Our beloved Ted Harrison died Jan. 16 at the age of 88.
Back in the late 1970s, Mr. Harrison was a high school teacher of mine here in Whitehorse. I remember him as a kind-hearted, friendly, joyful, passionate – and very creative – person. He always had a smile on his face and seemed to find the time to connect with every one of his students.
Ted Harrison looked at the sky and found the time to praise its unique beauty. He coloured and shaped our northern world in ways some of us could not even imagine, even though we saw it with our own eyes every day. He saw it differently and boldly brushed it into wild shapes and coloured it with the full spectrum. He quenched our thirst to see our ordinary world in extraordinary ways.
I remember my dad telling us that Ted Harrison had told him that he had painted the Snider family in front of a church scene in one of his paintings. Years later I came across that very painting in Hawaii while house-sitting for some former Yukoners. There was my family, in colour and in light, the way Ted Harrison had seen us.
Today when I take the time to look at the sky, it will feel a little bit brighter, perhaps even a little more colourful, as I hold Mr. Harrison close to my heart.