Happy Place

grassy sunset gbSurprising to me, city girl, to have found so much to love outside of the city – pinkish sunset gbI go whenever I can, and am taken aback by the enormity of the quiet, the riotous colours and life teaming so softly – big sky sunsetSunset to dusk to deepest dark of night to sunrise again, and another day begins… bird spreads wings
geese fly past clouds
queen annes orange sunriseWeekly Photo Challenge – Happy Place

Beneath

The city had been disgusting with the heat – waves of it coming up like an open oven from the pavement at intersections, the apartment sticky and muggy and confining and gross.
The only thing I could think about was getting up north, getting into some water and swimming.
Swimming swimming swimming in the coolness of a lake.
Packing a few things into a bag, I came across this little pamphlet kind of thing that’s been kicking around for a while – it’s written by my mom, but I’m not sure when I got it or why, and when exactly it emerged from the archives and started floating around my reading pile, but there it was blinking up at me, and since all I could think about was swimming, I threw it in.
underwater experience
My mom used to be a prof, so she would do things like write books, and I remember one time when I was a kid asking her what the title of her book was, and she said, “Equivocal Predications”.
Oh. Ummm, right. Whatever.
So I wasn’t sure how far I’d get into this mysterious little pamphlet, but although it’s dense, it’s actually quite lovely, and I thought about the ideas in it as I went swimming each day in the cool deliciousness of a little bay.
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In her opening, she says,

After positing that water has a body, a soul, and a voice, Gaston Bachelard argues in Water and Dreams, “Possibly more than any other element, water is the complete poetic reality”…

Floating, savouring, weightless and happy, chasing ducks and minnows, I remember what a passionate scuba diver my mom was – she couldn’t get enough of it and was always off on some trip to go diving.
underwater
She writes,

Until only recently, literature of the sea and its inherent poetry has been predicated on a superficial relationship between man and the sea: man on the edge of the sea or man on the surface of the sea. To go under, to go down in the sea, was to go the way of Plebase in “Death by Water,” losing the power of perception…

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Now, with special equipment, men can experience the profundity of the sea: he can go down and still live to hear the poetic language of the deep of the sea. The action of going down is the gesture of knowing: the deep holds within it the secret of all that is unknown, the metaphorically profound, and the mystery of all that is “under” – including psychology’s unconscious and the mythic underworld.

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Within the profound abyss, within the metaphor and experience of depth itself rests an expression, according to Merleau-Ponty, of divine Being – amazing us who might have expected and seen taught that God is transcendent and “above”: “Claudel,” he comments, “goes so far as to say that God is not above but beneath us – meaning that we do not find Him as a suprasensible idea, but as another ourself which dwells in and authenticates our darkness…

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Beneath Your Feet
…with a special shout-out to my mom ❤

Musing on Georgian Skies

On July 3, 2012, when I’d had my first little starter DSLR camera for about 3 weeks and barely knew how to turn it on, I took the bus up to Collingwood for the first time, went for an afternoon walk and happened upon this scene –the tempest #1The wind was blowing, a storm was on its way in, and I was thrilled by the blasts of wet air, almost sea-like, and the dramatic clouds everywhere.diagonal busy cloudI walked. I took pictures. I marvelled.
At the time all that was expected of the experience was a relaxing week up north on Georgian Bay – I had no idea this was the beginning of something.ducks under billowy cloudsBut now, just about 3 years later, and many dozens of trips north with that camera and several others later, I can say…
Something happened.
Something grew.
That spot, happened upon by chance on a first day out wandering, and the surrounding hills and paths and parks, became my wild sanctuary, my muse, my special spot.canadiana new w rflctr

rocky shore

point, low clouds

the house on the hill

dragon cloud

Weekly Photo Challenge – Muse

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
* * *
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.

Thirds of Snow

snow drift square mdnt clrfxIt is nighttime. Dark.
I am crossing a bridge.
The wind blows the snow – a ferocity of stinging, blinding blizzard everywhere.
I can barely see.
It is so strong this wind, I begin to lift up into the air – just the tips of feet at first, the wind strengthens and howls, lifting me higher and higher into its violent whims.
I am in danger of getting blown right off this bridge.snow square mdnt colorfxI can see the lights of cars in the darkness, also trying to cross the bridge in the storm.
I hope they know I can’t control what is happening here.
I may blow into them.
They may even blow into me.
Nothing is guaranteed.
Nothing is under control.
snow strata shapes colorfxIt is the weather presumably – this deep winter we’re getting here, which has provoked the dream.
The other day I stood at the edges of Georgian Bay, on a field of wind-blown ice, not knowing for sure how far off the coast I had wandered, but somewhere out beyond the edge of shore into what was shapes of frozen waves over the open water.
Standing still, after the crunch of feet on snow, the silence was deafening.
Then, deep treacherous groans. Cracks. Thunders.
The water moving, pulsing, pushing underneath the ice.
georgian bay north ice fieldBut today – that image of a bridge in the dream…
Transitions, I think. The obvious metaphor.
The sensation of a dangerous period of change.
That stretch of darkness when you can’t see the other side, and have no idea if you’re going to make it.
But I’m surprised a bit, as most days I feel the calmness of a cat who knows she’s got nine lives…cats in barn door colorfxWeekly Photo Challenge – Rule of Thirds

Unusual POV – bird sanctuary and more

20130906-153343.jpgToday was a bird day. Bit by bit I worked my way out into the folds of the bird sanctuary, knee deep in the water, scrambling on rocks increasingly covered in bird poo, assuring me I was in their territory. Many of them flew away at my approach. Others stared coldly. I waited. I figured if I hung out long enough they’d get used to me.
Wednesday was a mammal day. I biked some 36km to Thornbury and back, seeing bunnies and chipmunks darting across the path. On the way back, the sun going down, I passed through a patch of air so rank and funky I knew there was something big in the bushes, likely bear.

20130906-185633.jpgThursday was looking like it was going to be all cute little bugs – caterpillars and locusts and this very charming ladybug –

20130906-185850.jpgBut when I looked up from the rock where I’d cornered this poor little guy, a snake slithered past into a small tuft of grasses and a frog bounded away, saving himself.

20130906-190224.jpgThe snake both spooked and thrilled me – I haven’t seen a snake in years, had forgotten their creepy eerie magic, the way they glide effortlessly along the earth.
Riding out, I had to swerve to avoid a toad on the path.
Insects, reptiles, amphibians.
But today was birds.
Swans, geese, ducks, and gulls by the dozens. Their sanctuary so still and peaceful I lost interest in photos and simply contemplated the sky. And when a heron flew overhead, just 2 meters above me, I didn’t even turn on my camera but just stared at his strange pterodactyl body and listened to the faint metallic whoosh of his wings.
Peace.

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Sea (or not)

20130905-153305.jpgActually it isn’t the sea, it’s a lake. And in fact it’s only the bay of a lake.
But it’s pretty fucking huge.
And powerful.
And these days quite, um, cold.
But like look at that –

20130905-153618.jpgThat is one big body of water. And it isn’t even the biggest one.
Once I flew from Toronto to Winnipeg and we passed over Lake Superior. That shit went on for days. Huge, massive lake.
Not quite the sea, not the moody enchantment of the Atlantic off Maine or Connecticut, not the terrifying energy of the Pacific off Vancouver Island, not the inviting enrapture of the Caribbean but….works for me.

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