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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Is Life Compromise?

I have been reading a booklet, 1001 ways to save the Earth. I think we are a day late and a dollar short, but I live with hope.

I am at item two hundred sixty-three, and have learned one new thing. Apparently, they are now building houses that recycle grey water for other things.

I had friends living in a community were water was scarce; they opened up their drain traps put a bucket underneath to catch the grey water and recycled that water into the garden. An easy solution, but not mentioned in the book. The book talks about a system that is installed to recycle grey water for other home uses. That for me is a new use of technology.

My first year in High School a group of us spent two weekends dredging our local gullies of abandoned waste. It was quite a pile we accumulated. We used some to create a monument in our local park. No one thanked us for our trouble. The community saw it as an eye sore and nothing else. No connection was made.

This was years after Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring. A fellow student was studying fungi that year. She was dismayed at their decrease in nature. For her it was like the canary in the coal mines, a portent of things to come.

When fresh out of college I was travelling Canada by bus and train with my own coffee mug. David Suzuki was still studying the life of fruit flies.

For me, the good news is finally people are waking up.

happy families

happy families

I unearthed another list today.

metal sculpture

These were notes I made after a meeting with a Landscape Architect and a Set Designer from Stratford Festival. The three of us united to design a collaborative work for the Stratford Garden Festival. I enjoyed working within a group, sharing ideas and thoughts.

Mercy: syn. Benevolence, benignity, blessing, clemency, compassion, favour, forbearance, forgiveness, gentleness, grace, kindness, leniency, mildness, pardon, pity, tenderness

Language: most direct route to intellectual engagement, emotion, and reflection

Nurturing/healing is more to do with physical reality, environment.

Healing is process – engagement with life. i.e. a burnt forest regenerating into another kind of community.

We eventually decided on a direction. The springboard for it was supplied by the set designer, a rod twelve feet long, eight feet high that emitted a soft fall of water, almost a mist. To that, the landscape architect designed a garden that was to be arid, rock and sand with a few succulents. It reminded me of the wash down a mountainside.

To this, I added three sculptures, one in front of the water bound to earth, one in the fall of water moving toward flight, the third to soar. This illusion was achieved by using clear glass as base supports, the two sculptures then float in space, falling, suspended for flight.

It was a winter’s work to build them. The day I finished the final inlays of tile and seashells the phone rang. The garden never was built, and I have yet to see the three together in the landscape.

A few weeks before we were to move I attended a local party. I said to people who had collected my work in the past that the garden sculpture was on a first come first serve basis, all free.

Well, the next morning at nine Christa turned up with a big truck, a trailer and a backhoe, with three helpers. They had it all moved within an hour.

My garden sculptures are now a meditation garden at a local resort.

Someday I will go see it, just not this day.

A view of the garden done with found objects

wire and mirrors

I am the Dance

004 (3)I have carried this poem with me since I was eighteen.

It was written by a woman, her name is Karonicktatie. She was a west coast poet from the First Nation’s culture. I found it in an obscure paper on local events in Vancouver. I wish I knew more about her.

I am the dance

forward

I am the dance

backward

I am hand in hand

eyes closed

voice soaring

I am the wind

the dance

the heartbeat

the drum

I am hand in hand

I am touching

earth

hand in hand

I am touching

sky

eyes closed

voices soaring

eyes open

hand in hand

I am raised above

eyes open

voice leaving

and gaining

the power circle

that will find

me raised above

the dance

I am

I am the step

Moccasin’d whisper

Your smile

comes to me

across

the smoke

weaving light

and dark and

drum

The water drawn

by full moon

rub the ashes

on face and

hair

Hand in hand

your smiles

come to me

across

the dance

I am

forward

I am the dance

backward

I am the lifetime

eyes closed

the wind.

 

The photograph is the tornado that rose to the sky a few years ago, the view from our lane way. It was an amazing experience, to see the world change so quickly.

A poem by William Stafford

A friend sent me this. I am not sure I have the right to blog it without the author’s permission.

He was born January 17, 1914 and died August 28, 1993.

 

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

William Stafford

 

He said in an interview, “I keep following this sort of hidden river of my life, you know, whatever the topic or impulse which comes, I follow it along trustingly. And I don’t have any sense of its coming to a kind of crescendo, or of its petering out either. It is just going steadily along.”

watching birds

I am always suprised

Christopher designed an art piece for a forty-foot by forty-foot concrete egg crate sky light for the Social Sciences building at the University of Western Ontario.

It was an exciting abstract work. The coloured glass was diffused into the three-story stair well by using sand blasted glass at different angles, becoming a sculptural work as well as one of pure colour.

We travelled to New York to make the glass selection. My first and only time in that amazing city.

The night before we had tickets for The Importance of Being Ernest. The next morning, at a local coffee shop sitting at the breakfast counter a man caught our eyes; he kept looking at us speculatively.

We ended up that day having lunch with him, an artist from the American Mid-west along with the owner of the glass house, an accomplished violinist.

The conversation was interesting. The artist felt that glass was an illustrative story-telling medium. In the Christian and Heraldic tradition that is true.

But my feelings were, it held the potential of music. Think music of the spheres, tuning the universe, an abstracted world harmony.

I couldn’t contribute much to the conversation as I was carrying over forty colours in my head, and all their subtle variations. After lunch, I had to decide which way we were jumping.

The completion of the commission ended with a dedication ceremony. More than one person wanted to know whose colour theory Christopher used in its creation.

The obvious answer is his own. I am always surprised. As artists, the inspiration for any work is a personal journey.

shadows