Monday, May 24, 2010

The Art of Dying

Last night I hit a deer. Actually, the deer hit me. I was travelling Northbound on Highway 11, coming home from Burlington to visit a friend. It was late at night and all I wanted to do was get home and crawl into bed.

I had fled there for some solace, to cry on a friend’s shoulder about the slow demise of a very difficult and painful relationship. My reverie was shattered when I noticed in my peripheral vision a large deer jump out of a side bank and there it was.

I tried to brake but it was moving at a terrific speed and smashed into my right side, taking out the fender and front headlight, pushing in both doors on the passenger side. I was driving under the speed limit, but that was no help in trying to avert disaster.

It seems indicative, that I am unable to change the trajectory my life path is taking. One thing that living alone forces you to do is reflect. I think about our human longing for fellowship. We crave companionship and dread the idea of being irrevocably alone, or dying alone.

In my job I have watched over and over the path that those are dying take. How it affects each individual and their families. For some it’s a letting go, and a relinquishing of their hopes and dreams, looking back on their lives as a celebration of what has been, others it is a terrible struggle, anguish, pain, even savagery.

I have started reading George Bowering and Jean Baird’s book The Heart Does Break . It is an anthology of grief and mourning, personal poignant accounts of loss. I have been mourning the loss of a relationship that was very important to me.

Like the author, I find that the way to make sense of something is to research it. I seek books, information, knowledge on loneliness and despair, to help me through this time of dying and mourning.

Today was a very difficult day...I spent a lot of it in tears and the only thing I could really accomplish was this drawing of a jack-in-the pulpit plant in one of my gardens.

These elegantly shaped plants are one of my personal favourites. The jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) plant is also called Indian Turnip. They are apparently pollinated by flies.

I have associated this plant with death, and the folklore surrounding them dates back to certain aboriginal tribes that used to chop the corm and mix it in with meat to be left for their enemies. It is the oxalate acid and asparagine in the jack-in-the-pulpit which make it poisonous.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I have been pretty quiet these last few weeks. Aside from working, there has not been too much creativity happening, and I have been battling with some personal difficulties.

I am not certain if artists tend to pull away from the mainstream population, or we are just a different kettle of fish but I do know that I struggle with being hypersensitive at times which can be beneficial at “seeing” things a certain way but difficult and painful in other aspects of life.

Aside from all that, I have some wonderful photographs to share of a woodcock nest that my friend and I came across. He actually graciously showed me, and they are wonderful references for future work.

Woodcocks are one of my favourite birds as they are very secretive and unusual in appearance and behaviour.

A woodcock sketch.