Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Happy Magpie

Kaniv amk2013
My daughter recently laughed while calling me a "hobby Ukrainian".  I instantly got the impression she was humouring me for the intense delight Ukrainian stuff gives me.  I get the impression she thinks I am like a magpie, gleefully picking out the sparkly bits from a pile of refuse - but I am a happy magpie.
Kaniv amk2013
Sparkly things call out to me.  I get such a kick out of the simple reminders of happy times, call it a nostalgia for the romantic things that tug at my heart strings.  Old friends,  comfortable with a soft reference to a common experience that forever changed our life path.  We could have been "other", but for some reason, over wide distances and across time, we carry a bond, a love of ancestral things, maybe it is simply love? Family isn't just who you grew up with, for me at least.  Family is the people who have contributed to my world view - to my romantic, rose-coloured lens view of Ukrainian stuff.

Living the diaspora experience is living "without" - hopefully living with economic opportunity, but sadly having to leave the ancestral places, the soil in which great-great-great grandparents stepped, living with a snapshot picture of the ideal past, the ideal present, the ideal future.  Really, it is living in a time warp.  A person living away from the ancestral homeland cannot possibly live in one reality while living completely in another place, but for Ukrainians world-wide, ancestry is like a gift of time - time in a bottle.

Kaniv amk2013
So in my private life I enjoy the "hobby Ukrainian" things, stuff like reading the runes in an embroidered scarf - trying to figure out the magic in the message.  Sometimes I look at Ukrainian ceramics, pysanky or other art and try to understand the symbols, the birds, the ram, the colours.  It is like I am trying to figure out what the person creating the art work was thinking, because I know artists think differently.  Some artists think in words, some think in art, some think with their hands, their bodies, their voices, others pass on a phrase or idea that has been passed on for generations.  Other boldly try to shape the world to match their vision of how it should look! How to enjoy the small things, within the big things, and still understand the huge things? How it all connects?  Try to soar above it all, and pick up the sparkly bits! You never know what you might find?  Maybe, like me, you might want to take some of the sparkly stuff into your everyday life just for fun!



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