Friday, March 24, 2017

Celebrating Diversity With 2 Amazing Image Collections

Clipart Image of People of the World Standing on a Globe
"If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity." — John F. Kennedy

What would the 35th president of the United States think of the world we've created for ourselves more than a half century after he spoke these words? Has society ever been more divided? 

The war against discrimination continues to be fought on a number of fronts — ageism, racism, sexism, homophobia.  Extremists target those societies that they feel threaten their cultures and beliefs.

And the 45th American president today couldn't be further away in his ideals or  political savviness than his much-admired counterpart from the early 1960s. Elected this past November to serve one of the greatest countries in the world is a man accused of being homophobic and misogynistic, of being a businessman of questionable ethics and morals. Indisputably his untruths have become fodder for news agencies and late-night comedy. He quite literally lies about lying.

There is irony in calling this man the leader of the free world. Many have claimed he appears to care little for the rights and freedoms of others. He looks down on lower and middle classes, has frequently expressed disdain for women, Mexicans and blacks. Not to mention the vitriolic nonsense spewed regarding Muslims. 

Sadly, of course, there are others from other countries much like him.  And so, the question again — could we have gotten any further away from the idea of a world safe for diversity?

Assuredly not. Yet, I as I did in the 1960s I  believe there is hope. I see it in the marches, where men and women, of all colours and religions, come together to protest injustices. I see it in the uplifting posts on social media, highlighting examples of 'colour blindness'.  I see it in the faces of two six-year-old boys, one black, one white, who got their hair cut identically to try and fool their teacher, whom they believed would be unable to tell them apart.

The majority of people are inherently good. They live by the rule that all are created equal. That the one they stand beside is brother or sister regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual preference.  That diversity makes this world richer.

Clipart Image of Multi-Racial, Multi-Gender Children Standing on the Word Diversity

Maya Angelou once said, "It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength."  My heart is always gladdened when I see examples of that beauty and strength, regardless of how whimsical the source. Such as the glimpse I got just the other day.

When it comes to facing each and every morning,  I have a little ritual I practise that gets the endorphins moving. I dance. Rather than take on a treadmill at an hour of the day when even smiling is asking far too much of me, I turn to YouTube, pick a tune and let the music take me away. I dance as if no one is watching — because no one is — and let sublime replace surly as the mood of the morn. 

On this particular day I decided to boogie to The Beatles, a band that exemplified  pacifism and open-mindedness, come to think of it.  When a 1968 video of them performing Hey Jude live on a David Frost show came up in the rotation, though,  rather than continuing to shake a leg,  I paused instead to watch.

The Fab Four were seated on a round, centre stage, surrounded by a very lucky studio audience.  Closeups of each Beatle, including dreamy Paul McCartney at the piano, eyes gazing soulfully into the shot, dominated the video. Eventually, however, as they reached the repetitive final refrain, the crowd began to move in and dance around them. At which point I became aware of something pretty cool.

Diversity. While Caucasians might have been the majority, rather typical of 1968, here in one room the lines between race, gender, age and religion had been crossed. From the sweet little blonde to the middle-aged man in a turban this group of strangers blended racial, gender, age and religious groups.

A charming, bespectacled boy in conservative suit and tie filled the screen just before the camera shot to an elderly gentleman with colourful flowers over each ear. There were black, white and brown; male and female, old and young, WASP-y and most defiantly not so. And all seemed blissfully unaware that any differences existed. As is often the way, music was the link that brought them together and erased any differences, 

Which inspired these thoughts today and my desire to see what type of images might be found online when searching graphics services like iCLIPART.com and Clipart.com for diversity. Here are the results:

Clipart Image of a Group of Men and Women Representing Diveristy



Clipart Image of Coloured Silhouettes of People Circling the World


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ah, the Camping Life. Enjoy it Here in These 2 Great Clipart Collections

Clipart Image of a Campsite at Night and the Words I Don't Need Therapy I Just Need to go Camping
A quiet, open space nestled among towering trees. The lullaby of leaves rustling in a gentle night breeze soothing the raw nerves, easing away the tightness that has taken a grip on shoulders and neck. Stars twinkle overhead as a crackling campfire mesmerizes. A tent with cots and bags waits on standby for sleep to come.

To many, this is camping. Our daughter and her husband, before parenthood, made frequent visits to the deep north woods of Ontario to get away from it all. There was no hydro, no running water, no cellphone service. The site they chose even lacked an outhouse.  What it did offer was solitude, peace and quiet. They slept next to the soothing flow of the impressive French River, accompanied at times by crying loons and heralding bullfrogs.

When they became engaged, they chose this place as the spot for the nuptials, arranging to take over a picturesque lodge for a wedding getaway weekend. It was my husband's and my first trip there. Though we might often have shaken our head at their pleasure in rudimentary vacationing, we couldn't question the magic of the area. Stepping out of the car, I could see my workaholic husband's shoulders drop, as if all the cares and concerns had been lifted. The quiet and calm wrapped around us like a hug from Mother Nature and we welcomed it with our whole being.

That said, as much as we enjoyed that visit, and made a point of returning every summer for several years after, it was always to stay at the lodge. Pitching a tent in the wild might have been appealing in my youth, but all the bears in the area couldn't have dragged me out there now to sleep, eat and swat black flies.

Camping is an affordable holiday though for many people and can fortunately take on many forms. There are those who pack up tents, those who load up RVs to tour various places and those who take those travel trailers and park them in a favourite spot.

It was the latter that provided many enjoyable vacations for our family as the children were growing up.  They were golden summers that began when my parents decided to upgrade their trailer and I, having enjoyed some weekend libations, impulsively agreed to buy the old one. Extra incentive came in hearing that there was going to be a vacant lot in front of my brother and sister-in-law's trailer.

Clipart Image of an Recreational Vehicle With a Bicycle, Table and Chairs and Barbecue in Front of It
Humble, though serviceable, that little RV suited my husband, me and our two youngsters well at the time.  We were surrounded by a pack of kids the same as as our two and the close community feel of the park provided them with a freedom that didn't exist many places. The adults also enjoyed an amazing friendship that has, in some cases, endured to this day.

That utopia lasted for a good length of time, though things definitely changed when two more babies arrived in quick succession, taking me out of party mode. Eventually,  though, our older two picked up some jobs that often meant they couldn't get away for the weekend. Then a change in career saw me working every other weekend and the hassles of packing and unpacking for a crew of six finally lost its appeal. It suddenly seemed in our tiny little trailer that I still had all the chores to do that I did at home, but they were twice as hard.

Thus, with some heaviness in our hearts, we sold and said goodbye to a lifestyle that had for such a long time meant so much to us. We have returned to the area every summer since,  renting a cottage or room for a brief stay. Yet in recent years we have begun considering the possibility of returning to the park. It's beginning to seem to us that once camping is in your blood, whatever form it takes, it seems to stay there.

In a very short time, camping season will be here again. It's the perfect time then to share these collections of images from two fantastic clipart sources. Both are online subscription services that offer quality, affordable options for using images royalty-free in personal and professional projects.

Clipart Image of People Outside a Tent at a Campfire



Clipart Image of Two Cartoon Characters at a Campfire