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The Bells that still can ring

This 2015 Canadian election.

I don’t want to know how many hours I’ve spent online trying to write through and responding to ‘stick with the brand’ thinking, or the conversations that possibly should have been more focused on personal issues.

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Ring the bells that still can ring…

At the beginning of each day I tear myself from Guardian articles and online debates about the pros and cons of strategic voting and move on to more immediate and practical things, like building the integrity and health of my meagre artist’s income:  details about rehearsals and performances, venues and instruments, music part distribution, class schedules and coaching in schools, cello practise and pedagogical research about teaching; the development of a new art course about Line, Light and Colour in time for folks to make Christmas gifts; the development and manifestation of new functional art for the November Studio Tour; at home, gathering up fall bounty and cooking/freezing soups, stews, stock for the winter, putting Summer into the back shed…

...forget your perfect offering...
…forget your perfect offering…

To not attend to these things would be to exhibit a total lack of self respect.  But I’m aware that the current reward at the end of each day is permission to engage wholeheartedly in the process of this election, which grows more and more like a comic book each day.

The personal is political.  In this 2015 National Election Canada struggles to reclaim, rebuild and then manifest our Self Respect, while the world watches.

...there's a crack - a crack in everything...
…there’s a crack – a crack in everything…

I fully intended to use these days in my studio to work on the #Water project, but this election has changed my mind.

The Massie Hall #Water show has been postponed until April 2016, when the ice cracks and the streams flow again after our long long freeze.

Instead of a Massie Hall show in November, I’m opening my studio to show new work, inspired by the election, by Canada, the state of the world, and by Leonard Cohen.  That will be on November 28, we’re thinking (several artists will be involved), and you’ll hear more details from me soon.

...that's how the light gets in. L.Cohen, 'Anthem'
…that’s how the light gets in.                                       L.Cohen, ‘Anthem’

I’m alarmed that we have come to this, in Canada, in my beautiful riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.  I want to be represented regionally by a states-woman, who can articulate my concern to Ottawa, about Truth and Reconciliation with First Nations people, about the toxic distortion of human governance that is Bill C-51, about climate change and the development of clean energy sources, about access to our own locally grown food, about poverty and dignity and full support for the arts in this country.  Our Beloved CBC under threat via TPP.  Our Beloved lakes, streams and waterways sold to China through FIPA.

I’m painting ships bells that call all hands on deck.  They will be hung at The Bean Cellar in Owen Sound the week after my studio tour, on December 4.  I’ll be posting them here in process until then.

Please Canada.  Election day is tomorrow.

Please vote for Self-Respect.

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Day seven, frozen pipes

I’ve had sleepovers in three different friend’s houses now, and one at my studio.  The houses I’ve stayed at in town play constant musical obsessive repetitive drips in counterpoint to their ticking analogue clocks.

Our entire small city shares the consequences of too-shallow water mains and fast-creeping frost. We are either frozen here, or dripping – the latter by decree.  Idly, I wonder if we are beginning to live the consequences of climate change….

looking east from studio

Weather forecasts predict that spring thaw – the deep thaw that will reach our pipes – is still weeks away. The arctic blast that has swung low and stayed over central Canada still snarls through woolens, through layers through mitts and toques – our shoulders are hunched at our necks, our jaws set as we continue to trudge, to shovel to scrape.

We stay inside mostly.

Made into introverts by this enduring, deep cold, we whisper in the slow slow approach of Spring, 2015.

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Candles are lit at 6:22am.  They burn straight up with no flicker, and this mesmerizes me – that fire can be so still.

Stillness in fire, thoughts like a river that moves both swift and slow
Stillness in fire; thoughts like a river that moves both swift and slow

It has been stiflingly hot here for days – heavy sun from skies pregnant with this rain and well beyond term.  I played cello outside in it for two days at mid-day, felt like a solar collector.  In heat waves like these only Georgian Bay can help – but Marnie tells me the water is still only 8 degrees after our long long winter.  That’s killing temperature.

My new back yard is shaded by trees that are hundreds of years old - oak, walnut, spruce, ash.  I feel perfectly small out there swimming in all the wet green
My new back yard is shaded by trees that are hundreds of years old – oak, walnut, spruce, ash. I feel perfectly small out there swimming in all the wet green

Four candles with perfectly still flames – they take me inward, to rich marrow thoughts.  I find my Dad there and pause, drinking him in – so honoured to know him as my father.   My two Aunts – so different and so strong – Pause, Bow. drink.  My Mother, who I found in my left hand yesterday, which was mush after long hours of solo playing – she squirms as I bow, but I bow nonetheless, deeply.

My sister.  My neice and nephews.  Vita Cooper who was levitated by colour in Iceland.  My kid, who was being born 18 years ago today and is now in Japan, resonating.  Pause.  Bow deeply.  Drink.

A perfectly still flame, for Canada.  I have great love for thee.
Red and white.  A perfectly still, thought-full flame for Canada, with great love.

The thunder is a rumble in my belly and bones, stirring up things that have long lain dormant.  Lightning zaps them with renewed energy and in this way July 2014 comes.  There is a great deal of richness out there, calling-to-meet, and meet I shall, without question.

Sometimes an hour can last for days.

Canada Day, 2014.