Today was Easter and I'm missing my little boys. The excitement on their faces, the sugar infused madness of running around a house full of orchestrated magic. I miss my greenhouse and the buds on the honeysuckle. I can't wait to listen to the birds of spring in the forest around my house, or the peepers on the lower land. The way the sun filters through my wife's hair when the light catches her just right. I'm far away, and my heart longs for the peace of my home. I'm sitting with "Mila" today. She is being employed by the residence that we're staying at right now. This place also provides accommodation for Ukrainian refugees of a terrible conflict they didn't ask for. I spoke with her at length through a translator on a phone that we turned back and forth on a tabletop. The first words I typed out to Mila were, "My friend and I are from Canada, we're here to show the people of Ukraine that you're not alone."
It was Easter for Mila and her three children yesterday too. She fled her home in the beautiful Carpathian countryside to an uncertain future in a land that's not her own. She showed me pictures of a river running through a forest with heavy snow laden branches. The words "Only could God create something so beautiful" caption a scene that could very well be in my own backyard.
Her husband fights in a major Ukrainian city that I won't name to protect his identity. I can only surmise that he's fighting to protect the sovereignty of a land that he holds like a treasure. Much the way I would mine if someone tried to take it. The light in Mila is the universal strength of a mother. She wants nothing more than the safety of her children and that of her husband. The conflict in Ukraine has forced six million people like Mila to flee the beauty of their own homes. To flee the safety of a partner's arms. To run to a future that may never include them again. The pain is palpable. Yet. Mila sits up straight, her composure crisp. Her chin is low, her eyes straight ahead. Like a fighter preparing for a scrap. She didn't want this fight, but she's in it. We're standing with her. We hope that the rest of Canada stands with her too.
Three gents in the midst of shifting gears focused on tenets of adventure, comradery, peace, good food and the pursuit of artistic purpose.