Winter, the air was as dry as unbuttered toast.
Ice formed from any moisture and hung onto any thread.
Children were bundled so if they fell
it would be face up
so they wouldn’t suffocate,
their identities unknowable behind scarves and hats pulled low.
Until a Chinook
when they threw off their stiff winter clothes
and ran in their socks and shirt sleeves
in yards of mud,
no, not ran, but hopped
like new little toads with tails abandoned,
this way and that,
with the randomness of joy.
And when it was over
they came home dressed in other children’s winter clothes.
I know I am running the danger of becoming another boring senior who uses a blog to go on about her grandchildren BUT I am actually going on about painting my granddaughter!
I can’t afford to buy a lot of gifts but I have oodles of art supplies so I make a card instead of buying one whenever there is an important birthday. I think a 1st birthday is significant so here it is, complete with sparkles and sequins.
I have a hard time getting started on a painting and yet once i get going I really enjoy it.
It’s always nice when things work out.
But About Complaining About Stuff:
What I want, and how things are do not always agree. But there are so many things contributing to everyone’s inability to do “their absolute best” all the time, not the least of which is how they are treated by others. Paying attention includes sometimes just calming down, and appreciating that “when all is said and done” isn’t it great that we are alive, and at the same place, at the same time?
I guess that’s why I like babies. They’re like (the best) tourists, happy to be here even if they are occasionally confused or uncomfortable, just enjoying the ride.
I mean, air conditioned buses? Whenever they show up, they are wonderful! I can ride one to a library and use the WiFi, watch a movie or show or do research, even have a nap and escape the heat, with my grandchildren!
See how I did that?
*this is not referring to actually speaking out where to not do so would mean doing harm.
I was out in a social environment, drinking a beer, chatting. In reference to something, someone said, “Oh yes, you are a clown aren’t you?”
Having said out loud that I was retired made it true. But it has been a long time coming. First off the fact that parents started telling me that clowns were “scary” and they would prefer that I not dress up. (I think I am way more scary without my clown makeup but hey, if they don’t want clown face I don’t do clown face.)
But I also started to notice how physically demanding it was. I love talking to the kids about what they imagine they are becoming as I paint their faces, or just seeing their level of commitment as they patiently wait as I apply the paint but there are many younger people who have steadier hands and stronger backs.
And I have grandchildren now. I am so lucky to get to see them as they grow into this world. I think now I need to spend my time doing what I can to see they continue to have one.
It’s been fun.
I was riding my bike to Value Village (okay how GREEN is that?) and I saw a man picking apples from a tree with one of those long pole apple picker things and he gave me a bag! Not Far From the Tree doesn’t pick fruit in Scarborough, one of the many ways Scarborough is shunned by the Smoke, (note to self: get over it), but this guy told me he drove to their office and donated a bunch of apples anyway! I am making a savoury pie of ground turkey and green apples this morning before it gets too hot!
little green apples make great apple sauce and are tart enough to compliment a savoury pie.
I was once a member of the Artist’s Network of Riverdale back before the area was gentrified and you could find studio space for cheap. It was an exciting time in my life, I was emboldened by my recent brush with death (non-hodgkins lymphoma) and liberation from fear (went on a trip with my teacher as her soto deshi).
The Riverdale Art Walk has survived for twenty years now as an initiative of The Artist’s Network. It has artists showing in the Jimmie Simpson Park and building along with some of the businesses on Queen Street. It is respected as a great venue for Fine Artist’s, from emerging to mid-career artists of all visual media.
For some time I found it very painful to visit as I grieved that that part of my life because the demands of my personal life had made it impossible to actively pursue a career. Now that I am older I have come to terms with the fact that I can not physically paint any longer (and I have found other expressions for creativity) I am just happy to see old friends and be amazed by the work. It is a great way to spend a day!
Just using my phone I didn’t take great photos but I think you can see how wonderful the patterns and colours are, especially during a particularly cold and grey winter in Toronto. This is my grandson who is just checking to see that it is still winter outside.
I was lucky to grow up where I could see the sunset across fields in winter, to see where weather came from, to see people skating on ice toy-sized. Winter arrived exactly where I was and it could swallow me. In my slightly distorted reckoning of things, it was a kind of freedom. Winter let me see horizons.
Sigrun’s latest post includes two paintings of winter got me thinking about my childhood impressions of winter. Bruegel always makes me think about childhood, why would require some thought, hmmm, another day perhaps.
The atmospheric changes for a child go way beyond temperature (despite the fact that in most places in Canada winter temperatures are something worth mentioning) but all the changes: the way the house smells and creaks; how adults behave, necks shorter, shoulders higher, (they make huffs and puffs when leaving and they return home louder, stamping and banging); bedtime and breakfast both arrive in darkness; boxes of tissue are everywhere and you have to wash your face and hands even when you aren’t dirty; you get hot chocolate or hot cider, and you don’t have to scream for it; going pee when you come inside becomes the most wonderful sensation: All these things are like being in a new world.
As inside the house gets louder and more claustrophobic “outside” becomes quiet and larger. Things take their place on a canvas with lots of spaces, minus the sound and garish colour of summer. Wintertime if there is green it is the sky.
For children who are naturally egocentric, and they all are, it is as if they have been thrown untethered in space and time into the cosmos. How big BIG is is quite awesome when you suddenly know how small you are.