Friday, October 23, 2009

All Souls Night and All Saints Day

"Make a wish"

Halloween is an appropriate time to reflect on little black cats. Tiger Tim is the tabby who walks alone, but Merry follows me around like a shadow. For variety she anticipates my moves and gets there first. After her first year spent in a shelter, this little house presents a maze of possibilities. Black as Kohinoor's India Ink, she settles herself in the darkest patterned areas of carpet, behind a curtain, on an unlit section of the stairs or in corners I hadn't even noticed before. Only a blink of her green eyes shows that she is there. Yesterday she was just inside the bedroom closet - where, oh horrors, I stepped on her soft paw before I could see her. (St. Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of cats.)

In Scottish tradition black cats are considered good luck. (St. Andrew, patron saint of Scotland) After a run of nuisance problems I could wonder about that, but good things are happening too. I have an art show coming up in November. Last weekend I made the hour's drive north to visit the gallery again. (Saint Christopher, patron saint of travellers) It is a scenic trip away from the highways and up past the Niagara escarpment, through farming country and small towns.

Arriving in Eden Mills we crossed the bridge and there it was, the In a Heartbeat Gallery. (Who is the patron saint of artists? I had thought St Luke, whose portrait of the Madonna was the template for women in medieval art. It seems there are three more: Angelico, Catherine of Bologna, and Saint Michael the Archangel. A learned friend says that Saint Michael is also the patron saint of fairies.)

"In a Heartbeat" is currently featuring the work of sculptor Jamie Brick. Avril's latest article for Faerie Magazine was about Jamie and his highly imaginative work. (St. Claud, patron saint of sculptors)

In a Heartbeat is a lovely gallery with an almost fairy tale quality. The wood-burning stove is welcoming on these cooler days and the big sofa beckons you to sit down and enjoy the art. We looked over the paintings I had brought and discussed dates and lead-up preparations. After concluding our business we took a little walk up the road to see the mill pond and the eponymous mill wheel of Eden Mills. It was quiet this day, but in September Eden Mills is bustling with the annual writer's festival . (Saint Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers)

Then home again under steel-blue skies, passing by fields remembered in Thanksgiving hymns , "Come ye Thankful People Come", "We Plough the Fields and Scatter". (Saint Isidore the farmer, patron saint of farmers and labourers)

I have my voice back and I can join in the hymns again, with enthusiasm if not talent. (Saint Cecilia, patron saint of music, and St. Jude, patron saint of lost causes) Why the list of saints? Halloween is an enjoyable diversion, but the day after is the prize, All Saints Day.


  1. Oh, I do love this post! It is quirky, and encouraged me to continue reading and looking at the imagery, wondering which saint might next be called forth.

    I wish you great success with your exhibit. The gallery looks like a beautiful site.

    Also best wishes to that black cat. Have a marvelous Halloween and All Saints Day.


  2. I have never thought about artists having a Patron Saint but it is a nice idea. My husband was named after the Patron Saint of lost things which in his case is very apt. (Saint Anthony.)

    I enjoyed the virtual road trip with you to the gallery, it looks so interesting, so different than anything we have here in the UK. I hope you have a great show, I am sure you will.

    We used to sing "For all the Saints" at school. it was a favourite of mine so thanks for reminding me.

  3. Strangely Linda and I have never been to Eden Mills, but it looks beautiful in your blog pictures today.

    We will have to get out to see your exhibit. It should be a lot of fun and an interesting drive. Maybe we could even get our daughter in Guelph to bring our grandchildren over for the day.

  4. The gallery is just outside of Guelph and I so want to go. The next chemo is Nov. 19th, so probably not. Barry will have no immunities and there is so much flu. Natasha's Christmas violin concerts are coming up around then too.
    The gallery and the area look so beautiful!!!
    Happy All Saints Day, Frances. We need a patron saint of chemotherapy and radiation.

  5. Linda and Barry, I just looked it up: St. Peregrine Laziosi is the patron saint of cancer patients (and not to forget St. Luke the Physician, for all kinds of healing).
    If you ever go up to the Eden Mills area there is a truly excellent restaurant in Rockwood on #7, aptly named Heaven on Seven. Highly recommended!