Monday 1 January 2018

Another year? Already?

The time has flown by since my last blog post at the beginning of June!

By the end of that month, I officially owned a vehicle again, and took three days to drive from Vancouver to Calgary, one of which was spent visiting wineries south of Okanagan Falls. I ended up with two full cases that have ranged from good to exquisite (the latter referring to the 2014 Blue Mountain sparkling wine I had for Christmas last week), and also on the wine front, I passed my Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 3 course, so I even know what I’m talking about, especially when it comes to Canadian wines.

New! Improved! Now with less rust!

But the highlight was driving from Calgary out to Percé, QC: I’m not sure I’d ever want to do it again alone (unless I had a really good reason to!), but apart from a few hiccups, was an amazing trip. I had never been on a long solo car adventure, and 53 days was quite long enough. There were days when the weather scared me senseless (Day 2, from Regina to Kenora, especially), and others that I didn’t want to end: the photograph below was the evening I spent in Rivière-du-Loup, QC, watching the sunset over the St. Lawrence River. It’s tidal here, and with the tide out, the light reflecting off the mud flats was amazing.

Every time I look at this picture, I’m back there — sitting on the deck at the motel, talking to the other guests in French about how not all Albertans are rednecked nutcases who only spoke English.


And condescendingly.

If I thought I could get a real job there, I’d move in a heartbeat.

But I wasn’t just there to be a tourist: I had a week in La Gaspésie, on the shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence at a little wide spot in the road known as Coin-du-Banc, at improv music camp. The music was sublime, the camp was ridiculous, and I even made some art too (see below) after a big storm our second night there cast up lots of seaweed onto the beach. I wrapped several strands around a rock, and on our last night, when it had dried, I cast it into the fire we built on the beach. Ate great food (not at camp), drank amazing local beers, and even brought home a bottle of locally distilled gin flavoured with four different species of wild mushrooms.

While the trip out was rushed (Calgary to Montréal in five days: ugh!), I took my time on the way back, with shorter driving days, and stretches where I would plop myself down for two or more nights at a time (Sutton, Ottawa, Prince Edward County, Cobourg, and Burlington) to visit friends, see art, taste wines/beers/ciders, and think a lot about the last few years and where life will take me next.

I crossed several items off my bucket list (camping on the north shore of Lake Superior and taking the ferry from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island), and several things that I had never wanted to do but did anyway (drive the Decarie and Autoroute 40 through Montreal, and the 401 through Toronto, on weekdays)

The upshot of that trip, and the long Thanksgiving weekend I spent alone in Radium Hot Springs, was that I finally see a return to serious art-making again, starting with shoreline, pictured below. 2018 will be Year of the Studio, and I look forward to getting my hands deep into the work.


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