Worship Wednesdays - Peggy's Cove & The "Art" of Hope

In Canada, we just enjoyed the annual tradition of a relaxing Victoria Day Weekend. As one of our activities, we decided to visit Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia - one of the most celebrated and beautiful spots in the country.

We strolled throughout the tiny fishing village, enjoying the artisans, feasting on lobster, and soaking in the beauty of the iconic lighthouse.

One of the most inspiring moments of the day was our visit to the William deGarthe Museum

DeGarthe was born in Finland, but emigrated to Canada in the late 1920's where he built his career as a painter and sculptor. In the 1930's, he became one of a growing group of artists to discover the unique beauty of Peggy's Cove. He eventually bought a house in the community and moved his full-time studio to a home overlooking the water.

Peggy's Cove is a geological wonder with it's amazingly sculptural granite. It seems to erupt from the ground, pushing grass and trees aside and peppering the landscape with oversized boulders.

Every day, deGarthe would pass a particular outcropping. It was long and narrow. He envisioned it as a canvas, and figures began to emerge in his imagination...

William deGarthe's Fishermen's Monument, in its beautiful natural setting.

In the 1970's, he began his most ambitious project to date: a Fisherman's Monument. This 30 metre (100 ft) carving would be inspired by and a tribute to the people of Peggy's Cove.

DeGarthe imagined the mural in three sections: Grace, Bounty, and Work. In Grace, we see St. Elmo spreading his wings of protection over the fishing family. In Bounty, we see the legendary Peggy of the Cove holding a basket of fish, and representing the "Keeper of the Bounty." In Work, we see the people of Peggy's Cove, casting nets and providing the lifeblood of the village. There are 32 figures in all, including men, women, and children. 

Local men & women served as the models for each figure.

The fisherman leads the whole monument.

Everything was carved by hand. The display of the tools used show small chisels and hammers.

The work has stood for over 30 years, with minimal damage despite its exposure to hurricanes, harsh winters, salt spray, and ocean winds.

The Fisherman's Monument is an amazing work of art and, coupled with the museum, is truly worth the visit. It's easy to find inspiration in its beauty, craft, and story.

But here's the part that blew me away:

deGarthe began his masterpiece when he was in his 70's!

That's right. At over 70 years old, he took on a 10 year project of intense physical labour and deep artistic commitment.

This just amazes me. What an act of hope!
A detail of St. Elmo watching over the fisher men & women.

So many people choose to slow down as they get older. I know people in their 40's and 50's who are already saying things like, "Well, I haven't accomplished it yet, so I guess I won't in this lifetime."

I know there are realistic limits to our ages. I know there are a finite number of things we can do in our time on this earth. But when I heard this story, I was reminded of one of my favourite quotes:

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
C.S. Lewis

As the story goes, deGarthe wasn't able to finish the final details his masterpiece. But that didn't stop the dream. After his death, a team of artists completed his vision. Because of his passion and commitment, thousands of people continue to be inspired by this wonderful work of art.

Our skills and talents are not gifts to be held in check. They are not for our satisfaction alone. We are meant to create and share with the world.

So I challenge myself, and I ask you as well: 

What is your next goal? What is your next dream?

And now, let's go make it happen! 



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Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

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