Dunno what this is, the feeling of being caught in stories that play out for all in the world to see. I am Ms Heard and Mr Depp, both. I am the children & teachers gone, the shooter and the shooter’s mother. Shamed and shaming, scared, resigned and distorted in the hot light of fame and notoriety. I don’t like it. I can’t un-hear what I’ve chosen to witness.

Sunset over Georgian Bay four days ago

By contrast, my surroundings here are a green blaze of generous, gentle collaborations. The cabin is in the middle of forty to sixty acres of trees, a rare corner of wild and undeveloped space. It’s taken me five days to settle enough to notice where the p.ivy is growing (note to self: avoid), which big ash trees are in struggle with the ash borer (all of them), where the new maples are (everywhere, ready to fill in the spaces that will be left by the ash), and these miracles, which I’ve never seen here before…

I come with a modest supply of materials to work with, twenty-five or so inks I’ve made from plants, bark, sawdust, roots and ground up bugs, wine and iron, finely ground carbon. My intention is to nerd-out here with resists, under and over printing from leaves and lino, experiments with mixings of media and close examination (with pencil on paper) of leaves – cedar, beech, maple, ash, hornbeam.

I’m upstairs now with morning coffee number one, charting the sweep down and up of cedar branches in silhouette to the living, breathing new green that breathes in my carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. My red blood to that breathing green – the symbiosis that never fails to humble me. It is this that brings me out of my existential exhaustion.

The only madness here is what I have brought with me. Gently, to heal.

Sequoia, fustic, chestnut, logwood and weld inks over wax and acrylic resists

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