The Four Elements by Paula Gallant

The Four Elements - Earth … Air… Water... Fire... are thought of as the building blocks of the universe.

They influence our lives on a daily basis, with or without our knowledge or permission. This is much like the upbringing by our parents. Who or what we become relates back to the people who brought us into this world. Whether it’s been a positive or negative influence, it is hard to deny it exists.

My parents have been the building blocks of who I am today. I was very blessed to be loved, cared for and protected by such strong people. The more I learned and discovered about the four elements, the easier it was to see the connection between their personalities and how it related to these elements.

The first…. the earth- My dad to me was my earth. Nourishing and giving form to what I have become. As a family, we could always count on him to provide life’s necessities to make sure we were taken care of. It is said that people that are born with common sense, dependability and practicality are closely associated with the earth’s sign. I have so many vivid memories of this with him. He was the guy people called if they needed help….whether it was getting a car fixed, a fence mended or a garage being built.

He also is the wind to me. This sign is associated with intelligence. Dad always used to say no one could take an education away from you. Even though he himself only completed up to grade four, he was an avid reader and whatever his interests were, he would read to find out more and more about it.

After my oldest sister started to play basketball, he read all about it.... even though he never dribbled a basket ball in his life. He eventually became the coach of the St Anne’s Jr. High girl’s team.

I remember the two of us reading the same novel of my sister’s, who was three years older than me. After we finished I was quite indignant when I realized he was going to quiz me on it. ..... I was indignant until I realized I didn’t know the answers. He made me reread it and told me reading was too important to be taken lightly or breeze through it. This is a life lesson I still try to remember when tackling any new book, new concept, or new task.

My Mom is a true surprise as she is the opposite elements of water and fire. Just like she was opposites between her looks ... petite in size.... and what her personality was actually like. She represented water to me because it is the essence of emotion. She taught me to express my feelings, whatever they might be, because there may not be a tomorrow to pull them all out. My mother cried easily over everything and anything, .... but at the same time loved to laugh and be silly and have a great time.

She felt our pain, which they say most Mothers can, and as I got older, I could see in her face that she didn’t want us to endure any type of hardship. The time I came running into the house with fake blood smeared all over my face was not such a great idea! After my Mom turned white and almost fainted, did I realize the error of my not so funny joke. It was the same look on her face when they wheeled me into surgery after having my jaw broken. Luckily that one wasn’t my doing, so I couldn’t get in trouble.

Then there is the fire, which represents the epitome of strength. After my Dad got sick, she endured 7 months of watching him suffer through a coma, while trying to maintain a sense of calm over three girls. She did all the things she hadn’t had to take care of during their 25 years of marriage, .... and did so without a word of complaint. Then when Dad passed away, she did all she could do, to maintain a sense of normalcy in our family.

Even though her heart was broken, and everything she knew had been ripped away, I can still remember the day I came home from school. I saw her standing in the front yard, stringing the Christmas lights on this little bush trying to make our first Christmas as four instead of five, somewhat like it use to be . It hadn’t even been a month since our Dad passed away. I cannot image the strength and courage it must have taken, to do that simple task.

Earth, Air, Water, Fire…the four elements. This is what they mean to me, and how they influenced my life. ... What do they mean to you?

The Four Elements - Gallery