Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Winding Road

photo by Lorraine Alford
A while back when I started this blog, before any of the UkrainianVancouver, or UkrainianChicago blogs were up and running, I felt an urge to write.  There seemed to be so much information emanating from the north of Ukraine, and very little cross-North America news.  I know that Bohdan at Yevshan started a Ukrainian community events calendar shortly after, but there wasn't anybody just chatting about stuff. So I found my niche.

Father Taras Krochak
Meandering thoughts about community, connections, long tendrils of acquaintance-friendship-relationship circled in my mind.  It seemed that so many of the people in the Ukrainian community knew each other!  Sadly, across time and distance we would mostly say - haven't heard about them for a long time!  Quiet moments full of rich memories....where are those formerly dear friends now?

My dearest friend, Mom, is up to her eyeballs in garden, grandchildren, and genealogical studies. I took a photo of her glorious bar-v-nok to use as my blog's calling card.  Long, tender yet resilient vines of green bursting out of the ground and reaching with their endlessly beautiful periwinkle coloured blossoms - stretching across the garden path.  Seeking what? Seeking the future?

Korovai by Luba Macewko
Preparing for my daughter's wedding last summer, many dear friends contributed their garden bar-v-nok, to braid and curl, twine and twist the pliable filaments for the traditional regalia to be used at their Marriage Sacrament - the Crowning.  I couldn't believe how long the vines stayed beautifully green!  No wilting, no drooping, the crowns retained their vitality well into the second week after the wedding and further!  I am reminded that they are evergreen, but wow do they stay long!


When I got married, my grandmother had laboriously tended and babied a myrtle plant in her house in Manitoba to use for my wreath! Smaller vines, grown on a firmer stock, but equally beautiful, if more fragile looking.  She watered the vines judiciously to exact the precise firmness - not too tender and slender, but not too tough or impliable - retaining the family wisdom about a proper match, of course.  Then my friend Ken, the florist thought to apply gold leaf to the myrtle leaves, which Baba, in all humility thought would be too ostentatious. Ken did apply miniature white blossoms though - the wreath was simply stunning.

The resilient vines of barvinok in my garden took on a deep, thick green over the winter, but now their gyrating filaments are warmed and nourished in the spring rains. It is hard to tell where one slender shoot ends and another begins.  Life is like that too.  Grafted onto the vine of life, the barvinok reminds us to stay connected to the vine, even in the cold of winter because the spring will return with its luscious growth, time, after time, after time.......


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