Friday, January 9, 2009

My Place in the World

Image: graphite on office paper, 2" x 3", digital colours.

I believe all of us walk about with a picture of our place in the world. Maybe we are so busy looking at facts and figures, satellite images, roadmaps, and gps that we are hardly aware of the visual image we hold in our heads. Neither was I until I did this doodle. As an entry in my 'doodle diary' (and more on that later) I was being deliberately whimsical, beginning with the first thing that came into my head, and pencilling in from there. What appeared on the page (all 2"x3" of it) was a map of my world and me in it, with all the rules of reality and perspective tossed into the winds, and all the important details in black and white.
So this is the map I carry around in my head of where I live. The houses to right being the new suburban sprawl of the once country town of Stouffville, the street lights creeping up the page being the highway arteries that race into vast sprawl of the city of Toronto, it's sky-scraping sky-line commanding the top right (south-west) corner of the page. Moving to the left is the vast spread of Milton and Missisauga, huge amorphous suburbs that leach northwards into farm-country. At the very top, smoke-stacks stand in for the steeltown of Hamilton that looms large on the western frontier of my world. And lastly, and bestly all those pine trees stand in for the fragmented forests of the Oak Ridges Moraine. Much of it row-planted pine and regrowth, none of it 'untouched by man' or 'pristine' nature, but a haven for wildlife nonetheless. It represents much needed breathing space, physical and psychic for me and many others. These trees are my beloved and beleaguered forests of the Oak Ridges Moraine. May they stand forever.


Jennifer Rose said...

hopefully the forest stand forever but with more space being swallowed up by Toronto and the suburbs its hard to say :/

I'm not sure what a picture of my place in the world would look like. its a good idea for a drawing though, trying to draw what it does look like :)

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Back in the early nineties I was a part of a project connected to Trent U that surveyed the ORM in order to make the case for its preservation. Success varies across the municipalities that cover it. I grew up down there and I miss it because almost every time I go, it is a little different.

kaslkaos said...

Jennifer, and everybody else, I'd love to see your map doodles if you ever do them.
I'm hoping the forest stands. So far, I get the privilege of watching it grow. North of where I live, this is what is happening, but only for now.

Cat-in-a-Box said...

It's nice to find patches of 'less touched' land in this world - I hope your forests stay!

I thought about your sketch and what I'd sketch for 'My Place in the World'. Nova Scotia is forever in my heart, but it's not where I need to be geographically. It occurred to me that my sketch would be filled with kitties and such - as I considered more I realized that 'my place' is defined more by who I'm with rather than where we are. As long as my 2,3 and 4 legged family is around me, the geography doesn't matter quite so much!

It was an interesting process to think through - thank you!

kaslkaos said...

Thanks Cat-in-a-box. I'd love the to see the kitty sketch. There are all sorts of ways we visualize our fit. The mental map of physical space is one--we know where to go to get food, sleep, exercise & so on.
My dogs have better maps than I do. Cats too. Maybe we get too used to the geographical maps and have trouble finding our way our way sometimes.


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