It seemed like I worked on it for ages… and yet 8 months has flown by.
I was nervous, and then I had it in my hands. And now, I love it so much.
Thank you Vici Johnstone, we did this together.
I am trying very hard not to be disturbed by today’s event. After all, it is just another day of bloated pomp and circumstance.
Except, that it is not.
I was, by fate, born in America to an American father. My Canadian mother brought me and my two brothers back to Canada when I was seven years old. By choice, since 1978, I remain a proud Canadian. But I don’t feel very perfect and my heart hurts today for myself, for good friends and relatives, and for this planet.
I roamed around the house awhile today, thinking many thoughts, some good and some unworthy. I scootered back to a (very) dusty, but beloved bookshelf, in a messy, unused room. I was only looking for Thoreau – to find this quote:
“When a man is warmed … what does he want next? Surely not more warmth of the same kind, as more and richer food, larger and more splendid houses, finer and more abundant clothing, more numerous, incessant, and hotter fires, and the like. When he has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now.”
I was looking for the fine Americans… the fine humans… that I know are out there.
I found, conveniently, prophetically, sadly, and hopefully – these books shelved next to each other. Aging pages, readings from my past.
John Boswell, died so young of AIDS.
bell hooks. Shoving racism and feminism in our faces. She knows.
Helen and Scott Nearing. Vermont and Bernie know of their bravery and good sense.
George Woodcock. I can still hear Naomi Klein at Sechelt Writer’s fest saying “Oh, you should give Anarchy a chance.” With the sweetest smile.
So five Americans and a Canadian editor form my reading now. Five of the six are dead, their works left to me to glean for seeds for the future. Will it help how I feel today? I don’t know. These books speak of thrilling, important ideas and it isn’t easy to watch them fail, crushed by much more than one sickening orange man. I hope from looking at them again, I can find some encouragement, find the great thrill they once gave me. And my own country has a sweet leader who thinks he can rule and fool the masses. He must be corrected. Much work of world importance is started, and many have been working doggedly for years. And that is as it should be. For me, here at home, I’m looking for ways to put ideals back on the rails. I’m nervous, and I’m excited. I get to draw my own line in the plastic littered sand and say “No more”.
Weren’t you bored with your hotter fire anyway?
Wouldn’t you rather be Adventuring on Life?
I find many gifts from birds in my back yard. Being enclosed by Cedars, Maples, Fir trees and Alder, the circle of grass attracts quite a lot of bird drama and I have found all kinds of feathers. Even once, while wandering with the dog, my eyes to the ground, I discovered an entire tiny nest, carefully woven together with a shred of plastic construction tarp. Still perfect.
But a few days ago, in my front yard, I was startled by an unusual visitor – a full grown Heron landed in the tangled mid-branches of the towering cedar tree, right next to me – perhaps only 10 feet above my head!! I think I might have said “Whoa – Hello!!” as it shifted and shuffled, and maybe something else like “Be careful there…” since it seemed a danger for long wings to be so tight in the tree. I know for sure, after gazing at it for a few eternal moments, I said “Could you leave a feather for me please?” Then it squawked and flapped and lazily flew.. away.
The next morning…..
Heron Magic, if you ask polite. 🙂
One moment I am out having a sketch and a cool beer on a hot day, the next moment I am back in my winter pants and snuggled on the couch.
I regularly pull open the door to my little back deck, just to sniff the air and peer out to see what is happening. It can be six different types of weather between breakfast and lunch and if there are 10 seconds of sunshine, I am going to park myself in it.
Lately I have been setting up with scissors and images, using the long hours of strong light to do my crazy clipping.
Scanning, printing, cups, birds, wings, things. Sketchin’ and clippin’. Clipping and sipping. Friends have various names for my back porch antics.
What I end up sipping depends entirely on my mood. And it is always a good mood. 🙂
If it all of a sudden flips to wind or rain or hail, not a problem. It is a very short wobble back to inside warmth. So short, in fact depending on the angle of the sun, I might just be sitting right in the doorway.
I love my tiny back deck.
Day One in Rome must have been a bit of an adjustment for my sweet, patient, globetrotting friends. From the second I clunked out the door my eyes were filled with the spectacle of light and texture and the astonishing age of ancient stones – and I did not want to miss a single inch of it.
I probably took 45 minutes just to get to the end of our block – and not only because of the cobbles (have I mentioned the cobbles??) I couldn’t roll five feet without stopping for photos, and I’m pretty sure that is not the usual rate of exploration for my friends. But no one rushed me, and in fact we all found our rhythm – Max ranging ahead to scout, Paolo a bit ahead subtly directing Vespas and cars around us, and Lisa – well she was behind me. I have a feeling she didn’t mind too much (after the shock of slow wore off). I’ve seen the photos she took, and they are amazing.
So we snailed, and discovered, and uncovered details that quick movers might miss. Like the lions on the lintels.
And street art.
So the poor scoot, made for malls – not battlefields, ran out of battery and one of my fears was faced on the first day. I don’t know why I worried, Max was a skilled and careful pusher and we made it back. I was perhaps a bit shaken and stirred, but so incredibly full of wonder, I couldn’t have cared less.
Never will I forget the first day I was somewhere else, somewhere so far from home… somewhere as amazing as Italy.
It was all very fine, in fact extremely exciting, to wake up in Rome at 4am, have coffee with my companions and leap out into the day… Jetlag! World Travellers have Jetlag, and it is a breeze!!! One evening nap, that was all. So I think, It’ll be the same when I get home – a couple of funny days maybe. Easy.
Well, I have been corrected. I had Grand Designs of catching up on all my posts, sketching reams of drawings, and beginning scads of paintings – all in the first week back. Instead, I wake up at 4am, wander around my sweet warm home in a grog, and turn into a bobblehead at 7pm every night. Nothing can keep me awake, not even a bright crackling fire or pups squashing me, not coffee, tea, a nice glass of Malbec or even the opening game of hockey season. Oh well.. at least finally today I managed to pull out an ink drawing I did from the bell deck at the Masseria and as I added colour, my mind flew back to Puglia.
Cool October breeze, some sun and some rain, I’ll take it easy and soon enough I’ll be back to normal. I still can’t believe I did it. Drowsy weirdness is a tiny price to pay for such an adventure, mine forever now.
And, the good thing about being sleepy all the time – – my dreams are filled with Italy. Slowly, my blog will be too.
I have been talking about sketching in Janet and Robert’s garden for awhile now, and we made it happen today. I rattled over the country roads and up a steep drive on my beast of a ShopRider, basket full of sketch stuff. I thought I might spend a couple of hours, drawing the clusters of grapes on the arbor, but it turned into a most wonderful afternoon – the three of us gathered around a still-life of freshly picked things, either from their garden or a local stand.
We had food and a shade umbrella and the blue sky was streaked with horsetail clouds.
Five lovely hours we all sat and drew, the murmur of India Runner ducks in the background.
So delightfully peaceful.
Even though my mind is moving toward Italy, I haven’t ignored this beautiful coast summer. I have spent pleasant hours on my pretty back deck, enjoying my flower filled pots and O’Keeffe inspired wall art.
I scooted to the Roberts Creek pier and had a fine 2 hours of sketching the copper roofed house across the creek.
But the best day of all was when instead of going up the lane back home, I unexpectedly turned the shoprider down towards the lookout at the end of my road and started a sketch of the view. Suddenly, I heard a huge whooshing blow – a woman on the beach below started yelling “The Whale!! The Whale!!” so I peeled out to a more open point and there it was. Or at least there was the spray and a huge hump of a grey back, moving slowly, following the tide line toward Sechelt.
I could feel it – I’m sure.
A great day indeed.
That is what my friend Marlene told me, and I have been fully embracing the pre-trip.
I had to think of something which would hold my attention, and keep my excitement from spilling over into anxiety – because I know myself. I can get… squirrelly. So, I have made up a crazy project for myself. I am filling one of my beautiful Kim Oka encaustic journals with sketches of details from Renaissance paintings, mostly of those that I could possibly see in Italy – but I am using ballpoint pens. And a bit of watercolour. Thats it.
Then, I am scanning these sketches and printing them out as postcards, which I will take with me.
While I am casually relaxing in a piazza with a tiny white cup filled with thick espresso, or perhaps a nice glass of jewel red Chianti, I will write my Deep Thoughts on them and send them back home to myself embellished with beautiful Italian stamps. This lovely dream is keeping my hands busy and my anxiety levels manageable.
Two more weeks……….