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My "psychological" text scrap project reaffirms connection with the earth by validating the senses. It enables me, a little fearful, to venture out to a winter beach, observing the way the season has settled over the delicate landscape of Port Dalhousie.

Apart from walkers up ahead along the shore, a few students take pictures of each other proving their existence in the realm of digitisation. The homework waits patiently but not before the silence of the place impinges on my ear (my only good one). Not even a gull or a wave break up the stillness. But the depth of winter has not yet arrived making the sand magically communicate some of the yesterday's warmth. I scoop a few handfuls, and twigs, pouring them into a plastic container. My project portrait is a young woman. I name her Dolha. She is the woman sent to meet me here. She found me over the waves, so I can't consider her anything else except the gift she is. A strong swimmer, her hands and feet enable her to travel, gather and grasp. I found a face for her amongst the paper scraps at a nostalgic Letraset Party at the Niagara Artists' Centre in celebration of the icons of design.

After all, it is death in the truest sense.

A part of me resists this Outland. Perhaps I've already included it in this community's blind spot. After all, it is death in the truest sense. Why should I hesitate from leaving? Curious, I venture along the edge between water and sand to the storm fence that ironically neither blocks the wind nor my thoughts. Focussing on my present awareness, I awaken to nothing unusual that would make death unordinary. Only the pulsing waves flicker in a band of grey-green beyond white mounds of snow and ice perched like penguins in the direction of Toronto. At my feet, twigs and feathers clump together in the icy slush - remnants that fell from Dolha's gatherings last Fall. The flat layer of beige sand encroaches a compliant log while black bodies of trunks and limbs wait in this vestibule of nature's funeral parlour. The dead here bring no grief except a few deep breaths at eternity's anxious questions. Prospects of spending forever alone communing with the gentle resistance of water, ice, air and sand, make time stand still. It's not forever in the sense of boring nothingness, but perhaps another door, another opportunity, the possibilities of the shapes, signs floating on a desk or a wall, scraps of memory pasted onto a peaceful sheltered landscape.

How soon the fears dissolve in a pot of mud caught by the summer rain? ©

Fear of Death

Date

February 15, 2017

Author

James Kershaw

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Jim Kershaw says

February 15, 2017,

I couldn't help but feel a deep inner stillness and peace.

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