From snow and mud to beaches and forests: a Valentine wish

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, February 8, 2018

Dump of snow on car windshield, viewed from inside, and splash of mud on car door (top images) suggested summertime beaches and foothills forests created from same images (bottom). Photos by Warren Harbeck

“Some men see things as they are and say, Why? I dream things that never were and say, Why not?” The late U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s words echoed through my imagination on two recent mid-winter occasions.

When I went out to my car the other day, I was understandably distressed over the fresh dump of snow I’d have to brush off. But when I got behind the wheel to start the engine, I saw my flaky foe from a new perspective.

As I inserted the key into the ignition, I looked up into the windshield and was amazed by the subtle pattern of waves created by the blanket of snow as it lay on the other side of the glass.

I pulled out my iPhone and took the photo at the top left in the accompanying collage. Later that day, without changing a single line in the original image, I adjusted contrast and colorized it in duotone aqua and brown.

Voilà, instant summertime beach, with gentle waves washing the shore (bottom left)! I mean, why not?

And then there was that moment a few days earlier when I noticed an intriguing pattern to the mess of mud on my driver’s side door (top right image). Oh, yes, I knew what I had to do about that, too. Click! Then back at my desk, I inverted the bright and dark areas, adjusted contrast, and colorized the image duotone green and blue.

Voilà, instant summertime foothills forest under puffy clouds, a perfect location for family camping! Again I ask, why not?

Such opportunities to transform adversity into beauty remind me of wisdom that Stoney Nakoda Elder Tina Fox, of Morley, learned from a crocus growing on the hillside above her home.

Tina is no stranger to adversity. See her columnist-son Trent Fox’s article in last week’s Eagle on her experiences in the residential school system. There’s also the adversity she faced as the first woman elected to her community’s traditionally all-male band council.

The crocus Tina speaks of was more beautiful than all the other crocuses in the meadow, she says. Why was it so beautiful? It was growing right out of the middle of a cow pie! And the lesson? When life dumps on you, it’s providing an opportunity to be even more beautiful!

Feeling dumped on? Snow, mud, life? Beauty just waiting to bloom? Why not? It all depends on how you look at it, eh?

By the way, Tina was born on Feb. 14. Happy birthday, Valentina!


© 2018 Warren Harbeck

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