Dancing at the Destination


From the Globe and Mail. October 28, 2013


Moment in Time  (by Kim Mackrael)

October 28, 1830. Escaped slave Josiah Henson reaches Canada

It was an autumn morning when Josiah Henson first set foot on Canadian soil after a grueling journey with his wife and four children.

After crossing the Niagara River from Buffalo, he recalled, “I threw myself on the ground, rolled in the sand, seized handfuls of it and kissed them, and danced around, till, in the eyes of several who were present, I passed for a madman.”

A staunch Methodist preacher, Henson founded a settlement for former slaves in Dawn Township near Dresden, Ont., and worked to help others escape the U.S. South via the Underground Railroad. But he’s perhaps best known as the inspiration for the main character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an abolitionist novel often said to have helped start the U.S. Civil War.  


Feet that Speak


Excerpt from “How Beautiful the Feet”  By Dr. Maxine Hancock

From: The Regent World  (Summer 2009. Vol. 21, No.2) 

I run up the central stairs of Regent College and catch my breath at an art installation I pass on my way to my second-floor office –Vancouver sculptor David Robinson’s chalk-white piece: a preacher, pathetically thin and apparently naked, boxed in by a pulpit which is, as it turns out, also a cross. The piece is titled, “Speak.” but I give it my own title as I pass: “So, you want to be a preacher.”

What particularly draws my eyes are the long, narrow feet dangling below the pulpit (Size 12, triple A, I think), feet that are painfully, vulnerably bare. Every vein is distinct, the feet bony and chalky. Normally, the speaker’s feet would be encased in well-polished leather, and perhaps draped by swishing robes: here, they speak of mortality and fragility. I find these feet throat-catchingly beautiful. In the pathos of these bare feet, the artist insists that we remember the preacher’s humanity.