On and Off the Grid

Although we’d signed the lease early Tuesday morning, we couldn’t move in ’til Friday night – it was that kind of week, has been that kind of month.
We packed the car, dumped our stuff, breathed in and looked around and vowed to come back soon as we could.
Can you see our space, up there in the bright light on the third floor?IMG_20150918_203402-01-01Tuesday had been the final preparation of the large colour images for the dress rehearsal that night and then show opening Wednesday. Printing and mounting this combination of old photo resuscitation and photoshop art that I started to really love doing – Photoshop is growing on me.
Can you see those strange women, collaged and cloaked there in their layers of colours and textures and doodads?20150919_195216_HDR-01Wednesday was troubles hanging the dang pieces on the brick walls and printing black & white pictures for the charity show on Thursday.
Thursday was cutting the black and white prints and wrangling the little pieces of paper into the metal-grid-frame thingy I’d found that seemed like the perfect old-fashioned new-fangled gizmo for the subject.
Can you see all the different images, tucked under, beneath, and behind each other?imageFriday was packing, cleaning, preparation for Saturday’s art fair,¬†and then by evening the dashed move into the new studio.
Then running late, Saturday morning, the damn grid walls that have haunted my summer at art fairs here and there – the absolute necessity of them, the awkward unwieldy height of them, whether they have enough space between the rows to actually hang the resin pieces on them.
Everyone’s fascinated by the resin – they love hearing about the process – the blowtorches, the drying time, the risk of dust and bubbles, the sanding afterwards.
Can you see the grid walls, there sustaining everything, underneath all the shiny, crooked art?wpid-wp-1442869447858.jpegThen finally Sunday, at long last I am on my bike and off in the direction of the new studio.
It is a gorgeous, sunny day, blue blue skies stretching everywhere as I pass kites and kids on the beach, along unknown bike trails at the bottom of the city, and onto long stretches of path beside abandoned train tracks.
It’s the old grid of the city, the old infrastructure, the remnants of how things used to run down here.wpid-wp-1442869985683.jpeg

The whole way there, in amongst the trees, the paths, along the beach and finally even along the roads, the train tracks, the crumbling highways, there is movement. Monarch butterflies flit everywhere. Every few feet is another flutter of wings, recklessly spiralling up up up into the sky.
Can you see this one, tiny in the blue, making his way up and over the grid supports of the motorway?wpid-wp-1442869994939.jpegMigration season. Everywhere they’re finding their way to the lakefront to launch themselves on their insane, remarkable, magical journey down to the mountains of Mexico.
The fragility. The resilience.
I push on.
Bridges crisscross the opaque brown river, and it feels like the stinking bowels, the underbelly of the city.
Men sit amongst the bushes with fishing lines outstretched into the filthy water. Very “off the grid” living.wpid-wp-1442869455143.jpegFinally I am IN the new studio, full of the sights of the ride here.
The sun pours in the windows.
I have the whole space to myself for now.wpid-20150920_142512_hdr-01.jpegWeekly Photo Challenge – Grid

Floating

I had a date with Wind this morning.
Early, I told him. Sunrise. Our usual spot.
But when I opened the curtains as the faintest light began, there was no sign of him. He was a no-show.
empty chair looking out no wmHe hadn’t been around for a number of days – dull listless grey days – so I’d thought maybe calling him up, specifically requesting his presence might help.
Apparently not.
Oh well, I thought, I can get a few errands done.
On my bike, heading towards town, he snuck up and flung a cardinal across my path.
Where are you going? Why are you ignoring me? Sulking, petulant.
Ignoring YOU? I cried out to the skies. You’ve been nowhere to be seen for days! I came up here for birds soaring in the wind, for dramatic Tom Thomson skies, and there has been nothing. Nothing but quiet.
He rustled in some grasses. Bare trees began to bend and the sun reached through some clouds, flickering and reflecting, beaming down onto the barren land.god shot barren landscapeIs this what you’re thinking? Some typical God shot?
Yes, yes. That kind of thing. Don’t be such a snob. I need something that I can, like, make into a poster and sell to Ikea or something and get rich.
You’re delusional, he said. He blew a sudden gust at me from behind and I caught a whiff of something potent, almost like Horse, but not here, I thought, must be Bear.
Looking around, I saw nothing – the bear would likely be across the inlet in the trees.
Nonetheless, I began to move. Thank you, Wind.
He shrugged, a tiny puff. Anyway you’re missing out on the subtler things here. The shifts in the melting ice. The returning birds. The grasses dead and decomposing and being reborn. Each day is slightly different – more melting, more growing, more movement. Just look at that one wee swan out there, lost in the ice.single swan on iceAnd the strange prickly shapes that happen as the ice begins to fragment and disperse – the mini-icebergs in the water and how their edges turn into little quartz crystals as they shift and bump.sun reflected in ice break upOr the pre-historic looking circles, the water melting on top of the ice, reaching down to the water below, seeking itself, seeking warmth, carving shapes.ice candles w reflectorfxMaybe if you spend a little more time with these small miracles, I will put on a show for you another day.
And then he was gone.
There was still time for errands.
Weekly Photo Challenge – Afloat
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This post felt like it blew in, appropriately, from 4 Directions.
The most immediate prompting came from Promptress Supreme, Jena Schwartz, who leads delightful writing groups, whose Day One susurration teased out this dialogue with place.
A deep rumbling influence has been an online course I’ve been taking on Shamanism with Sandra Ingerman. Weekly journeys, the drumming, the focus on the elements, the dialogues with the animals, have all made it increasingly normal, and even urgent to have conversations with the Natural World.
Some months ago I read an exquisite little book by author / illustrator Jackie Morris, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, in which there are fascinating seductive conversations between the main character and the 4 Winds – East, South, West and North.
And wearing away at my mind like water for months, or maybe it’s years now, is the achingly beautiful poetry of my online buddy, Em, and her many playful and poignant conversations with the elements in her part of the world.