Dark times always precede revolutionary times.
Early into the 21st Century we survived WW1 for four years, and right on it’s heals, the worldwide Spanish Flu Pandemic that ravaged the lands for two full years.
Enter the Roaring 20’s! Liberation and celebration. Everyone who survived the last six years was feeling their vitality in full force, and were ready to take on the future with gusto! Women miraculously managed to get the vote in the midst of the pandemic in North America, and it showed. Young women in droves were seeking independence in spite of previous social norms. Living on their own, working for their own wages and dressing how they pleased. The corset came off, and so did their Mother’s sanctioned Edwardian era hair, along with the weight of others’ expectations of who they were supposed to be.
Freedom and liberation were the essence of the moment. Skirts got shorter, music got louder, and dreams got bigger. It was a time for parties and frivolity after surviving and being released from the restrictions of war and plague, but more interestingly, it was a time for new waves of thought. The idea machine was in full force! Great thinkers and innovators emerged after so much time in isolation, and pontifications about the possibilities for the future exploded on the scene. Creatives, artists of all kinds, writers and performers took centre stage, even if in smokey corners of coffee houses, burlesque halls and speak easy’s. Nothing quite makes you want to live, like being faced with an abundance of death, and people most certainly lived during the raucous 20’s.
Now here we are again, a hundred years later. After watching in dismay, and enduring four years of war on our democracy during the Trump administration, and now entering year two of the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic, the parallels are not lost on me. So what have we learned in a hundred years? I’ll spare you my ranting off a list about what we clearly haven’t learned yet, and instead offer you this. After the Roaring 20’s, came the Dirty 30’s. The stock market crash of 1929, followed by the dust bowl, leading to mass poverty, famine, and homelessness. As we once again begin to see the light at the end of this dark and isolating tunnel we’ve all been in, a word of caution from the pages of history. When we re-gain our freedoms, and our zest for life returns in full force, let us not enter back into the world in a materialistic, capitalistic, consumptive frenzy, as we did in the 1920’s. Let us not lose the humility and lessons of the last few years. Let us remember what kept us going in our darkest hour, and what sustained us when we needed comfort and purpose.
For me it was the deep bonding that occurred with my children and my Husband as we all worked and homeschooled together in constant, close proximity. It was the simple pleasures of cooking together from scratch, and eating those home cooked meals at our dining room table, where good discussions and connections were made. I took great comfort in our garden and teaching my family to grow food from seed. We spent more time in nature than I have in my entire life, and spent time learning about forest harvesting and wildcrafting food and medicines. I threw myself into creative projects with limited resources that forced a new level of innovation. I should note, that this photoshoot took place in my front yard garden, completely decorated from items from our home and clothing from my online vintage shop, while massive re-construction of our entire street and sidewalk was taking place on the other side of our makeshift curtain, made from a clothes-line, sheets, and vintage blankets for a backdrop. We had bonfires in our back yard regularly, read many books, hand wrote letters to our Grandmas, had dance parties in our kitchen, and even though from a physical distance, we deepened connections with those who continued to enrich our lives.
Let us take those building blocks of substance and simple abundance and build new foundations that will truly sustain us through the challenges ahead of us. By all means, let us celebrate and revel in joy when we come out the other end of this, which we will, but I ask, can we do so with grace, emotional maturity and the fortitude to never forget? Can we remember the downfall caused by extravagance, arrogance, and greed? Can we use our art, our music, our writing, our work and our choice of lifestyle to remember those who suffered the most in this inequitable society we must de-construct and re-build? Can we contemplate the impacts of our separation and isolation and never again settle for half-assed, superficial human connections? Can we become more conscious of our interconnectedness and accept that our personal choices impact the whole? Can we love those who enriched our lives during this traumatic time with fervour? Can we honour those who lost their lives from this disease, by making the health of our earth, and therefore ourselves the utmost priority? Can we do it with an abundance of passion and celebration? I think we can. I think we have to. I know that I will, and I know I’m not alone.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Joey Senft Photography
MAKEUP BY: Kitty’s by Rachel Lynne Jones Aesthetic, Tara’s by herself
STYLING BY: Tara Cole-McCaffrey (Patron of Dreams)
ART BY: Charcoal and conte drawing of nude woman by Gmb Chomichuk
WARDROBE BY: Patron of Dreams Shop. Vintage Kimonos are currently available for purchase in the shop!