My phone is in Kingston, 200 km of driving sleet and transport trucks ago.
I travel through this with my daughter from my aunt to my niece. There’s a rightness to the timing.
In the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau I find a plug upstairs after the cafe closes. There’s a bench with cushions so I cross my legs and balance the laptop as I would find centre and lift my paddle in a canoe. Then I write, staring at horizon.
There’s a curve in the tail of Bill Reid’s Orca that keeps him suspended in the air, impossible and alive.
My paddle-calloused fingers type,
Weightless I am, suspended in the air like this massive hunter whale. Out of my element, on purpose: I intend.
I am above the Ottawa River which looks drugged into surrender by the ritual, annual, comforting January cold, across from the Parliament buildings where Justin son of Pierre sits with renewed and informed vigour as our head of state.
They built the beautiful, flower-shaped, buttressed library on the river side, away from the possibility of attack. Those Statesmen, their advisors, their Wives. Some of them in came and chose and made it so in ways I can respect.
I think about my Scots ancestors who fled here two generations & eight generations ago to look for a horizon they could aim for, for once. I think about now and La Loche and four people dead like lightning, like an arrow to what we need to see and be accountable for. I think about Idle No More, about Truth and Reconciliation.
I can barely remember the last specific, technical idea I had about music or painting – these old old ideas are far stronger.
To take the next precious decade of my life to examine and build a good answer to these things I wonder and care about, more every day.
My thinking fingers have written this:
We are all a product of our own small community that overlaps in myriad ways with larger ones like the Internet, like a city, a collective, a field, an orchestra, a band, large or small. I’ve come to believe over this small span of years that each is an ecosystem that thrives according to the strength of it’s connectedness.
I’ve found also that few connectors are stronger than the making of good music. As a painter who also writes and performs regularly as a vocalist/cellist I have experienced this time and time again: visual art and writing connect us more deeply to ourselves but music connects us, through ourselves, to others. One might say that community music is like mycelium – a connective tissue that can convey a supportive ‘nutrient’ through the system to everyone who requires it….
The timing is right. I will get my Master’s degree at Laurier, in Community Music.
Like the impossibly suspended whale, like a Rebel, I will pay for this with the proceeds from my paintings. They will be on paper and canvas, in watercolour, ink and oil. They will sing.
Find a door you like, one that calls change to you. Then you go through and in.