22 April, 2008

Earth Lover: Emily Carr

To be in British Columbia is to feel the power of growth. The great trees here, those that still stand, stretch eagerly towards the sky. Like a lover the sky bends to meet them. It is a love documented and described by one of the greats, artist Emily Carr. She was a talented writer too, of her life and travels and her studies in France and England in Growing Pains, her time as a reluctant boarding-house owner in The House of All Sorts, and in Klee Wyck her travels by boat with First Nations friends to the coastal islands around Vancouver to document the falling totems and villages just before they passed into dust and memory.


If you want to fall in love anew with the forest and see some of the greatest representations in existence of vegetable life, visit the paintings and drawings of this most vibrant, prescient artist. Emily left the earth in 1945, but her work will live to inspire forever.


Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky, 1935: Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG)



Above the Trees, 1939: VAG



The Red Cedar, 1933: VAG



Cedar, 1942: VAG




Totem Mother, Kitwancool, 1928: VAG




Zunoqua of the Cat Village, 1931: VAG




Old Time Coast Village, 1930: VAG

21 April, 2008

Spring Snow -- Lucy's 7-Word Challenge





Spring. Snow.
Bounce me over the mountains.

13 April, 2008

Here and There

Here is Vancouver, a place described by many as "the most liveable city in North America", or something close. If so, I know I don't want to live in a city. Especially a big city.

To me, fresh from a small city on the Island of Shikoku, it is frenetic, polluted, full of large cars whizzing people to urgent business, somewhere. People seem to be going back and forth and around with little sense of purpose, except the urgency that it happen quickly, and little patience when it doesn't. Whatever it is. It is the rare person who seems to have the patience to listen to the end of one question without interjection.

I've witnessed two almost-fights on the buses. Everyone seems exasperated. Last Friday one woman muttered to the bus driver that she wanted the next stop, rather than ring the bell. When he missed the stop, since he didn't hear her, she started to loudly berate him and all "frickin'" bus drivers for their "frickin" attitudes. Now this bus driver was very polite and it was clearly her fault because she couldn't interrupt her non-stop conversation with her friend to make sure he heard her. At most she would have had to walk one extra block to where she was going. Jeesh.

I am left feeling that these people are very inflexible. They would never have made it living overseas where daily life is full of opportunities for frustration as well as learning. I have noticed I am a lot calmer than many around me. Is it the experience of making my way alone in another country or simply that I am job-free for the first time in years? It's too soon to know.

With all this fast moving, fast talking, comes noise. The cars roar, the buses vibrate and screech, the skytrain screams along the tracks. It lurches to every stop. I feel I am at sea or standing on a constantly shifting ocean of sand. It's hard to stop the movement. When I stand still or rest, I still fancy I feel the lurch of waves or the spin of the earth. I am off balance here, a swimmer without direction. Every way seems the right way or the wrong way, yet no way is either truly right or wrong.

I realize I am as far away from home as I will ever be. Even among family I float on the surface, looking for the same quiet connection I found sitting with Mustache on my lap stroking her fur as she purred and stretched her paw up to my face. Or the smell of my rosemary as I brushed by it each night I returned home, running my hand up the stem so the smell would be released and follow me into the house.

I am not home, and being homeless feels wrong. Without my kitchen I am a lesser cook. Without the fresh greens and sweet vegetables of Japan my taste buds seem to have beome sulky; cooking for people who really don't like creative food has dulled my inspiration. I miss the obligatory but soothing "oishii" after every good bite.

But next week I head to the country and a slower pace. I head to the sea air and pines and hope that the reality will be as calming as the rememberance. And I look forward to the time and place where I can find a new home, and a garden, start to grow fresh food and a new life.