Sunday, 6 May 2012

A Sort of Interlude

   In the time since I took these photos, around the time of my last post, a lot has happened.  Green shoots and soft fresh leaves are all over Scotland now.  But yesterday morning we boarded a plane to Canada and said goodbye to all of them.


Or rather, we said "so long", because it turns out we will only be away for a little while.  When we go back to Aberdeen later this summer, it will be for another three years while my husband works away on his doctorate.  We found out only last week that we would be staying on... before that it was looking almost sure that we were moving to Newfoundland, Canada where this is another department of folklore with a good doctoral programme. 

Either place would have suited me, I think, and so would have Brittany, where we almost moved last September.  In each place there were things I looked forward to.  Icebergs and moose, people dwarfed by the immensity of nature; little old village churches with strange medieval carvings, markets and fest noz, speaking French; mushroom hunting in storybook forests in summer, the wind roaring around in winter making our old granite house feel like a boat lost at sea, friends and all the little haunts I've grown to love.

I am grateful that we will finally have a bit of a rest from always feeling that we are about to move someplace new, as we have for the past six years.  It will be nice to feel as though we can settle in a little bit anyway.  When we get back I will be able to buy wood and start work on the paintings I have been carrying inside me for too long.

And then there were the unexpected few days we spent in France for the funeral.  Riding the train into Paris from the airport, we looked at each other and said it felt as though we hadn't left at all, another few weeks and our life in Scotland would seem like only a strange dream we had shared.  It was odd to think that even after a year and a half away, the repetition of daily routines from our years in France somehow had left such a deep mark on us that they seemed more immediate and real than our current home only a few hours behind us.  But even in sad circumstances, life seemed to sing a bit.  The flowers were on the chestnut trees, and the sun showers and hailstones ran amok.

   When we returned to Aberdeen, we searched for a new home by day and filled boxes with our things by night.  I have a set of keys in my bag to a place that is waiting empty for us to fill with dreams and tunes and the quiet talk of evening time.  Every day the sun is ticking away the hours across those empty walls and crooked floors, until we will be there to begin something new.

   But just now in Canada, the days are warm and filled with bird song and seeds floating past on the breeze.  The sun rushes down on us so enthusiastically that it is hard to open our eyes, for all the brightness.  It has been so long since we were back here to visit where it hasn't been because of deathbeds and last visits, so it is pretty incredible to be able to look around and really see everything.  At first glance it is all enormous and overflowing here. And of course, as I suppose it must always be, so much has changed, and then so much has not changed at all.


  1. I'm so happy to hear from you, I was thinking of you today :-) how and where you might be? and now you are here and your pictures radiate happiness to me :D

  2. Jodi, I saw your beautiful maquette at Clive Hicks-Jenkins blog, first as a preview before his online exhibition. I wanted to let you know that your work inspired me to make a maquette as well, and join that exhibition. I love your blog, have been reading it for a few days. How exciting that you are Canadian too, and a printmaker.

    Where in Canada are you now? (I'm in the Vancouver area) I wish you a happy summer at home, and best of luck for you and your husband in Scotland for the next three years. Happy artmaking, I look forward to seeing the work you shall be doing there.

  3. Hi Jodi - Oh, so glad for you that you can "root" a little! And also selfishly, I'm glad you're staying put so I can see the paintings that have been hanging around you waiting for birth! A big wave to you up north... and happy settling in to your new place once you get back to Scotland.

    And, BTW, I absolutely LOVED your piece on Clive Hicks - Jenkins' blog, too! Really wonderful. Your piece and Rima's is inspiring me to have a go at one myself if I ever get some time for "extra" projects!

  4. beautiful photographs, beautiful words. blessings on your journey.

  5. WOW, where do you find these plants? i swear, you make up the world as you go ...
    i'm really glad to hear from you again, and to hear that things are settling. and i can't wait to see the next painting. i still can't get over the amazing feathers and characters of the last painting--and your maquettes were magic.

  6. Barbara,
    Aw, so sweet of you to be thinking of me! It's so wonderful the way people far away can be somehow so present at the same time. I kept meaning to post, but there was so much to be done. And you're right, I *am* very happy these days! I hope things are lovely where you are too!

    I am so touched and honoured that my maquette inspired you... and yours is wonderful! (It makes me wish I hadn't burned up all my old test prints before moving.) That was really a ingenious way to make a maquette and bring new life into old prints. I've just been peeking through your blog too and will definitely be following along. I am so pleased by the way this project of Clive's has brought people together!
    I'm over in Toronto, rather far away I'm afraid. But it is lovely to be back for this little break, so refreshing to hear so many languages and encounter so many different ideas and cultures... I have missed that. Anyway, I'm very happy you stopped by!

    Waves right back to you! It's lovely to be back on this side of things again, with all the chickadees, red-winged blackbirds, blue jays, hummingbirds, and everything else. I am really glad you liked the maquette! There were so many amazing ones in that show, I thought it was really inspiring to see. You should definitely give it a go one day if you find the time; it makes you look at a design differently, which is probably always a very good thing indeed.

    Thank you for stopping by, and for the kind words. Bright wishes to you!

    Ha ha, in Aberdeen of course... I am glad you like them, I always am a little afraid that I might bore people with too many plant photos, but then they are lovelier than anything I might make up. It is very good things are calming down, and as much as I love being over here and visiting, part of me is very anxious to get back to where I can make things! Thank you so much for the kind words on the maquette (I will probably make a post about it soon) and the painting! Right outside my window the day I arrived in Canada was a freshly dead sparrow, which made me feel odd after all that time painting them not so long ago.

  7. Very beautifully written, your story spoken in fragments is engaging; the illustrations are also very touching. Enjoy where you are but you seem to already know that.

  8. I'm glad you have been able to make a decision about where you're going to live for the next few years, but I'm also selfishly glad that you're going to be in Canada for a few months now, so maybe we can have photos of moose and other strange beasties. Your photos here were lovely, particularly the one of the curly tendrilous shoots and the intricate moss lace, that look straight out of the fairy world. One can never have too many plant photos, please!

  9. Thanks Leonard! This whole moving business has really been making me appreciate the present and just being where I am an any time, since the future just became too overwhelming to even think about.

    Oh, there aren't too many moose around these parts, I'm afraid. Newfoundland, if we'd gone, would have been spilling over with them, but here it's more raccoons, deer, and coyotes and things. Not too far away are bears and wolves, maybe some cougars... but they tend to hide away. I've mostly just been pleased to hear the old bird songs I grew up with (it's so loud here!) and the other day a hummingbird came right up to me and stood still in the air a minute before speeding away again. That always makes me catch my breath.
    I've grounded myself until next week, but after that I'll definitely go out and snap some photos!