Sunday, 17 November 2013

Lysychka Sestrichka - Foxy Loxy

lk 2013
My daughter sent me this photo, "Look who I saw on the way to work today!"  driving through the Northern Alberta Boreal Forest! The harsh, long and cold winter season has finally arrived in Calgary, but for workers in Canada's economic frontier,  Lysychka Sestrichka is the spirited red-hair Foxy lady that guides the trek into the Boreal Forest. Isn't she the perfect example of elegant discernment, resilience, intelligence and beauty!

Some readers know I am a nut-case for human folklore and mythology. Of course the fox in popular culture is a vixen, a female, which is perhaps not too bad because the phrase "to outfox" means "to beat in a competition of wits, to "outsmart" or "outwit". In First Nations wisdom, the Trickster is an alchemist, a culture hero who questions the status-quo, and transforms beliefs when a way of thinking becomes outmoded or needs to be torn down.  In most folklore, what is meaningful about seeing Lysychka Sestrichka - the Foxy Lady, is that she appears as a time of major life transition. In Ukrainian folklore, Lysyschka Sestrichka is a smart girl, agile and adaptable.

Both daughters were born in the north.  The city was a third of the size, but Fort McMurray's Ukrainian Cultural Society was a going concern, with pysanka and paska workshops, guest performers, community events and Ukrainian dance school of 100 children.  Even then the quick witted Lysychka Sestrichka and her friend Lys Mykyta sat on the other side of the bridge crossing the breathtakingly beautiful Athabasca River, winking in shared humour at how complex, yet simple everything can be.  Of course there is danger at the edge of civilization, but there is also an excitement and exhilaration about quick and agile thinking.  The spirit of the fox may imply that one is sharpening their physical alertness and responsiveness!

Ivan Franko's superb light hearted story of Lys Mykyta, a fable full of humour, and wisdom was once as essential to each Ukrainian Canadian pioneer home as Mother Goose. It really is a brilliantly constructed ancient tale about the irresistible, independent and indomitable Fox Mykyta whose insights into human frailty enables his eventual triumphs. Today's readers might understand Fox Mykyta as a classic example of emotional intelligence at work! Tenacious, indeed!  Watch to see  Лис Микита.  
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