Turner 8

Turner 8 – 1471. That’s the way we used to say it over 50 years ago. It’s a telephone number.

Turner 8

“Turner” was the exchange; a telephone number from Winnipeg. “Turner” was the exchange for the suburb of St. James. All my friends had 888 as the first part of their phone number. Everyone knew which part of the city you lived in when you rattled off your phone number.

triple eight – fourteen – seventy-one

It’s the phone number my mother had for over 65 years.

phone

Then came the day when she could no longer hold a telephone. And her dementia prevented her from really enjoying the technology which once served her so well.

It was a day I cried.

Walking the Mystical Path with Practical Feet – The Four-Fold Way

Being a mystic is one thing. But showing up for everyday life is another ball of wax.

the four-fold way: Angeles ArrienAngeles Arrien, Ph.D., an American cultural anthropologist (d. 2014) taught The Four-Fold Way™ , emphasizing four major principles that integrate ancient cultural wisdoms into contemporary life or as she interpreted it “walking the mystical path with practical feet”:

The Way of the Warrior
Show up, and choose to be present.

The Way of the Healer
Pay attention to what has heart and meaning.

The Way of the Visionary
Tell the truth without blame or judgment.

The Way of the Teacher
Be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.

4-ways

The Way of the Warrior or Leader is to show up, or choose to be present.
Being present allows us to access the human resources of power, presence, and communication. We express the way of the Leader through appropriate action, good timing, and clear communication.

The Way of the Healer or Caretaker is to pay attention to what has heart and meaning.
Paying attention opens us to the human resources of love, gratitude, acknowledgment, and validation. We express the way of the Healer through our attitudes and actions that maintain personal health and support the welfare of our environment.

The Way of the Visionary or Creative Problem Solver is to tell the truth without blame or judgment. Truthfulness, authenticity, and integrity are keys to developing our vision and intuition. We express the way of the Visionary through personal creativity, goals, plans, and our ability to bring our life dreams and visions into the world.

The Way of the Teacher or Counselor, The Wisdom Way, is to be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.
Openness and non-attachment help us recover the human resources of wisdom and objectivity. We express the way of the Teacher through our constructive communication and informational skills.

 

Under her Piano

“Music” by Anne Porter from Living Things: Collected Poems. © Steerforth Press, 2006.
 
When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother’s piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold
 
And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying
 
Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country
 
I’ve never understood
Why this is so
 
But there’s an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow
 
For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest
 
And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country
 
We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams
 
And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows
 
Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.
 
(Photo is my grandmother at the piano, with my mother and grandfather singing a duet.)Winifred, Percy, Maxine singing

Reflections on a Year Long One-a-Day Ephemeral Art Project

I spent all of 2016 focused on an endeavour called One-a-Day Ephemeral Art Project*.

Every day for a year I went outside and had a short conversation with nature. I made a piece of art with foraged objects and left it for someone to find (or not) celebrating whatever the environment offered me each day.  I documented the entire year on Instagram by posting two photos each day; a close-up and an in situ shot (Leonie Barton gave me that idea.)

best nineThe project was a discipline and became like a daily meditation for me, visual prayer. It was a combination of contemplative photography, long hikes, strategically placed garbage and pushing the limits of imagination. I promised that I wouldn’t use any tools (somedays that would haunt me!)

And believe me, it was hard. Some days I had to force myself to go outside. Some days I couldn’t get past my own yard. Some days I hit it out of the park. Some days was a struggle to forage in 20 degrees below with frozen fingers. Somedays it was like finding mana (like the afternoon I came across a whole box of jelly-filled donuts in a parking lot).  Somedays I felt like a pirate, somedays a weaverbird.

tree ladder

Somedays I felt on the edge of vandalism and trespassing. Most days I was just a small town sleuth and magpie.

I tried not to censor my work but just take the first idea which came along and try to work with it. I found myself becoming repetitive and doing mandalas and lines of things a lot.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-7-18-03-pm

“Sum 115, divide by 4113 = 0.92796”

Then I would try to push myself out of that normalcy into something I didn’t really think was beautiful. And especially on really cold days….just make a mark, dang it and get your hands into your mittens again!

I jumped right in on January 1st, thinking what a neat project this was. Being in a northern clime I really never thought about what I would do the deep winter, even though it WAS deep winter when I began. But there are various ‘types’ of snow (as the Inuit know) and only some days are good for snowmen. So I would use snow when it was just right.

Dominoes

“Deconstructed snowmen”

Somedays I longed something other than snow to work with. I longed for colour.hydrant

The really cool thing was going back days later to a spot and seeing that someone else had added to my art or modified it. This didn’t happen very often but it was fun when it did.

The enemy of the ephemeral artist is wind!  Yet I tried to use it to my advantage some days and take a video of the movement of the leaves or something I made hanging from a tree. Click on the photo to see the video.

"Grass Skirt"

“Grass Skirt”

The truly memorable days were the ones I would be accompanied by my grandson. “I gotta do my artwork” he would mimic.  red line

blue boots

I also got to teach at a couple of schools.

img_2298

I had a follower on Instagram who almost every day would give a title to my photo. She was brilliant and I looked forward to seeing how she would interpret my work with her eyes.

"Sea Eye"

“Sea Eye”

"A Chorus Line"

“A Chorus Line”

"Ladybug Chorus"

“Ladybug Chorus”

I was very timid about being seen doing my art. If you are a geocacher than you will know the term ‘muggles’. I was much happier if no muggles were about. Sometimes I would even hide. I guess I just didn’t want to have to explain myself.

I got very tired of pavement, yet I do love seeing things in sidewalk cracks. So the days when I could get on a real nature hike were very welcome.

I did this the morning of April 26th and little did I know that my mom would die 8 hours later. Maybe she needed this map to find her way home.

sand labyrinthSomedays I took little videos as the in situ shot. Click the photo and see the video…screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-7-19-34-pm

 

The project really slowed me down and made me an observer.

You can view it all here, https:// http://www.instagram.com/ wavesongart/

Click the photo and see the video…screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-7-57-39-pm

*I am indebted to Shona Wilson for starting all of this and to Leonie Barton for the inspiration. If there is any one else I didn’t give credit to, please forgive me.