Thursday, January 3, 2013

Migrations

13010301migrations-gimped72graphite drawing, digital effects with gimp
Musselman’s Lake is still and silent today, encased in ice and snow. It is winter, but up until late December, the local Canada geese, and a few trumpeter swans called it home.  I too call it home, but unlike the geese, I stay put. I don’t like change, I don’t like being changed, and I don’t like seeing things change around me. Routines are comforting, but too many can wrap around the psyche like a shroud, layers and layers of routine can be like being encased in like a cocoon, but the thicker the layers, the more difficult the escape.
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Two years ago, I still I held childish illusions of the immutable soul, all of which was stripped away when I was forced to witness an elders decline into dementia. I used to think that the one thing we can hang onto until our very last breath was our sense of self. This turns out to be a fairy tale. But when I thought those things, everything and anything that threatened that sense of self could throw me into a tail spin…a narrow look, a wrong word, a minor failure.  When I believed in fairy tales, there were indeed monsters under the bed.
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I now know that we only have our moments, that who we are changes day by day, and time is at most wave that we ride.  I’ve had major rethinks of what consciousness is (aided by science articles in books, magazines and podcasts) and find it ever more mysterious and wonderful—but not under our control.  So who I think I am becomes one more layer of wonder in the universe, like the cardinals brilliant carmine feathers, or the song of whales. And all of us, not just mankind, but birds and mammals, maybe more, vibrate with consciousness, and exude it in our dreams, this thing we cannot grasp, reach, record or quantify except when it’s gone.
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So I feel, finally, that I am going in the right direction, a little calmer, and a little more confident. I made some changes too, and volunteer at nursing home where I already had made many friends. More on that later, but it feels good to belong somewhere in an official way. Also, last September, finally, left Ontario for our holidays. Soon we’ll be making a trip into Quebec for some snow fun. Another chip out of the routines. And a minor but significant change, I no longer drive (5 minutes) daily to the local forest for my walks, but instead embrace my neighbourhood on my feet (or bicycle).  Which has given me a new perspective (very positive) on where I live, and new landscapes to explore (rural, cottage, farm, lake). I make choices now at the end of my day, of where I’m going and what I will do. And when it comes to making art, I’m not afraid to let my style veer towards naive, if that is where the muse takes me.
13010301lakeshore-road-stouffville 12120601musselmans-lake
And so, back to the geese, and late December, when the woods were dark and gloomy (no snow then to light the way) so my exercise was always walking around the lake, often at dusk.  And as I walked, it was the geese that would keep me company with their continuous convivial gabble, that often began overhead. I would hear them at a distance, and looking up, racing across the darkening sky, their classic ‘v’ pointing West, not South, their destination very near, and as I walk, also West, I felt very much to be in good company, as we all headed together to the same destination, Musselman’s Lake, to settle in for the night in the company of friends and loved ones.
PS. Artsy folks out there, the drawing is just pencil now. Redo as a linocut? Should I re-jigg the sizes of the elements (bigger otter, or fish) to improve the composition, or take it the way it is as naive art?

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