Art Is Life


Imagine my delight and surprise last week when a deliciously large package from a random stranger named Leanne Spanza arrived in the mail. And then imagine how wonderful it was to find it contained the painting above. A painting of Houseboat 28 under fabulous northern lights, a regular occurrence around here these days. In fact Thursday night was the best I’ve ever seen. I drove home from an evening shift at work across whisper still waters. The whole northern half of the sky was alight. A solid mass of whispery green light, bordered by dancing ribbons of darker green edged with red. These lights lit my way home across the water. They were also reflected on the calm surface of the lake, giving rise to light both above and below. When I arrived home the dogs joined me and they too were transfixed, sitting on the edge of the deck and gazing at sky. The stillness of the evening, the solitude, the magic of those lights and the calm interest of the dogs was something I hope I never forget.

When I think back upon my time here in Yellowknife so far, my favorite memories are of those commutes home in the late evening, in fall, across the water and under a light filled night sky. There is just something incredibly peaceful and unworldly about those times. I guess it’s an experience outside of myself, a feeling of connection to something much bigger and more enduring. Something very real.

So the delight of a gift of this painting is all the more special. It’s a gift of a permanent memory of this place and those times. It turns out the gift was from my amazing colleagues at the office at the University of British Columbia where I’ve held a position for the past 3 years. (I’ve stepped down from my medical director position, although I continue to work in a lesser capacity on projects – it’s too exciting to walk away from.) They commissioned Leanne to do this painting, which she created from images on this blog.  The painting is a thank you gift for those 3 years, and I am doubly blessed. I have never before, and unlikely will ever again, work with such a wonderful group of hardworking, appreciative and supportive people. Thank you Bob, Brenna and Andrea for all that you have taught me. It’s a whole other blog post to tell you about the experience of working in such a supportive environment, after two decades on the front lines in healthcare, a fractured and cracking system where folks are well meaning, but often not given the all the tools they need to do the job with any sense of ease, or support. Suffice it to say here that the experience was eye opening, this model of how effectively we can work together, given the right conditions.

I love it when art reflects life.

About Tandi

I love my morning coffee, reading, the wilderness, paddling, poetry, my Spanish husband, and being a doctor. I also love writing my blog, and reading yours.
This entry was posted in Collected Wisdoms and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Art Is Life

  1. Joyce Rabesca says:

    How blessed you are! And, all of us here in the north. I love reading your posts especially when I see my dear friend and massage therapist Jennifer enjoying your company as well as, Greg Robertson. Wishing you many more wonderful and mystical times on Great Slave Lake.

    • Tandi says:

      Thanks so much Joyce. Jenn is a wonderful friend, but also a trouble maker at times. This week she was suggesting that I post a retraction on my blog about the fish fry competition. (You Don’t Know Jack). She proposes that I should say that in fact I thought her fish was better than my husbands. For the marital disharmony it would certainly lead to, she was prepared to sacrifice a small bag from her 25 pound harvest of cranberries to compensate me. See what I mean? She’s trouble!!

  2. Tandi,
    It’s perfect. I love it.
    So happy for you.
    Hugs, K

  3. Wally and Val brodie says:

    All your whole blog has been great,and I admit I am really envious of your Northern adventure.
    Please ,you must write a book about your life in the north.I’m Sure itt would be a big hit.

    Wally Brodie.

    • Tandi says:

      Hi Wally,

      I think perhaps your soul is calling you to come and visit the north! Thanks for your suggestion of a book about my experiences – its something to think about.

  4. shoreacres says:

    What wonderful experiences you share – both of nature and of the very special people with whom you work. The painting is beautiful, but how I do envy you those Northern lights. I think seeing the dogs watch them would have been as wonderful as the lights themselves.

    • Tandi says:

      It was quite something to see the dogs watching the lights. It seemed so strange – they were so much themselves, and yet calmly sitting and observing the big sky. It was an experience outside of my everyday life, and it gives me pleasure to know that we don’t know everything about those we love, and all the beings around us. We can always be surprised, if our eyes are open.

  5. Hi Tandi,
    I’m thrilled you like your painting, it was so lovely to create it for you with Andrea, Brenna and Bob. Your blog really inspired it and allowed me to get to know the stories of Houseboat 28 and the beauty of the north. I hope you enjoy the painting and thank you.
    Leanne Spanza

    • Tandi says:

      Hey Leanne!

      Thanks for stopping by the blog, and I’m so glad to be able to thank you in person for your wonderful painting. I love it! Do you have a website where folks can see more of your great work?

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