning orange and brown, hair turning grey, a person crossing a physical or spiritual border…
Sometimeswordsfail;thatiswhythisyearimagesseemtoprevail.And yet, we believe that, as Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote in his Ulysses in 1833,“'Tisnottoolatetoseekanewerworld”Magdalena Brzezinska
Remembering the Black Moon
I do remember I was just
searching for a wrong word wrong things there is so much of them Important to me things there is so
Art and poetry by Pasi Kirkkopelto, Finland
Leaning closely to make a warm space inside, the two fit together awkwardly until the winds passed. Now she cowers in the soft folds until...Art and poetry by Cynthia Willett, USA
For all these many years
I’ve kept some of the black earth From the garden where we met, Where you spoke poetry
Of ocean wind, and stones, and childbirth.
Tomorrow, men will come And remove the last concrete In which we once dreamed and ate, And drank one another In love cries, the illusion of heat.
Tonight, under clear skies I will return to this place With the earth I’ve been keeping, And draw you with my fingers, On cold dead walls, your body and face.
In the blue light of lamps
I will resurrect your speech, Kissing you, your lips ghosted, Giving my mouth to dreams, Longing for magic flesh I can’t reach.Art and poetry by William Strnad, Poland
In the golden sunset
We call the role of remembrance
The names vibrate
Beyond embracing trees
Above the clear streams
In Horseshoe Canyon
With endless echos
Cave Creek Rhyolite
With pale volcanic rocks
Silver Peak Dacite
With precious quartz Through the tribal land
That made up your Earthly world
You and the ancestors are not forgotten
I build a mound toward Father Sky
Of Mother Earth and place
An Indian head penny
From your collection
To this reliquary adding A robin's empty nest
Lined with fledgling feathers And a spun silk cocoon
The butterfly's house of change Like your body's temple
No longer needed
You are in transition
When these seeds I leave From Douglas fir And Ponderosa pine cones Travel with our story When your ashes swirl With autumn leaves Red, gold, violet, umber You ascend to the Elders
I continue on our worn Earthly path. You are not forgotten I am with you and you with me.Art&poetryby Elin Babcock, USA
Where blurred, luscious light
Transforms midnight’s dark thinness –
Cathy Silk, The Netherlands
Let the excruciating pain become soothing music wrapping me up at night.
Let the bitter disappointment change into an unalloyed joyful prayer whispered at dawn.
Let the sorrow transform into gales of childish laughter.
Let insanity convert into soulful balance.
Let me go.And Vice Versa Art&poetryby Dąbrówka Ujec, Poland/The Netherlands
Curiosity beckons, insistent: Press forward with courage to be The who-that-is fiercely you In chaotic symphony. Melding past to future, heed the call: Step into this boat named, ‘Here.’ Cast off, familiar shores fading
To a storm of insight where, Like a rose transformed by the day Who you aren’t gently falls away, Till alive, tender and new, True essence enchants and debuts This questing, ageless, bold, wild, terrified, splendid: youArt&poetryby Natasha Vanderlinden, Washington State, USA
from shadow to flesh moving, knowing that substance is in the soul wandering between worlds roaming rambling where no footprints dwell tell the tale of direction of leaving, of returning of transition shifting from shadow into the here and now tall, proud, me
I am here, I am me my feet deep as roots set into the ground the core so strong the heart so big a life well lived is waiting
DigitalArtandpoetryby Agneta M. Lindh, Sweden
Transición de la vida
Hojas secas y cometa, mi niñez detrás del viento: inocente instrumento del arte alma inquieta. Mi boca selló discreta caudal del tiempo sereno. Pinté lores en mi seno, encendieron el invierno: creció un halo materno, bendición de vientre pleno.
Dry leaves and a kite, my childhood behind the wind: an innocent instrument of art, restless soul.
My mouth sealed discreetly the flow of serene time. I painted flowers on my breast, they lit up the winter: a maternal halo grew, the blessing of a full womb.Artandpoetryby Romina A. Guerra, Chile
Myillustrationspeaksofresilience,ofdarkness,andofthelightthat surroundsus(eveninthesubtlesparksoflightyouseehere).These sparksorfirefliescouldrepresentfriends,messages,goodliterature, music,hugs,smiles,orjustacupofteainsilence).Itspeaksoftakinga decisiontostandupagainstalloddsandmove(evenwhenwefeellike coveringoureyeswithourhair).Itspeaksofnature,andofapathto bewalked.Wearetheonlyoneswhocanwalkourpath.
Artandartiststatementby Sole Afra Martinez, Argentina
There is a darkness always in my life. Numbing, wounding shards of ice. I believe it’s wrong to have excess when most are denied. Lies knock on our hearts, make home, never leave.
This world creaks at the seams. All take, few share. Greed eats us alive. Hope is hard to hold. Where are my dreams? Not in this nightmare! Kindness can’t thrive until cruelty is disposed.
I dread losing sight of what’s most important. What will I condone? Hatred blinds others. Callous words are blights that tear us apart, my once happy soul needs love. It suffers.
My life bleeds away. Denied perspective I’m fading again, hopeless, dark, pensive.
No! I feel again. My mind, once pensive, chased gloom away, found new perspective.
Love heals my weary soul so it won’t suffer. It guides through the blight, like hands that won’t part. No more shall I condone cruel barbs from others. My focus, sight, stays on what’s important.
It is time to thrive, with fate undisposed. Make true a dream, and end this nightmare. Be fully alive, not always on hold, and mend life’s seams by choosing to share.
Star guides my hearts with light that won’t leave. Heart full to excess, I can’t be denied.
Hope grows from sparkling shards, grows with belief. It is light in the darkness and my purpose in life.Aki Halme, Finland Yulia Ivanova, Russia
Transitions of Life
Atfirst,Ithoughtofwritingaboutmypersonallifetransitions,butwhen contemplatingdeeplyaboutmypersonalexperiences,Irealizedthatall humansdevelopinsimilaryetdifferentways,andgothroughcomparable emotional,biological,andsocialchangesshapedbytheuniquenessofeach person’sbeing.Thus,weareallverysimilartoeachother,exhibitingour commonhumanitywithinthediverseformswedisplayasindividuals.Totalk aboutmypersonallifetransitionswouldbetooself centeredbecausewe trulydoshareourexperienceswiththepeoplearoundus.Associalbeings, weareconnectedthroughavastnetworkofhumanrelationships.Our relianceonhumanrelationshipsiscommontoallhumanbeings,andbythe natureofwhatweare,wemature,love,andexperienceinsimilarways.
WhenIthinkaboutthetransitionsthathaveoccurredinmylife,I noticethatsomehaveoccurredsuddenly,andsomethroughgentleevolution. SomeIhaveacceptedintuitivelywithoutnoticingthechangeswhich occurred,andsomeIhaveresistedtryingtomaintainthelifestylewithwhich Ihadbecomeaccustomed.Sometransitionsoccurrednaturallywithinme, andsomeresultedfromadaptationtotheworldaroundme.Thenatural worldchangesslowlyandwouldbarelybenoticediflookingonlyatthetrees, wind,andsun.Thesocialworldhasamoreimmediateinfluenceonthe transitionsoflife.Ourrelationshipswithfriends,family,andthepeoplewith whomweinterrelatestimulateouremotionsandprovidetheactivitiesand experiencesthatresultinoursocialbehavior.Overtimefamilyrelationships recede,andspecialfriendshipsbecomenewfamily,asourverybeing regenerateswithinthehumandiaspora.
Lifeisthemostpreciousthingwehaveashumanbeings.Everyperson hastherighttolife,andallhumanshavesimilarcharacteristics,yetare emotionallyandsociallyuniqueasindividuals.Ourgrowthisshapedbyour environmentandbyouruniquebiologicalandpersonaltraits.Theconceptof transitiondescribestheevolutionofourphysical,social,andemotionalself withintheconstantlyevolvingworldwhichincludesthegrowthprocesses inherenttoeachoneofus.Asintelligentbeingswemakefreedecisions.Our abilitytoreasonandpartakeinresponsibleactionsprovidesuswiththe abilitytoalterandrespondtoourenvironmentimprovingourlivesand increasingourchancesofsurvival.Therealizationthatourdecisionsaffect notonlyourselvesbutinfluencethelivesofthepeoplearoundusispartof ourmaturation.Wemustlearntopartakeinactivitiesthatpromotekindness, buildahumanesociety,andinspirethegrowthofthepeopleweinfluence. Ourtransitionsinlifeshouldnotbealonelyexperience,butoneweshare withfriends,family,andtheworldinwhichwelive.Edward Cromarty, USA
CousinSylviagrewupintheworldofplenty. Shelivedwithherparentsandbrother inablockofone bedroomunitsinhabitedbyfamilieswithchildren. Thecramped spacewassharedwithpetsofsmallsizes. Fishandhamsterswerelivingtoysand tradingobjects,delightingandsurprisingwithfecundity.
OurgrandmotherdotedonSylviaandhappilylookedafterheronweekendsand holidays. Hereourpathsoverlapped,wespentsummerholidaysatGran’shome.We roamedsandypinewoods,snackingonwildberriesandobservingcaterpillars.
Sylviawasavoraciousreader,shereadallthebooksinGran’shouseanddevoured thelocallibrarycollection. Shewasheadedforgreatness.
Hersecondpassionwasanimals,especiallyhorsesanddogs. Wespenthappydays playingwithlittlefigurinesofpeopleandanimals,usuallytendingtovarious imaginedveterinarianemergencies. Sylviacarefullysetandbandagedminiature limbs,addingrealisticflaretothoseinjuriesbylendingherownbloodfrom scratchedmosquitobites.
Sheconductedscientificexperimentsoncapturedflies,notshytoremovealegor wingtoseehowthecreaturefaredonslipperysoapsurfacewithdecreasingcount oflimbs. TherewasnodoubtSylviawouldbecomeaveterinarydoctor.
Sheseemedtobebuyingintothatnarrative,asateenagershedidnotdowellin school. GrandmothersteppedinandSylviamovedinwithher. Onmyincreasingly rarevisitsInoticedthebooksonSylvia’sshelfwereeverlighterandlessambitious. Shestruggledtofinishvocationalsecondarycourse. Therewasnowaythiscould leadtoveterinaryschooldegree.
Sylviadidnotgiveuponherdreams,justredirectedthemtowhatwaswithinher reach: shealwayskeptpurebreeddogsandshowedthematcompetitions. Her GermanShepherdsandFrenchBulldogswonBestinBreedprizes.
Whenshemarriedandhadchildrenshecreatedalivelyhomeandinstilledinher daughterstheloveforanimals.Hergirlsgrewupwatchingthesoothingaquariums andplayingwithpuppies.
IhavelosttouchwithmycousinwhenImovedtotheotherendoftheworld. Iknowthisonlythroughthefamilygrapevine,butSylvia’sdaughtertookparticular interestinthedogshowsandproudlycompeted,showcasingherdogs. Dominique isabrilliantstudent,currentlystudyingVeterinaryScience.
Itseemstomethedreamisnotonlyalive,butcomingtrueinanevenfuller,more rewardingwayinthenextgeneration.Ola Porebska, Poland/Australia
Andrea Uhl, USA/Germany
Renske Carbone, The Netherlands/Australia
Go for it, girl!
Aboutfiveyearsago,aroundthetimewhenourchildrenstartedtomoveout,IfeltI neededanewchallenge…ortwo.WhatifIexpandedmyrediscoveredhobbyof playingbasketballandgetatrainer’slicenceorifIstartedatwo yearfollowupstudy inthefieldofeducation?Hesitantaboutthechoicesandseekingmoralsupport,I askedmyfamilymembersforadvice.
IadmitIneededquitesomeencouragement.WhenItoldmy17 year oldsonthatI mightgotothewomen’sbasketballtrainingoneevening,fromhisreactionI understoodhowsillyitwastoaskforaffirmation.Hesmiledcheekilyandsaid:“Go forit,girl.”
Whenthestudyyearstarted,thetutorthatguidedagroupofeightstudentsincluding mehadusthinkaboutourgoals.Initiallythegoalsthatwecameupwithwereallabit similar:wewouldliketounderstandthelearningdifficultiesofourstudentsbetterso wecouldimproveourteachingandmeettheirneedsinourlessons.Ourtutorcame backtous:nice,butIwantyoutodreambig.Whatdoyouultimatelywanttoachieve? Improveteachingmoreprofoundlyandstrategically,andnotonlyyourownbutalso ofcolleagues,ofthewholeschool,takethelead!Wewereallabitinshockand stammeredallkindsofbuts:butthisisnotwhatIwantedtodo,butIjustwantedto improvelittlethings,butIamnotaleader,butthisisimpossibleinmyschool,but... Weneededherpushtogoontheroadtobigdreams.Andtheroadwaslong,often steep,rocky,therewerecracksandhillsandmountains,pitsandsometimeseven canyons,butmountaintopstoo.Westruggled,fell,helpedeachotherstandupover andoveragain.Oneofthethingswelearnedwasthatthedeepestlearning,theso calledtransformativelearning,usuallyhappensduringaphaseoflifewithbig changesorapersonalcrisis,suchasjobloss,divorce,oracareerchange.Iworked part time,mychildrenwereolderanddidn’tneedthatmuchcareanymore,butmost fellowstudentsworkedfulltimeandsomehadyoungchildren,andthedemandsand deadlinesofthestudywereharsh.Itfeltliketransformativelearningindeed.
Doyouwonderwhathappenedwiththebasketballtrainer’slicencecourse?Nothing heroic,transformativelearninginadifferentway.Iwasbyfartheoldestinthe course,mybasketballskillsandknowledgewereclearlynotuptodateandasfaras theywerethere,theywereveryrusty.Ilearnedhowitfeelstobetheslowest,tobe thelasttobechosen,togetpityinglooks,tofail.Farfewermountaintops,farmore rocksandcanyonsandtearsshed,luckilyforjustafewweeks.Itdidnotmatterinthe endbecauseIwasnotgoingtobethetrainerofpromisingNBAcandidates,justyoung neighbourhoodchildren,sotheygavemethelicenceafterall.MaybeIneededthis experienceaswell;itsurelyhelpedmerelatetomylesstalentedyoungbasketball playersandunderstandtheirneedsbetter,andallthislearningwastransferableto schooltoo.
Renske Oort, the Netherlands/Germany
Music, music was always in the air Singing was a release and a joy The world opened up through opera and the fascinating roles one could play.
Being on stage was thrilling and slipping into a role was all-encompassing. Reality came later when auditions didn’t go as planned.
But determination still won out. Teaching shared elements with performing. Learning to impart knowledge became the goal and holding success in one’s hands was still possible. Step-by-step the teaching repertoire increased Creativity and fun were all part of the act.
Learners were the audience and responded as hoped. A new career was launched and loved.
Looking back the road not taken is still there but more for others than for me. No regrets, only thankfulness that the opportunities existed.
Looking ahead there is still a path a job that isn’t just a job. The joy of working with others while having the chance to grow as well.Poetryandartby Marjorie Rosenberg, USA/Austria Gudny Sigridur Olafsdottir, Iceland
Lifeismadeofpermanentchanges,wechangewithage,withexperience, withdeceptionandwithjoyalso.Thehumanheartandemotionschangeas well,whenyouhaveagoalinyourmind,youdreamofit,maybeforyears; youputyoureffortsintoitandsweatforit,butonceachieved,yougo chasinganothergoalandanotherdream...Ithinkthisisthesecretoflife, transitionsanddifferences,thiscontinuinglongingforimprovinglifeand situation.Changeisthespiceofourlives,wecannotstayinthesame situationforever,it'shuman,it'sinourblood...thebestthingwecandois followourloveformovingandgochaseeverynewchallengetofulfilour dreams....Habiba Chouchen, Tunisia
Ihavepassedtheagewhereadulthoodmakeschildren'sbonesrattlelikethebars ofacage.WhatIleaveofmyselffromthattimecannotbetakenback.What's behindmestaysthere.
Tippingpoint,dividingline,conflictingwishes:live,die,gobackandredomylife andchangeeverything,repeatmylifeandchangenothing.Tippingpoint,where inthepastIcanputasignthatsays'here,thisiswheremyflightstarted'Idon't know.Thepast traversedsorecently hasnotyetsettleddown,asifitstill foamedinitswake.
Ilookaheadandthereisthehorizon.Ilookback.Thereisalsoahorizonthere.I amnaturallyconnectedtomyfuture.Eachcourseisdictatedbytheprevious, drawinganerratic,unbrokenlineofreactionsthroughone'slife.Mostofwhatwe do,nobodysees.Nooneknowsmorethanafractionofwhatwethink.Ifyou continue,everythingwillevaporate.Theearth,thetruth,ishiddenbehindamist ofoblivion.LiketheNorthernLights,likethemoonhangingbyitssides.Thestars, lanternshungbythepast,sothatthelostcanfindtheirwayback.
SometimesIwanttoescapethesystemofthepast,fromallthechainreactions.I wanttobethebigbang.However,abeginningisnotafixedpoint,itisfluid. Withoutusevennoticingit'sthere,it'shappeningallthetime,itisthere.
IfindananswertothequestionIcansearchfor.Balance,thethrilloftiltingback andforth,withoutracingspeed.Willpowerreturnslikeawaywardhawktothe gauntlet.Icomebackfromaslumber,trustingmyself.Asifablindfoldhasbeen takenoff,everythingfeelslighter.
IexaminethedifferencebetweenwhereI'mgoingandwhereIwanttogo.That's whereI'mtakenbysurprisebyaballofsparksthatexplodeslikealifeforce,like blowndandelionfluff.Thereisnobetterreasontogobackthantokeepgoing. Lifeisinthegapbetweenthem.Turnandfacethestrange.
True,thefuturedoesnotwait.Mieke van Os, The Netherlands
Oh how I love the changes in life, Out with the old, the baggage and strife.
Yes, I’ll never forget what has brought me to now, Many years of hard work, the sweat from my brow.
The joys of today are built on that history, The loss of old friends, who’s memories fade into mystery.
While I cherish the past, the good with the pain, It’s the future I strive for, with dreams of fresh gains.
Like the leaves in the forest that lose color and drop, Followed by Springtime, forged ahead by life’s eternal clock.
It’s on to the next thing, a child-like secret not yet revealed, Confident that the best will come, it’s splendor momentarily concealed.
My time in life has come as I gently store away any sadness from the past, And bravely encounter the wonders not yet crossed, with plans to explore and with goals not yet surpassed.Artandpoetryby Jim Fleckenstein, USA
Every person has some major changes in their life. Passing through them is equal to a desert, not a paradise. Sometimes it feels that fears can destroy your heart and soul, But you are getting stronger, even tall.
You will receive experience that can be great. So live your life, don’t simply wait! Thus, if you see a gorgeous butterfly, Remember, it was a caterpillar before it learnt to fly.
21.09.2022.Artandpoetryby Arevhat Simonyants, Uzbekistan A rice field, aphotoseries Simona Vasilace, Romania/Japan Julia Teplova, Ukraine/UK
Upheaved by the ludicrous conviction of invincibility
We soared towards the sun And halfway through like Icarus we plunged, with apathetic onlookers partaking in our downfall Yet We were falling victorious Heartened by the certitude That it’s better to crash united Than to linger apartMagdalena Brzezinska, Poland Yulia Ivanova, Russia
Ponder, Marvel, Wonder
It starts slowly, creeping, from the outside silently - no signs there to be acknowledged It isn’t something consumed, it isn’t anything assumed it just lingers, there, cautiously, unafraid of obliviousness. Heedless, like a predator in disguise waiting in ambush.
And then it strikes, violently, coercively, flagrantly disturbing, demanding action, change, transformation. Puzzling maybe, but certainly forceful. No return, a point of inflection. It just is. Not good not bad. There to stay.
A new lodger until the next tide slowly advancing on the sand and then, strike again.
A maze, a labyrinth, a spiral private, lonely, uneventfully perverse? A cure, a healer, vast, immensely helpful? Ponder, marvel, wonder.María Laura Scasso, Argentina Gudny Sigridur Olafsdottir, Iceland
Don’t look in the mirror, There’s nothing to see, That old wrinkled face Is definitely not me!
Those puffy brown eyes Are not really there, Nor is the color of That washed-out white hair. When did my beauty disappear?
Was it now or maybe last year? When I pass the mirror by, Does it reflect a lie?
Look again at that reflection, Try it from a different direction. The mirror will confine. You are who you define.
I may appear wrinkled and old But there's more than an image to behold!
Transition to White
I always thought I’d look a fright
If I let my hair turn all white. I tried it during COVID lockdown, Stopped dying it a dark black-brown. Now when I peer at my mirrored reflection, My gaze goes right to hair inspection. Framing my usual face, White looks out of place, Light reflects it as moonglow, Bright and glistening as fresh snow.
I wonder if I’m different inside, Without colored locks I can’t hide. Do I suddenly look ancient and old?
The color is striking and bold, The symbol of youth disappeared, Replaced by old age much feared. I still feel like me with a head of white. Actually, I think it’s a very cool sight!Judy Gutlerner, USA
HowIwishIhadmoredone Ihavehadsuchayear(andit'sonlyOctober yet).
Intermsofmaking,Istartedwithaverysimplelineofdropshapedchain (necklace/bracelet/earrings).Notcomplicated,butjustforthesakeof gettingmakingagainafteralonghiatusandallthetraumaofseparating frommyhusbandof26years.Theteardropshapesaresad,butratherthan seeingtears,Ichoosetointerpretthemaswaterdroplets/splashingwater asaresultofhavingfunseaswimmingandStand UpPaddleboarding,orthe simplebeautyofraindropssplashingonthewatersurface-lightandbouncy &catchingthesun.
Thenontoaslowprocessof"findingmywings"andstartingtoflyagain. BasedonvisualresearchthatIdidalongtimeago(evenbeforewemet),I createdaringandmatchingearrings.AtthetimeIdrewthis,itwas transformativeasIwasfindingmyinnerartistandconqueringthe misconceivednotionthatIwasnotcreativeandcouldn'tdraw.Nowit representsmefindingmyselfandbeginningtolivemynewlifewith optimism&strength.
NowIfindmyselfworkingonaseriesofgem setnecklacesandearrings basedonhoneycomb.Havingcome"backtocentre"itisamazingtobe properlybusyagainatthebenchandmakingjewellerywithgemsforthe firsttimeinaverylongtime.TheBee suchanindustriousbeasty isa symbolofmebacklivinglifeandworkingatwhatIlovetodo.
Thetransformationfrommyworldcollapsingandfeelingso,solost,to havingfoundmyconfidencetorocklifeisabsolutelyincredible.Idon'tknow whereIfoundthestrength,butitisthereinme.Don'tgetmewrong,mylife isstillfarfromeasy,butsomehowIamhappy.HowdoIknow?An incrediblearrayoftoothygrinnedpictures(yes,bracesandall)orpictures ofmeroaringlaughing,headthrownback,andlookingbeautiful.Artandstoryby Nicole van der Wolf, Ireland
Forover30yearsverylittlehadchangedinthehome.Therewasan occasionalpaintingofsomerooms,picturesgraduallyaddedofchildren's art,somefurnitureupdates,andmorebookshelvesbutmuchremainedthe sameaswhenIfirstwalkedthroughthedoor.Therewasa70svibewiththe rust coloredshagruginthefamilyroom,datedcabinetsinthekitchen,some plasticfixtures,buffedbrickaroundthefireplace,andwoodpanelingin certainrooms.Intheprocessoftime,historicalmarkingsappearedsuchas children'sfingerprintsunnoticedbymostinhiddencorners.Therewere carpetstainsnottotallyremovedfrombirthdaypartiesandholidays.The thirdstepofthestairsbecameabitprecariousandwassometimesavoided. Thingshadgottenold,worn,andinneedofrepair.
Renovatingwasconsideredseveraltimes,buttimingneverseemedright.In Februaryof2022,arealestateagentcalled.ItoldhimthatIwasn't interestedinsellingbutifheknewsomeonetorenovateitwouldbe appreciated.Idescribedtheproject,andheknewaperfectpersonforthe job.Thecontractorvisitedandwetouredthehome.Thekitchenand bathroomsneededupdating,newflooring,fixtures,trim,andpaint. Essentially,everything.Thecontractorsmile,nodded,andunderstood.I gavehimthefreedomtodowhathethoughtwasbest.Hesentphotosof previousworkandanestimate.Weagreedtomoveforwardonahandshake.
Whentheworkstarted,Ileftthe"old"homeforvacation.Ididn'tpickouta singleitem.Thecontractor,withsuggestionsfromoneofmydaughters, startedthework.Intransition,thereisalwaystheunknown.Youhavenot arrivedatthefinaldestination.Thereisatrustandahopethatthefuture willbebetterinsomemysteriousway.Thereisaleapoffaith.Duringthe timeaway,I'doccasionallyreceivedmessagesfrommydaughteraboutthe progress. Aphotoofthekitchenappearedasitwasrippedapart.Shesent, "therestofthehomelookslikethis."Overthreedumpsterswerefilledwith thepast.
Thetransformationwascomplete,andIenteredthenewhome.Monthsof labor,attentiontodetail,freedomtodowhat'sbest,thecontractor'swork wasbetterthanIimagined.Nowisthetimetomakefreshmemoriesandadd somenewhistoricalmarkings.Anthony Kolasny, USA
Carmen Camilleri, Malta
ThetoughestdecisionmyfamilymadewastomovefromSouthAfricatoNew Zealandin1999. Whythemove?
Iwasenjoyingmyeighthyearasaschoolprincipalattwodifferentschools,which wereatthecuttingedgeofnon racialeducation,withamajorityofstudentsnot fromtheruling‘white’class.
Ahistoryteacherraisedinafamilyactivelyopposedtoapartheid,mypassionwasto guideteenageyouthtoreachtheirpotential.ItaughtinZimbabweasittransitioned fromRhodesiatoZimbabwe,learningmuchfromthisamazingexperience.
Idreamtofthedayapartheidwoulddisappear,wewouldliveinanon-racial, democraticcountry,andIwouldbeachange-agentineducation.Myresearch warnedofachallengingtransitionprocess.
Inthemid 80sImovedoutofmycomfortzoneorganizingnon racialyouth symposia,attendedbystudentsfromthroughoutSouthAfrica.Theyrubbed shoulderswithoneanotheroveraweekend,werechallengedandinspiredbya varietyofwell knownpublicfigures,andwhentheyclamberedontotheirbusesat theendofeachsymposium,newfriendshipshadbeenformed,agroupwillingto destroytheapartheidbarriers.
Myschoolwasamemberofacollaborativenetworkofindependent(private)fee payingschoolswiththepotentialtomakeasignificantcontributiontothe‘new SouthAfrica’,leadingthechange.Sadly,thisdidnotoccur.Mostofthewealthier schoolsinournetworkfocusedmoreonthemselves,self interestovershadowing visionarycallstocreateaneweducationnarrative.
TherulingAfricanNationalCongress(ANC)Partylackedthevisionariesnecessary totransitionintothisnewdemocracy.Someneo Marxisteducationleaderswereout oftouch,whileothershappilypracticedapartheidinreversei.e.,whatwouldmy whiteface(theoppressor)knowaboutanon racialdemocracy?
MyChristianfaithwasdeepandstrong.Mysurgeoncommentedthatmyhealing fromcancerasanine year oldboywasamiraclewhenmyfamilyhadbumpedinto himoneday.Godknewmyheart’sdesires.IcriedouttoHiminfrustrationand desperation.HecalledustoNewZealand.Wemiraculouslygainedentry,arriving withoutjobs.
Myfocusshiftedtothedevelopmentoflifeskills,youthmentoring,andpeer mentoringprograms.Ourchildrencompletedtheirschoolingandthecallcameto movetoAustraliawhereweenjoyedtwelvehappyyears,eightofwhichsawmeas anAssistantHeadofalargeco educationalschoolinmydreamjob.Retirementand areturntoNewZealandtobeclosertofamily.
Ioftenreflectonthisjourney.BeforeweleftSouthAfrica,Iturneddownanother potentiallyexcitingschoolprincipal’sjobforreasonsalreadymentioned.My educationpassiondevelopedinnewwayslivingindifferentcultures,writing thirteenpublishedbooks.
Thefullstoryisonmywebsite:www.yess.co.nzRobin Cox, New Zealand Magdalena Brzezinska, Poland
The angel stands on a pier, deep in thought Handsome head tilted slightly to the side, his body has found the peace his mind sought the clouded sky of wind and thoughts stays wild
Gentle strength and quiet self confidence the still waters of the bay are his heart
The strong stone pier, which today does present Lures with false whispers to delay his start
One step, two, and there is no solid ground Just the distant shore, the bay, and the sky Murky depths try to frighten and confound But can’t deter the angel from his way
Angels don’t stumble when faced with the unknown they walk across the waves, and never drownAki Halme, Finland