When soldiers returned to father the Boomers,
this house had a miniature door
for bottles to enter full and leave empty,
ready to become milk-opaque again.
After the rise of supermarkets, the portal changed to a window,
six milky panes slap-spackled into the brick,
intimate economies traded
for plastic jugs, sloshing bags, and Snippits.
Today, the morning rays tremble where hinges once swung,
and light is the currency of nourishment.
Absence has punched itself through the wall,
too impatient for the finesse of razors and chisels,
but too ambivalent to let tactless bricks
efface a window that frames the door’s memory.
Instead, like stained-glass bathing in an old story,
transparency releases pools of color,
visual sighs for the lost,
and prayers for the anguished strength
to roll back boulders from historic tombs.
Milk door to window,
necessary to obsolete.
What shines can seed the deepest soil.
And what empties to nothing
holds rivers of radiant ghosts
that shimmer, swirl, and eddy in aching gold.
Although pennies are no longer in circulation in Canada, the forest economy is different. Last May I found a 1978 Canadian penny on the forest floor of Serena Gundy Park. I shifted it to a curved patch of moss for a photo and left it there.
Two months later, I followed the same trail, and to my surprise I saw a penny in almost the same spot! It was a different one though, stamped with the year 2007. It rested just beside the moss patch, possibly nudged from it by a curious animal.
Thank you, mysterious hiker, for creating an anonymous penny exchange! If I had had a penny with me, I would have extended the game. As it was, I took a picture and let the coin remain there for the next pair of wondering eyes.
Near the beginning of an extended walk last November, I became transfixed by a tall flapping windsock outside a bakery. I ended up taking over seventy pictures of the wind-animated figure, and each one had a different pose. It was like receiving a free art class on the topic of gesture studies!
It’s astonishing how expressive fabric can be when it composes a long tube for the body, two hollow arms, and a head with strips of black cloth for hair. The different angles of the head and arms as well as various bends in the body’s “spine” gave strong impressions of joy, fatigue, despair, sass, embarrassment, playfulness, surrender, overwhelm, triumph, and humor.
I managed to reduce the number of pictures by more than half, but I still need to ask viewers’ indulgence for the quantity of images posted here. (Sending a big thank you to Veronica Paloma for her thoughtful comments on these photos when I first posted them on Facebook last fall and for providing ideas for the titles “Bliss Float,” “Cheerleader,” and “Responding to the Latin Beat.”)
After lunch with a friend last Monday, I enjoyed a windy walk on the shore of Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park. Much to my delight, I discovered a spontaneous outdoor gallery on top of a boulder.
Anonymous artists had created a gathering of small inuksuit sculptures, and I loved how the waves had become co-artists, knocking some sculptures over and leaving others intact. Before I left the boulder gallery, I contributed an inukshuk of my own to say thank you.