Last night, in a theatre with 100 other people, I was immersed in a symphony of light, shadow, colour, movement, and song that achieved what the best of human art aspires to: a reflecting back to the Creation something of its own beauty. The late eco-theolgian Thomas Berry often said that "human consciousness is the universe reflecting back on itself" and that our creativity in art and science is the Cosmos celebrating itself in conscious awareness.
In his life and death, Courtney Milne, one of the prairie's great artists and mystics, joined in that Cosmic celebration more than anyone I know. Courtney died just last August, leaving us with his photographs and wisdom to accompany us on our own creative paths. Seeing his work again last night on a large screen in a multi-media presentation, illumined by a choir singing poems to life and to the earth, was incredibly moving. All of us gathered there could feel it, our hard edges blurring just a bit, a flow of energies we don't often acknowledge binding us together in a shared experience that seemed, for lack of any better word, liturgical.
The choir, focussed, balanced, and singing and moving with great mindfulness and accord, was conducted by Jean-Marie Kent, a visiting professor at the University of Regina. The music she selected worked seamlessly with the dance of Courtney's imagery put together by Gerald Saul and David Gerhard. A luminous spirit shone through the whole experience, a spirit well familiar to those who knew Courtney and his work.
The Mendell Art Gallery is putting together a solo exhibition of Courtney's Pool of Possibility work this summer. Perhaps there will be a way to recreate something from last night's performance at the show's opening.
To learn more about Courtney's most recent work, the beauty he found in his own backyard and the wisdom it engendered in his heart, please visit the Poolof Possibilities website. Courtney's partner Sherrill Miller maintains the site, which I recommend to anyone looking to find creativity, insight, and soulfulness in their days.
During the last year of his life, Courtney gave me a year's subscription to an e-calendar of his poolside wisdom and daily photographs. Spending a few minutes each day with Courtney at the Pool of Possibilities always brought me down to earth, reminding me I have a body and a soul and some responsibilities that go along with them.