To see the old as beautiful as Venus, Jupiter dancing

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, March 7, 2012

Two derelict car bodies on opposite sides of the world caught the attention of a pair of keen-eyed Cochrane adventurers. Ernest Enns stands by one with quite a trunk. Photos by Ernest Enns, top, and Michael Simpson, bottom

They say that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Responses to last week’s column seem to prove the point, while one in particular invites us to view all of life with heavenly new eyes.

I had featured a black-and-white photo of a derelict car body taken by Cochrane Eagle publisher Jack Tennant and colour-embellished in blue by local artist Janet Armstrong. The artwork was part of my home-office Lenten display, a reminder to live each day wisely in view of the brevity of our mortal journey.

Two of our adventurous Cochrane-area coffee companions responded with photos of their own they had taken on opposite sides of the world.

Retired professor Ernest Enns sent me his shot of a 1930s Chevy with a Kanuka tree growing out of it. He had taken it in the town of Picton, the northern gateway to the South Island of New Zealand.

“This is where the Wellington to Picton Ferry docks,” he wrote, “the only passenger-and-car water connection between the two islands.”

It’s also from Picton that travellers can take the Pacific coastal train to Christchurch and view the breathtaking scenery outdoors from an open carriage, he said.

Not to be outdone, globetrotting mountaineer Michael Simpson sent me his photo of a rusting, leaf-covered car body he came across on the other side of the world while climbing above Gaspe Bay in eastern Canada.

The region is the ancient homeland of the Mi’kmaq people who called the area “Gespeg,” which means “the place where the land ends,” an appropriate setting for the place where the old car’s days ended, too.

Reflecting on photos of old car bodies like the one I celebrated in last week’s column, Cremona reader Kathie Reid also responded.

“This is indeed an evocative picture,” she wrote. “It reminds me that nothing is a waste in God’s economy. Whether it’s a broken life, a worn-out life or a rejected life, there is something beautiful to be redeemed, if we look with the proper eyes.”

Speaking of seeing old things with the proper eyes, there’s a pair of delightful old heavenly bodies about to do a stellar dance overhead during the next few evenings.

Venus and Jupiter will be in conjunction on March 15, when the two brightest planets in our night sky appear to pass each other. This is prime-time viewing in the western sky for a few hours after sunset.

Right now, Jupiter appears to be following the much brighter Venus. Because of how they journey around the sun as viewed from Earth, however, Jupiter will appear to overtake his lovely partner, so that after the conjunction, Venus will appear to be chasing Jupiter, until they cozy down together in the setting sun later in the spring.

For a graphic description of this vivid event, check out Happy seeing!


© 2012 Warren Harbeck

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