Category: Toronto Years

“Cottage Birthday”

On Sunday, everything has calmed. Friends stay on and the sun is still shining. Fourty years on the planet and now I’ve got to forget, start counting backwards stop asking other people, put it out of mind.  N stays on till Monday and we eat mushrooms and paddle to our sunset spot for cliff diving. The sun is golden, not so scalding, the dock shadowed as we paddle out into the lake. We find ourselves pulled off course, a diversion towards a dark inlet with overhanging branches at the edge of the water. We discover a magical glade, a mushroom nest. It’s a cave-like space under the spreading branches of a gnarled cedar tree. Mushrooms are growing out of the moss carpet, it looks untouched and scale-less. The water is tranquil black mercury. The lake is silent under here as we marvel at the design of the moment. Everything perfectly painted, still fresh and wet, all coming together into one cohesive thing, nothing out of place. We sit in the canoe, bobbing gently, mesmerized by the everythingness until we hear our rock calling from over our shoulders. It’s so perfect we want to scream.  Reluctantly, we pull away, slowly back-paddling, whirlpools sucking at the sky, whirling through the water lapping at the edges of our secret garden.

We clamber up from the canoe dragging over moss and rock, distracted by each little casual moment of the forest.  Pinecones, a branch with old and gnarly bark, finding little faces.  It’s everything everything. The opposite of everyday everyday.  It’s so much, so stimulating. I nuzzle S and laugh as we soak up the falling sunshine, waiting before jumping into velvet water.  We three fortunate souls lucky to be surrounded by this. After photos and swim we paddle through the dead heads, marveling at their haunting beauty, their utter ambivalence to our existence.

We look first at the reflections before raising our gazes up to the vertical, greyed and silver twisted trunks dancing in the mirrored liquid.  Pictures can’t help to remember this. We need some other language.

N says we didn’t take enough, reminds me of the time at Om, marveling at the world in the forest while the music echoed in the distance. Lights through the woods, calling out but unable to compete with the swamp. We were up to our knees in swamp-water, enjoying the silent squishing sounds, marveling at the difference between trees.  Each one an individual, a life of its own, a voice. Coniferous, like rappers, Yo, their branches reaching out.  Decidous, like uptight, white folk, dropping leaves at the first sign of autumn.

I break from writing and blade out to the beaches try to see the beauty without mescaline.  It works. It’s not as easy but I stay focused. See the wrinkled asphalt roadway, brown thistles backlit and glowing in the setting rays of sunlight.  Splashes of yellow, goldenrod. It’s almost incapacitating and I can feel my brain trying to filter it out, bring me back to the everyday, wanting to blink it all back to commonplace but it isn’t uncommon.  Now I try at home, looking at colours, shapes, the orange textured foam of my sofa, naked against the rust red of my bedroom wall- deliciously offgassing, decaying small particles falling off, crumbling back to the original matter.  My tooth, the sound it makes wrenched out of my jaw.  The concrete, brittle crunch and pop and then the question.  My body is tense and moist. “Do you want to see it? It’s quite an unusual shape.” I shake my head, worried I’ll pass out, the horror of the machine I’m living in breaking down, pieces dropping away from myself. Newly symmetrical, two missing upper molars. I am only a man, I am only a man.

c.2003, “Squeezebox” story boarding

Also posted in Drawings, journal c. "Squeezebox" 2003

c. 2002, the “history of Andrew”, Jane Project…

Also posted in journal c. "Dizzy" 2001-02

CNE 2002

Also posted in journal c. "That Thing We Do" c.2002