Fell softly, quietly, soundless, in the night. I knew it was there. A lightness in the air, a subtle change in the quality of light. Now everything has changed: yesterday’s bare trees wear their winter dresses, frilly tresses garnished with garlands of snow.
The deer will arrive, sooner or later. They always do. They troop from right to left, west to east, as day turns to night, then troop back, east to west, in morning light. They step dark and diligent, flitting shadows beneath snowy trees, one after another, forging a single passage from yard to road, crossing it, then vanishing into dark woods.
I saw them one night in a midnight dream. They stood on their hindlegs underneath the mountain ash and danced, so delicate, reaching up with long, black tongues, to steal bright berries from lower branches. They danced in a full moon’s spotlight and filled my heart with joy and pain. How I long to see them dance again.
This was a totally new experience: a poem written over a painting that linked visual to verbal. I tried several versions of the words and have come up with a better one… but, once the words are on the canvas, it’s so hard to change them. The spoken word, once loosed, can never be recalled.
Our New Brunswick leaves have gone already. We are looking at ships’ masts, sails unfurled, in an anchored harbor. Further south, Thanksgiving is here. My distant neighbors and friends are contemplating turkeys and family gatherings and all that is good about harvest festivals and the end of the productive year, the agriculturally productive year, that is. Below them, in Mexico, the land of four continuous harvests, growth continues.
The cycle of the seasons rolls on and on. In the British Isles Woodhenge has turned into Stonehenge. Four thousand five hundred years of history measured in stone circles, seasonal star and sun points, times for sowing and harvesting. Absolutely bewilderingly marvelous. More than 5,500 standing stone calendars can be found in those islands.
And here, in my painting, leaves, letters, words deliver a message of intertextuality. Change is upon us. We live with it, focus on it, describe it in words. Each letter, each word, is a leaf on the tree, falling or soon to fall.
Catch them if you can.
Catch them while you can.
Autumn Leaves. Don’t grieve. Close the door when she is gone.
Sometime, make the time to drive to Alberton where the Great Blue Herons stand thigh deep in the incoming tide. Lobster boats spark stars from the waves.
They white-water surge through a gap in the sandbank where the lighthouse stands red and white, outlined against blue sky, golden sand, sparkling bay.
Follow the fast-eroding coastline, a little less each year, past Jacques Cartier Park to Kildare Capes. Black-backed gulls ride shotgun on the red sand beach. Piping plovers charge up and down the wind-rush of surf digging for treasure, the crustaceans that will fill their bellies and enable them to survive their long journey south.
Head north past Sea Cow Pond to North Cape. Quixotic windmills wave their arms, like giants. The sand and pebble reef stretches its low-tide footpath out to the lazy seals basking in late summer warmth. Sea-birds seethe in great white clouds while fishing boats bob on wild waves and a black horse hauls Irish Moss off the beach to be sun-dried on the shore.
An osprey hovers, drops its lightning bolt to spear a flapping flounder on sharp claws. The magic of that great bird’s fall and rise will drive a wedge through your heart and split it open.
I have been revising lots of mss. but haven’t done anything new, apart from revisions and paintings. Very little has appeared on my blog recently and this is the first post after an absence of five days. Oh dear. Facebook has been barren too. Still: can’t be helped. Better days are on the way.
Here’s Worm Squirm. It’s part of my series of Pocket Paintings / Peintures de Poche, so-called because they all fit neatly in a pocket. They are easy to carry around and yes, I have something bright to look at, even when the skies are grey. Inner grey or outer grey, there’s nothing worse than a grey day. Everybody needs a spot of painted sunshine to brighten a grey day when it dawns.
It’s been a great year for painting foliage, too. Nothing better than to carry a pocketful of painted leaves to remind you of the natural beauties of our picture province. So make it a sunshine day, even if the skies are grey!
The back ground is dark green, or should be. We have red and yellow leaves, of course, this is New Brunswick, Canada. And the white flecks are the frost on the grass. Lovely.
Look closely and you can see bits of me reflected in the glass of the painting. That’s why it’s a selfie. Not a total one, but a teeny little bit of one. How much of ourselves do we ever capture, in a photo, a painting, a poem, a piece of prose? Not much, I guess. And is it the real ‘us’ anyway? I very much doubt it.
Does it matter? No. If you want to see the real me, come and visit. But, be prepared: I am not who I seem and I am desperate to hide the real me from the real world. You may catch glimpses. And that’s about it.
And I have a cat, just like that. Runs to the basement, hides beneath a chair, sits and purrs in her basket, sleeps on the bed at night, winds herself round my knees at feeding time, is and isn’t, just like all pussy cats. And aren’t we all like that? Here today and gone tomorrow. All that joy and all that sorrow.
Enjoy us while you can. And can-can while you can-can!