Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – How Did I Get To This Place? – December 13, 2010 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – How did I get to this place?

It has been just over a year since my introduction to Cornwall Free News readers through my weekly column Earth Matters.  So what is it that sparks a Mixed Media Artist and Photographer to undertake such an endeavor?  As I look back to understand pivotal moments that have brought me to this point I share the following.

As a child I enjoyed to spend time outdoors amongst the trees and long grasses.  Simple things like collecting eggs on my grandparent’s farm and watching the turkeys and chickens

were simple moments that brought joy.  I can remember spending hours with my cousin playing in the dirt with jars and spoons.  Pure simple joy; building, pretending, inventing.  Collecting berries in the field, pumping water from the well, eating carrots and peas from the garden gave me a basic understanding of where our food came from and the work involved.

I saw a pig slaughtered once…it was very upsetting to me.  I couldn’t bear to watch the whole process.  I still eat meat so I guess it wasn’t that traumatic.  I do however understand that a life has given his or hers and as such deserves my respect and care while alive and my respect when taken to insure that its life is not wasted.  I would have seen first hand that the earth provided material, food and water for the basic survival of me and all the animals my Baba and Gido cared for.

When I began school I lived on a farm around Orangeville away from my immediate family with a German family.  I recollect many a summer day enjoying the dogs, horses and yellow

birds which I saw fly about.  I can only assume they were Gold Finches.  This family had an orchard of apple trees.  The children, including myself were often pressed into service to collect the caterpillars from the apple trees.  These little fuzzy creatures were collected by the family and burnt in a can of oil.  Certainly not a sight for a little girl to witness or feel happy about.  Perhaps my empathy for these creatures is what birthed within me, a heart that cares for and respects all living creatures; innately knowing that there is a place for everything and that we are all somehow connected and that our survival is connected to the survival of the other.

Grade seven introduced me to Environmental Studies with my teacher Mr. Green.  Could any teacher have a better name to teach such a topic? It was a subject that I enjoyed and excelled at.  Like any junior high student I was always plugged into a radio…in this case a transistor radio.  Lyrics such as “they paved paradise and put up a parkin’ lot”, “They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum and they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them” and “Awe you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction” to name a few, certainly left an indelible mark on such a young mind.

Fast forward to post secondary years after Ryerson.  I found myself working for an Art Gallery in Peterborough, Ontario.  An Art Gallery that specialized in Native Art.  They represented
native artists Norman Knott and Fred Sagashi and introduced me to the work of the now deceased Norval Morrisseau.  Through a client of the Gallery I was also introduced to the native culture of Australia. Similarities in the culture’s creation stories and their respect for Mother Earth were noted. Essentially what this environment and these Artists introduced me to, was The Circle of Life and Mother Earth.  The Art and Culture that I was introduced to cemented in me that “all living things are intertwined; our continued existence depends on our coexistence”.

It is this understanding and my love and concern for our planet that brings me to inform and hopefully delight Cornwall Free News’ audience with information that will encourage you to see and care for the wonders that exist around us all.  I thank you for your continued support and look forward to sharing many more Earth Matters in the New Year.

Your comments are encouraged and welcome below or to


  1. As always, a wonderful story. Please don’t stop telling them.

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