I want to write.

There is much change filtering through the waters of late January, and I find myself at odds with the urge to name, record, describe.  The feeling is that if I narrow my focus I will miss something crucial on the periphery of my vision.  Because of this, my urge to articulate today feels like swimming through murky water at a vague shiny thing.

Nevertheless, I want to write.  So I’ll tell about Zoo.

fish2

For the first time ever in years of paying close attention there it was the fish who seemed to notice and respond.

air breather from the murky streams of Malaysia.  Very curious about me...
air breather native to the murky streams of Malaysia. Very curious about me…

I was conscious of the differences between us- the slow grace of his movement through water, me heavy and percussive in the greater gravity of air.  The sheer size and odd shape of him had me fascinated, which must have been mutual – he approached me the way one does a timid creature, cautiously and sideways, until we were mere inches apart.  I could have stayed there for an hour, talking.

FishBighead2

We walked the Zoo for five hours, witnessing the multi-species there, connected by the collection of themselves, busy with being where and who they are, sentient.  As we progressed I found myself meditating most on Human Nature. We are unique in this rich cultural place; we so desperately need to name, classify, study. We need to collect specimens of ‘not-us’ and display them.

Piranha

As visitors, we bang on the glass and yell our demand to be entertained if nothing moves on the other side.  How utterly embarrasing, that behavour.  Why?  Good God, why?

Before I stopped taking pictures this lady came running from far away and sat with us for a long long time.
this lady came running from far away and sat with us for a long long time.

I loved the visit – was overjoyed to play with the Canadian river otter, met eye-to eye with some primates like this baboon and a teenage gorilla that I shall never forget.

But always, at the zoo, I am conflicted by the fact-  of zoo.

I’ve given myself two weeks to answer a list.  On my list are relatively small goals but they are necessarily comprehensive, since the overall aim is to break through a log jam of old unfulfilled ideas, to clear out what is no longer useful or appropriate, and give form to the ones with a vigorous pulse.   So.

Ten paintings finished and hung in a public space in two weeks.

Hammer drawing #1 - rough
Hammer drawing #1 – rough

Two public performances booked for cello ensemble, so that we HAVE TO polish these beautiful pieces, and present them.

(If you’re interested in hearing us:  December 1 Aids Vigil at the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, and December 16 6:30pm at Owen Sound City Hall)

One new project for 2016, very dear to my heart, fleshed out and taken to the collaboration table.

Eight long hikes.

Three non-fiction books finished.

One grant application mentored and sent.

Five daily rituals carefully designed and established.

One package, two letters sent to Japan.

…and space in-between.

Autumn ferns on the Bruce Trail, September.
Autumn ferns on the Bruce Trail, September.

This reads almost like a Dr. Seuss book…

One fish, two fish, three fish, four….

inheritance from two families on my mother's side:  A proud sign from Kennedy Foundry of Owen Sound, hanging on the wall of Circle Bar Ladies' Hosiery factory, also in Owen Sound, owned and operated by my mom & aunt's grandparents, Walter and Catherine Keebler.
inheritance from two families on my mother’s side: A proud sign from Kennedy Foundry of Owen Sound, hanging on the wall of Circle Bar Ladies’ Hosiery factory, also in Owen Sound, owned and operated by my mom & aunt’s grandparents, Walter and Catherine Keebler.  The fish are mine – made from carpentry scraps.

Using only cast-offs from Grant’s CNC machine, a bit of magnetized primer, acrylic paint, and india ink, I made this:

2 fish swimming in hardwood water

Actually, then I took a photo of it straight down, developed it in photoshop, and layered it with itself, so there were two.

The real version is a magnetboard.