July 30, 2011 § 5 Comments
There’s been a long period where I haven’t written anything. During this time, instead of writing, I needed something else to occupy myself and so I took up crocheting. With my hook and starter’s cone I crocheted first rugs, mats, scarves, blankets, and then moved on to more difficult tasks like sweaters, hats, even a pair of mittens, though I have to admit that the pair didn’t work out and I ended up undoing all of the yarn. Crocheting is a relatively simple, though time-consuming task. All one really needs is their tube and their hook (to begin), as well as supplies, of course. I don’t doubt that somewhere in this world there are people for whom crocheting is a challenge because they practice it in such a way that it requires a large amount of expertise. At no time during my crocheting did I ever aspire to be one of these people: principally, I did it to keep my hands busy. My wife thought my new hobby odd, but no less odd than others I’ve had: beekeeping, parkour, letters, tennis. She thought it was funny to walk in on me with my unfinished yarn and to pretend like she was going to yank it out of my hands.
I will admit that crocheting taught me certain things: first, it taught me patience, the ability to trust that what looks at first like a tangled mess might eventually turn, with diligence, precision, into something like the mental image in your head. Crocheting also taught me that what is made can be unmade. But, most importantly, what crocheting taught me was that the work one does is individual, that aside from the final product, there is something in the work itself that is valuable. We gave away all the rugs, mats, scarves and sweaters that I made, and I don’t doubt that much of it has found its way to secondhand stores or to the landfill. But the experience of crocheting—which I’ve since abandoned—remains not in those discarded remnants but in the pleasure that I find now that I’ve returned to writing.
July 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
In Caledon we have two kinds of animals: animals that are and are not afraid of the light. In the first category (animals that are afraid of the light), we have: deer, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, rabbits, mink, wild cats, skunk. (The light I’m referring to is, of course, artificial light, as, even though some are nocturnal, none of these animals are entirely shy of the light of day.)
The animals that aren’t afraid of the light include our housepets: our dog, two cats. Three additional cats, orphaned when my parents moved away, are in between both categories. Often they will meow at our lit windows, though we don’t let them in for reasons of hygiene, and they haven’t really been let in in years, long before my parents moved away. They fear, of course, headlights, engines, car wheels, and sensibly remove themselves from their activity. They are between both categories because they have achieved a sort of self-sufficiency (though we supplement their diet). For an entire year the mother, who used to shit on our bedspreads, lived on her own in the forest. At that time it was only with major coaxing that she’d slip her purple-grey paws out of the wreckage of shed and greet me. Light, however, was perhaps associated with the wrath of my mother (who kicked her out late one night in April), and so she kept her distance.
There is another kind of creature that is not afraid of the light, but doesn’t fully belong to that category. They are the insects that cling to our black windows: moths, gnats, various flies, their ghostly white bodies tramping over the transparent like a parade of stags, leaving behind thin grey streaks, their droppings.
July 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
He was cold to her.
Suddenly a low cackling like the bang of wooden blocks approaching and insistent. What spirit or salesman has come to visit me he thought throwing on his robe and bidding his wife cover herself and wait for him inside.
Coming to the door he saw the source of the noise, a crow flying fast across the field and with insolence cackling loudly.
—It’s nothing. Just a crow.
The crow did slatternly circles in the air as it went from tree to tree. Before it a hunching owl seethed through the branches.
His wife came to stand next to him.
—Look, he said.