Saturday, April 27, 2013

Maui I

dawn at Haleakala

from temple of Cloud
red Sun emerges, humble and tentative
rising into a perfect portal
greater than sight

Sea Turtle

how embarrassing
to think you might be:
aggressive, competitive, defensive, hopeful, ambitious
lessons taught with a glance

Nakalele blowhole

weeping nostril of the rock
ancient conversations
speak of distant futures

graves in the Rainforest

leaves and great vines shower
of compassion

compost bin

writhing with life:
Cockroaches and Maggots
here is a gift.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

tracing feeling remembering forgetting

For one hundred days last year, I did six drawings per day. Each day was a single sheet of watercolour paper; six drawings per page.

I did the drawings at completely random times. I made a spreadsheet on my computer that made random times, and entered the times into my watch. My alarm would go off, and I'd draw.

The drawings are also in random directions and attitudes (up/down-ness). So there are floors, skies, leaves, lots of ceilings, keyboards, signs, desks, cars, trees.

Eventually, times came up when I couldn't, or wouldn't, draw, when the alarm went off. I filled these in with black spaces.

I'm presenting the hundred pages (along with another work) at the Yukon Arts Center as part of their Summer exhibition. In doing so, I've decided to reflect on the drawings, and on my sense of time and memory. At first I was going to just put them up in a grid, but I'm realizing that that's not how I see time, necessarily. At the least, it's not the way I want to represent time. And it's certainly not the way I remember those hundred days. I'm not a human calculator. Time is way more fluid than what I see on a calendar, and it's interrelated with memory, feelings.

The final installation will probably be about 14 feet high, and sprawl across the wall. We'll see. Still lots of work to do - remembering, recording, experimenting, tracing, feeling. Responding to the images that are already there. A diagram of real time, which is not always measurable on a watch.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Passing-Between Place

If I were a deer I'd feel safer passing through this place.
The solution (this time) is to look where I'm going, 
look away from the machine I hear him operating.

Fully inhabit the trail
deer steps man steps ape steps 

the machine fades


in the hills


speed up
look like you got somewhere to go

someone gardening says hi
say hi back
he turns away, unaware
of what I just was

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Drawing Deer

with my body as an instrument
tracing lines
  with perceptive steps

layers of time:
      sun, birdsong
a calendar of pebbled scat: soft and bright to hard and dark, to earth
to moss

the startling permanence of discarded plastic

a misstep

that dislodged a stone


There is such a variety of places on this mountain I've begun to explore. Carefully picked trails up shadowed mossy ledges, dry airy heights where ravens call far above the arbutus. Broad sweeping valley of old trees, where trails braid open like a Northern river, then diverge into no-trail, across the western slope.

I wonder how Deer conceive of relationships to these places? Is their passage across these slopes a similar journey of sentiment? The confusion and complexity of a deadfall-strewn gorge, the restful ease of a secluded ledge, bedded with ages of moss.

Do they return to specific places that they feel a fondness towards?

Do Deer gather somewhere on this mountain, on moonlit nights,
at the small lake
only seen in aerial photographs and dreams

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Deer Meditation

Still From Trespassing

I've been documenting my daily swims at the ocean and putting them into a video grid. I'm calling it Trespassing for a few reasons, but I won't mention them all. One reason is that the major part of my journey to the oceanfront involves trespassing through several neighbours’ yards. The entire time I have to be wary of the presence of other humans, who are extremely possessive of their property. I’m very serious about never getting caught, because I have built a deep familiarity (and a meaningful relationship) with this particular swimming-place, and with the animals that live around it. My caution leads to my acting more like a deer than a human:

During summer weekends when the neighbours frequent their cottages, I usually swim in the morning or evening. Over time, I have tended to forego the human trails in favour of deer trails, which afford me more privacy and places to hide when I hear people. When I  do hear a person, I freeze in my tracks. I have learned to stop often, be patient, and listen. I am relieved when I check the trail and see hoof prints instead of boot prints.

When I read the above paragraph, it’s actually unclear whether it's from the perspective of a human or a deer. The thought strikes me: There is a direct relationship between moving like a deer, and perceiving like a deer.


I am celebrating today because I finally found another trespass-route, in the exact opposite direction. This one goes away from the water, between properties and up onto the mountain. Finally, I have a quick route from my home to the network of deer trails that combs the entire island. No human trails anywhere. Every footstep follows a path carved by another species. 

At first, I broke through the branches loudly, distracted by my own thoughts, too much to do. Stress and confusion and expectations.

Eventually, slow down and listen to the rain, rub my hands on the rock face. Arbutus. Waist-deep in salal.

Crouch under a huge cedar log for a long time and listen to the rain, in a quiet bedding-place where deer have doubtless slept for decades. 

Walk slowly and quietly, stopping often. Underfoot, the gentle resistance of rotten logs and the pillowing moss.

Startled now by another snap - an incautious deer, across the slope, freezes in embarrassment. 

We stop and watch each other. 

I say hi. 

He flicks his tail. 

We move on.