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Eden From the Beach

In my youth I well remember picking up the odd glass ball as I walked on the beaches of Vancouver Island.  They were floats that had broken off Japanese fishing nets and followed the currents across the ocean until they washed up on the shores of the north Pacific coast.  We still have a few of them and prize them greatly if only for the memories they invoke.  These glass balls can transport your spirit back to the beach as easily as a seashell cupped to your ear.  

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Dale Chihuly grew up near Seattle, also on the same Salish Sea, and found similar glass balls from the same source along the beaches of Puget Sound, but he wasn't content to hang on to them as sentimental souvenirs to remind him of the places in his past.  Dale Chihuly allowed them to fuel his imagination and take him to a world of wonder and beauty.  He breathed new life into the old glass floats.  

Today marked the closing of the Dale Chihuly installation at the Royal Ontario Museum.  Some of the art critics poured cold water on the exhibit apparently hungry for more of an academic explanation for the meaning of the various pieces, but the public flocked to the show in record numbers and for good reason.  It was the essence of light in a world that can seem so dark.  It was creation in a world that often appears bent on destruction.  It was a triple rainbow of colour in a world where important things fade and so many other things are reduced to black and white.  

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I visited the show twice over its six months taking both my daughters and my wife and on the final exhibit was also joined by my dear friend, Corey Keeble, Curator Emeritus.  The first visit was during the sweltering heat of summer when the world outside was wilting and finding it hard to breath. On that day it was an Eden.  My second visit was on a frigid day in mid-December when it was just as hard to catch one's breath at street level, but upon entering the Chihuly exhibit it was as if I had arrived at Christmas a week early.  All at once the Chilhuly both took your breath away and yet gave you a second wind.  The exhibits dance with colours and shapes that emanate joy and love.  There was nothing religious about the show, but it works with light and is formed and shaped by the breath of the artist.  Another word for breath is spirit and this was a deeply spiritual show if you were willing to go there.

Grace and Peace,

Peter 

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Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes

Peter Holmes, BA, MDiv, DMin is the Minister of the Congregation at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church

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