Marina is 85 years old with dark hair and piercing eyes. She loves nature and works with her hands sculpting the rocks she sees with shaping them with love. She told me to never be afraid of dying because everything in nature comes to life and than returns back to where it came from. "We are more than our bodies and bones", she tells me with a smile on her face.
When I first looked into her blue eyes there was a sparkle and light that was intense and penetrating. Marina is an old woman who does sculptures for a living and loves nature. She likes to ask you questions if you sit with her for a while and I have had the pleasure to stay on her property which exposes her art with the stones and wood pieces that have odd shapes and faces an extension of her imagination.
During Wold War Two she escaped Eastern Europe with her brothers and sisters in the middle of winter with horses deep into the woods hiding for German soldiers. With death only a few inches away from her she finally collapsed in a ditch on the side of the road after days of not having any food to eat. It was a German priest who found them and took them into his church hiding them from the Nazi and feeding them for five years.
Marina came to Canada a few years later on a boat with hundreds of Eastern Europeans. She eventually made her way to northern Ontario and developed a passion for rocks. She saw shapes in them and had a desire to make them come to life. Everyone discouraged her at first telling her she was wasting her time. A woman’s place was in the kitchen. But her love for the rocks and nature kept her going and eventually she made a living with her sculptures in a way that she could not have imagined herself. Ten thousand dollars and more people paid for her work. They disappeared like hot cakes in every show and galleries in Canada and the United States. School buses made their way to her home with children admiring her work. Her hobby paid for all of her four children’s education and the property which was six acres and three homes. She was well known but never liked being the center of attention. She remains humble and down to earth. My favorite story that Marina told me was about her son Charlie. He was born with severe asthma and as a young boy the doctors told her he would not make it. She refused to listen to them and found herself with Charlie in New York City to meet Mara Haji the Indian Guru who was on a tour. He took Charlie by the hand and started to meditate with him. Marina was surprised that her son closed his eyes and meditated without moving for so long. He told Marina to not worry anymore that her son would not die. She said it felt like God had spoken to her and she felt relieved. Charlie never had asthma again and moved on to living a normal life. A few weeks before he had a death sentence and medication that made him worse with each dose he took.
Marina also lost her husband to cancer in her early fifties. She said he had thanked the Lord for giving him the illness because it had made him more connected to spirit. He glowed she told me at the end of his life and she took my hand as she told me the story and said that one should never fear death because it is a normal stage of life. Look around you she said the birds and flowers come and go and so do we. No big deal. Even all the books on religion and scriptures tell you that we are more than this pile of bones and she said it with such conviction. She is at peace with death and has made it into her friend. She gave me an insight into my own death. Her positivity gave me an instant sense of peace.
Marina is full of spirit and lust for her life, the rocks that she shapes with her hands, the animals in the woods and nature. I have never met anyone like her. Someone who is 85 yet has hardly any grey hairs and can work twelve hours in her gardens weeding, and watering her flowers. Marina asked me a question as she always does. She asked me what was going to happen in the world because our generation does not work the way hers did. Well I listened and could not really answer her question. How could I tell this woman that the world was changing now and shifting rapidly and that the word work was soon going to be changed for another one?
Marina is a living legend and when she dies her work and her sculptures will tell the story of her life. I will never be able to look at a rock without thinking of her. Spending time with her is like watching a world on its own evolving and I am so glad we were able to cross paths. When a soul like Marina is born with such struggles early on in life it opens them to a spiritual dimension. When you see death so closely and lose all your material possessions what else is there? The fear melts away because you have already transmuted so much pain and are laughing at the face of adversity. A new door opens up for you and you become immune to attachment to form. You already have learned that things come and they go. Material things are here sometimes and they can be taken away. When your belly has felt the pain of hunger it has gratitude for a full plate when it is available. She already knew at a young age that we are more than our bodies that we are souls and that death could not take that away. There is only abundance and joy in the voice and heart of this woman. When she is ready to return home she will surrender to the moment with peace leaving behind a story and legacy of Love behind.