Author Topic: RIDES 2017 — add yours here  (Read 6886 times)

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2017 — add yours here
« Reply #210 on: October 12, 2017, 04:44:08 PM »
Engaging description, John. You meet some nice people on your bike. Yesterday in front of the bank I found a man closely inspecting my bike. It turns out he knows all my chums but not me, despite living in the same small town for almost forty years, because -- wait for it -- he doesn't have a bicycle, an error he will rectify with all haste now he has met me and been invited to ride with us.

That color the sumacs turn is really something, a red the most crazed artist couldn't imagine without seeing them. Well, or being a Hungarian, because that's also the color of best-grade paprika.

The Holy Ground does look like that -- of course you're right! -- or will in a week or five when it has turned a bit. All your simulacrum requires is a circle of standing stones and a few drops of your blood where the thorns on the gorse caught you.


John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2017 — add yours here
« Reply #211 on: October 12, 2017, 07:40:57 PM »
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a circle of standing stones and a few drops of your blood where the thorns on the gorse caught you

For sure. Those items are not really part of our landscape here, Andre. (We do have blackflies in lieu of gorse.)

I came to consciousness in a part of the U.K. with a good supply of standing stones -- Dorset and Wiltshire--and our kids were enchanted when we visited those areas with them for the first time, some 20 years ago. (Gorse on the Dorset Heath held less appeal for them, I dunno why.  I did read them some of the opening pages of Hardy's Return of the Native, but that didn't help.)

It took a while to register with me, though, that there are, of course, magnificent standing stones in the Canadian Arctic: the inukshuk, created by the Inuit.  These have become a symbol of Canada in the last generation.  One of the very best exhibits for Canada 150 was a huge collection of outdoor plant sculptures in Jacques Cartier Park in downtown Gatineau, just across the Ottawa River from Parliament. All ten provinces and three territories provided sculptures which symbolized their landscape, culture and peoples. I had heard about this, but didn't pay very close attention, 'cos it sounded like a niche-market event, maybe a specialized flower show.

How wrong I was, and how delighted to learn that first-hand. I was returning from an overnight cycling trip in West Québec, coming into Ottawa/Gatineau from the east, on the north shore of the river. The bike paths were closed, and I was re-routed around--"What on earth is this?" I thought--an enormous exhibit of, of all things, plant sculptures!!  Marcia and I returned to wander among them on a couple of visits, because they were magical, unlike anything I'd ever seen. Some of the best were from the northern territories -- an inukshuk taller than a house dominating all around it, and musk oxen which manage to combine grandeur and whimsy. I've added a few examples below.

One more example of The Unexpected, which bike trips so often generate :)

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2017 — add yours here
« Reply #212 on: October 12, 2017, 10:03:39 PM »
That's... monumental. Funny how these things ring with light skinned johnny-come-latelies. In Australia. while at the University of Adelaide, I wrote on the arts (well, whatever took my fancy, but mostly the arts) for Nation Review. One of my most quoted pieces is a double page spread I did on the Dreamtime, the Aboriginal gestalt of origin narrative and art philosophy and much more, on hand of an exhibition of Aboriginal Art on North Terrace as part of the superb Festival of Arts. Thing is, normally I consider an overwrought interest in native art qua native art as a sign of trendy decadence and lack of imagination, not to mention guilt-driven pandering, but that exhibit had more than sincerity to recommend it -- it was authentic, which was why I gave it so much space.

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2017 — add yours here
« Reply #213 on: October 13, 2017, 05:38:29 PM »
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that exhibit had more than sincerity to recommend it -- it was authentic

You're spot-on there, Andre.  Slowly, our collective understanding of Canada, and our expressions of that, are being transformed by indigenous voices and creations. One of my favourite examples is a few years old: The CBC held a poll to identify "Seven wonders of Canada". Two of the items named were creations of indigenous peoples, ways of living and moving in our difficult geography -- the canoe and the igloo. (Another was "Prairie Skies", a happy choice.)