I’ve been doing some travelling recently, in and out of other parts of the country – and in and out of winter (and spring) along with the shift in landscape and time zones.
But wherever I’ve gone, there’s been ice, in all it’s beautiful, slippery, dangerous glory. Slick sidewalks, crusted roads, feather-frosted puddles and windows, shards and chunks in bodies of water. Yes, there’s water moving, to be sure, but its colour alone speaks volumes about how close in temperature it is to the ice floating in it, surrounding it, still covering most of it as it rushes underneath.
All this frozen stuff has made me want to retreat – to hibernate (again) – keep under the covers, wait for the sun to (finally) warm things into liquid, into spring, into green and growing. But I’ve also been drawn to it. To what it leaves unsaid, to its potential.
Under that veneer, it’s so very alive.
Of course I know that rationally – but it’s easy to forget this time of year, when the grip of cold air and random storms serve as continual reminders that not yet is the refrain when we ask for the next, warmer season to begin in earnest.
And then I came across this, and understood why ice fascinates me as much as want it al to melt – I want to see this in person one day – to experience seeing that still surface reveal whats really going on … always only change.
Dinner with family last night; today, a rare sleep-in, delicious brunch, a long walk in softly falling snow, turkey curry for dinner.
For me, a perfect way to spend the last couple of days: connected to the things that matter most, and disconnected from the frantic hype and drama that this time of year often brings.
And with the space and time, an opportunity to reflect.
I am very grateful for the connections I have made through this little corner of the internet, and so I want to wish you all the very Best of the Season, and for the coming year. This world can be filled with such ugliness and cruelty, but what I have found here, time and again, is that there are people out there that can continue to see the beauty in this life despite the brutality and hate that seems to swirl about unabated. There are people out there that continue to inspire, to think, to share the best of what they see in the world around them – and I am very grateful that I have the privilege of seeing some of that through the threads of connection forged here.
And thank you to friends and family of all sorts for being in the world and being who you are. I am often a poor correspondent, but know that I do think of each of you often, and count my blessings that you are all in the world.
I hope the Season offers something for each of you that brings a smile of delight and a moment of peace.
I have some things I’d like to share with you, that I hope you buy from me, to give as gifts to people in the next while.
First off, I have some lovely hand-bound poetry books that would like to have new homes.
Text by award-winning Vancouver poet Catherine Owen; 7 hand-pulled block print illustrations by me. I carved the blocks, printed the images on rice paper, the text on straw paper, and bound the books. Limited edition of 50.
The poems are based on the seven basic building forms that birds use to build nests, and deal with love and the work of living and caring for one another in ways that are insightful, and always threaded through with a keen understanding of human relationships.
$50 each, shipping via Canada Post extra (if needed).
I also have a new series of photo-based work I’ve just put up at Credo on 104th Street in Edmonton AB. These are a selection urban/street based images I’ve been collecting for the last several years: quirky little moments from various cities in Canada.
Manipulated digital images printed on mylar and archival fine art photo paper, framed and ready to hang. These are non-editioned images, so if you want something in a different size, get in touch, and we can talk.
Prices range from $45 – $90, shipping via Canada Post extra (if needed).
But there is a point to me telling you about these things, beyond the possible sale …
Buying from the maker of the goods you choose gives both buyer and seller so much more than just the positive conclusion to a mutually agreeable monetary transaction.
You have the option to get to know the person who made the thing you like a little better – find out the story behind the item you like.
The thing you choose will be unique in some way; it’s not going to be one of several million items produced in a factory. It comes from a different kind of economy, and a different understanding of ‘value.’
You know that the money you spend is going to support the effort of someone trying to make a living from making. From self-employment in creative work. Local workers making local products.
Props to the many Maker’s Markets and Farmer’s Markets her and elsewhere that serve as venues for makers of all types … all those places where people gather to show and sell what they make – and make the cities they make in a little bit more awesome all the time.
(ok – my mini rant is over … and I hope you consider purchasing gifts for people throughout the year from local artists and artisans. It matters!)
Since we got back from points East, I don’t really feel like my feet have touched the ground. A series of shifts, of changes and new developments – one after the other – and of course, the work of getting settled back in.
Ordinarily, routine helps immensely with the process of readjustment. But this time, it’s been different. There hasn’t been much that’s been ‘routine’ to settle into, so I feel it’s take an inordinate amount of time to get my bearings (and I”m not entirely there yet … but it’s coming).
It also seems that my entire neighbourhood – and much of the city I live in – is currently undergoing roadworks or construction of some sort. It’s a reality in a Prairie town, of course, that the summers are short and so the construction and road repair needs to be compressed into just a few months between last frost and first snow … . But feeling as dislocated as I have, I find the visual and auditory impact of the upheaval around me more unsettling than I normally would.
Everyone’s digging holes in the ground.
Covering up and uncovering things.
Turning it all over and over.
Leaving things in undone heaps and putting up barriers everywhere.
Even so … I have been able to find some humour in all of it. There’s a certain absurdity to the whole process of roadworks that is starting to fascinate me. Especially the final clearing-up-and-getting-sorted for the next job stuff.
Just a block and a bit from my house, there seems to be a convention happening. A Congregating. A Gathering… in anticipation of Something Important Happening Very Soon.
Maybe they are preparing for migration. Autumn is on its way, to be sure … the leaves are beginning to turn her and there: early warning signs.
In any case, I think it requires a new word, something that speaks to the flocking, grouped nature of these things:
A Hazard of Barricades, perhaps…?
Or maybe it’s simpler than that. They’re just hanging out, relaxing after the work day.
There’s a fair bit of debate (in some circles) about the value and validity of street art/graffiti.
Personally, I would much rather look at street art (I make the distinction between this and tagging) than a blank concrete wall or a bleak alleyway. These pieces are (to me) delightful surprises – moments of beauty or whimsy or weirdness that I often find thought-provoking … or at the very least, they bring a bit of colour to an otherwise drab urban space.
Found this little gem in Montreal (there will be more to come from other places):
I would encourage you to read a recent article here, about how attitudes to street art (or urban art, if you prefer) are changing … at least a bit … in one city.
I came across this bit of active erasure in Sherwood Park AB a while ago, outside Gallery@501.
This is perhaps a fitting follow-up to the idea of ‘fallow’ time. I think sometimes it’s too easy to shoot ourselves in the foot by buying into the notion that if we are not working all the time and at break-neck speed, then we are not being productive, that we have somehow ‘failed’. Quantity over quality.