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.

Topographical lines

It strikes me as I look out at all the curves of white that this winter has changed the shape of us here.

falls2_October2013
October 2013

In places where two months ago I walked on level ground, there are dense mounds of tiny ice crystals waist-high, knee high, shoulder high.  Rooftops end in curves, trees and traffic signs are coated in snow – the town has the look of a David Milne painting.

January 4, 2014
January 4, 2014

What does this do for us here, in the snow belt – this fact that there is no level ground – that we now walk over, through and inside apparently infinite amounts of frozen water?  Views once clear and straight are now obstructed by six-foot walls of snow.  We shovel, push, blow it aside daily, but even those piles encroach now, shrinking the roads, the streets, the parking lots.

Our external topography is changed, and  – this being early February, when 2 weeks of heavy snow is still to come – it will continue to change.

Lyndas_Backyard_April24_2012

I can only speak for myself of course, though I suspect this could be true for many here.  I think all this heavy white landscape calls us to ourselves, and to one another.  It’s not an easy thing –  to be cabin-fevered with your partner, yourself or with young kids who have not been to school for days and days.  To be huddled around block heaters together because the oil truck couldn’t get to your house, or to spend two hours, twice a day shovelling and blowing snow just so you can get to work, to the grocery store.

If ever a time there was when creativity and ingenuity was essential, it would be this winter.  In fact, Winter 2013-2014 could have a subtitle:  “How we learned to become unstuck”.

bocce with frozen balls.  playing and recording YouTube videos in the snow.  tunnels, forts, snow fights, toboggans, skis, snowshoe yoga.

spring's coming, definitely.  But I think we could still use some more winter...
spring’s coming, definitely. But I think we could still use some more winter…

puttering on an old project or two.  noticing that I’m dressing down for a Nirvana Unplugged gig.  checking in with my neighbors – ‘need anything?’.  trying a new thing.  sniffing the wind.

snow2

…feeling my internal topography as it changes; enjoying the new curves.

New Work, 2014

New work.  From Storm-Stayed first week of January.  What a pleasure.

Here are some of the bits that will go up at the River Cafe – hoping this weekend, if Karen and I can make it so.  Subsequent Gathering tba, stay tuned.

detail from "Manitoulin", which I painted in 2004.  This one's big - approx 7'w x 5'h
detail from “Manitoulin”, which I painted in 2004. This one’s big – approx 7’w x 5’h

 

diptych Shovel/Axe.  29"w x 78"h (x 2)
diptych Shovel/Axe. 29″w x 78″h (x 2)
detail of Snaffle Bit (in progress).  4' square
detail of Snaffle Bit (in progress). 4′ square

…and a few other littler things.

I’m happy.