Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Get a coffee, tea, a cookie, or a blow of trail mix, pull up a chair and join us for this first instalment of our Artist Cross-Canada Tour 2021 Blog (it’s a long title, maybe someone can suggest something shorter and catchier?)
James and I share similar views, but our perspectives are different, so we are going to attempt to use both our voices as we narrate our story of crossing Canada.
Jaime Lee here:
Day 1: We were bound for Prince Edward Island. We checked the travel restrictions before we headed out. Wait…nope. We quickly learned from the PEI travel site that there was no more East Coast bubble, and no way to visit PEI without sacrificing 8 days of our journey to self-isolate. I was hoping to see the Trans Canada Trail marker in PEI that was dedicated to my late father, Edward Hilson Rawlins (1951-1994). This trail marker was installed in the mid 1990ies, and I haven’t been since, and I don’t know when I will get there again
So I took a deep breath, James picked up the phone and called his parents, Greg Sr. and Cathy. We informed the Lightles in New Brunswick that we would be landing at their place in Oromocto New Brunswick later that afternoon. NB was still open, no travel restrictions for Canadians at least.
Jim is writing now!
Here is just a little insight about me in case we have not met: In 15 years, I have gone from being a driven soldier to a man that was using art to stay in the moment (something I still struggle with). Now, I think of myself as Veteran and an Artist. For me, life has been about constant growth.
I wanted to do this trip since my injury in 2006. This trip just happened to coincide with the Fifteenth anniversary of being blown up in Afghanistan. For me the idea of this trip was to see if Canada was worth my Sacrifice of my mind and body. How much your life can change in just one second (boom!). Not if that was not enough, the month of our trip happened to also coincide with the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Before I left home, I grabbed one special object and put it in my pocket for this Journey: my prayer Card that any Engineer on my tour should still have on them. It has Psalm 91 and the Engineer prayer in it. On the back was a message that Said: “Come home! Prayers and blessings - Padre Jean Johns”. Thanks again for that Padre Johns.
[Task Force Afghanistan ROTO 2 Prayer Card]
This was going to be it a trip of a lifetime and with the new information about PEI meant we were going to be one province short (I had also been to PEI in the past). I was bothered by how far things have changed in 18months. But it was time to head to Oromocto. My Parents were more than happy to give us a bed for the night. A stay with mom and dad usually comes with one of either my favourite foods or Jaime lee’s. This time it happened to be mine: Potato Cheese Onion Pie.
I hope you enjoy some of the art that was inspired by our travels.
[Left to right: Near Kenora, Ont by James C E Lightle; Superior, ON by James C E Lightle; Foothills, Alb by James C E Lightle; Mount Tekarra, Alb by James C E Lightle; Crop Dustin', Manitoba by James C E Lightle; Cypress Interprovincial, Sask by James C E Lightle]
One last thing before we wrap up this first instalment of our travel journal, we will leave you with this excerpt:
“Art is the bedrock of culture itself. It is the foundation of the process by which we unite ourselves psychologically and come to establish productive peace with others. As it is said, “Man shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). That is exactly right. We live by beauty. We live by literature. We live by art (Peterson, 2021).