Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Contre vents, marées et étoiles

".. nul ne t'a fait évader et tu n'en es point responsable. Tu as construit ta paix à force d'aveugler de ciment, comme le font les termites, toutes les échappées vers la lumière. Tu t'es roulé en boule dans ta sécurité bourgeoise, tes routines, les rites étouffants de ta vie provinciale, tu as élevé cet humble rempart contre les vents et les marées et les étoiles. Tu ne veux point t'inquiéter des grands problèmes, tu as eu bien assez de mal à oublier ta condition d'homme."

Terre des hommes - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"... no one has helped you to escape, and you're not responsible for this. You found your own peace by blinding with cement every crevice that opened to the light, just like termites do. You rolled yourself into middle-class security, routines, the suffocating rites of provincial life, you set up a humble wall against winds, tides and stars. You don't want to think of larger problems, you find it hard enough to forget your condition."

I'm dedicating this translation to a friend who once quoted this passage to me because it described so well how he felt about his life. I could not comprehend why he let his talents go to waste, and tried to revive the artist in him. But I went about it with too much enthusiasm, and shook up too many things that were deeply buried for too long. He has withdrawn into his own world. Friendships are so fragile at times. It is especially sad for me to lose the connection with a friend who shared such similar artistic affinities. But I've learned to let things be because happiness is a constantly evolving state, and he made his choices accordingly, to find his own peace. I wish him the best.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A weekend at Judy's farm

We trekked, prowled through acres of farmland
past stretches of pasture, into the forest,
marvelled at the moss, and quartz, granite
scattered among fallen leaves, then went down
towards the lake, watched seagulls fly.
In the woodstove, flames crackled and danced,
I'm your man, Leonard claimed, so we pranced,
feet moved, arms stretched, hips followed,
minds roamed for comfort, dreams unfulfilled
resurfaced, stirred the rawness of untouched land.
The night was black but when we looked up,
stars glittered, sequins on a swath of velvet sky
in the distance, the eerie hoot of an owl,
a still silence, no neighbours, the city so far
a conditioned presence coated with fear.
I woke up to an orange glow by the window
the morning sun stroking the farm.
Cayotes howled, breaking the calm of dawn
but the light called, pulled me from bed,
and out in the cold I strolled.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Memories and losses

October has been a busy month. I've been painting silk scarves for stores for Christmas. It was wonderful to be in Montreal last weekend, to indulge in the joie de vivre of a city that makes fun a priority. Strolls through McGill's campus, and Vieux Montréal, delicous dinners around lively Rues St. Denis and Duluth, martinis at Maison du Jazz listening to Michelle Sweeney's soulful voice, and even late night dancing.

But on coming back, sad news: A friend's mother as well as a friend in his early fifties passed away. I was sad for my friend's mother but even sadder for the friend I knew as a teenager. Memories unfurled as if from a reel that had been long forgotten. He was kind, self-effacing, a good listener, always ready to help. I remember getting a ride from him on his mobilette, carefree, hair blowing in the wind, zipping towards the beach to meet our group of friends. After losing touch for a long time, I met him and his wife this year when I went to Mauritius. He was an accountant with a soft heart, unable to take money from friends he knew couldn't afford it. It's hard to accept that his life has been cut short so suddenly, to imagine his wife and children's searing loss.

"Le souvenir, c'est la présence invisible." Victor Hugo
Memory is an invisible presence

A lone seagull at Place des Arts, Montreal