Saturday, March 18, 2017

In among the animals

It's been a wilder than usual week. Not just because of those photos of animals on the walls,though they contributed too -- in a positive way.

The woman is Bonnie Nish, the primary force behind Pandora's Collective, a long-standing group that promotes the arts in the Lower Mainland.

One of the many ongoing events established by Pandora's is 'Word Whips in the Gallery', a gathering that this time I was lucky enough to be a part of.

The way it works: several poets (and usually a musician and/or a dancer) are invited to visit the Zack Gallery at Vancouver's Jewish Community Centre on or around the opening of a new exhibit. Following that, they go home and prepare work that serves as a response to images in the show.

This time, the exhibit, "The Intersection of Science & Art" contained photos taken in South Africa and on the Galapagos Islands. Also included were realistic sculptures of various fish and birds, mainly ones that live here on the West Coast. Both elements served to inspire some strong responses -- not only from the poets who'd officially been invited, but from participants in the Open Mic, such as the talented Sho Wiley.

Of the pieces Bonnie read, the one that resonated solidly was one containing a line, easy for me to identify with, mentioning "days we all want to /crawl into our shell". This is particularly appropriate for Nish, as she's the editor of a book about concussion and brain injury. Not only was she the compiler of (and a contributor to) the book, but she's a survivor of concussion, unafraid to talk about it.

The work presented by the other poets offered the always imaginative range one encounters at readings, although just about everyone seemed to have a poem responding to the photograph of the blue-footed booby with its always-fashionable bright blue feet.

The imagination: surely one of the best traits of our species!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Not quite there yet

These daffodils serve as a good example of how I'm feeling ''not quite there yet" on a number of fronts. Even though I bought them a week ago, they've only barely begun to open -- and in truth, I'm not confident that all the buds will make it.

Oddly, the same thing occurred with quite a few of the bulbs I tried forcing this year. Specifically, it was members of the narcissus family, including the usually reliable 'paper white' variety' that disappointed. They formed what looked like normal buds, but they simply didn't open. And it wasn't just the set of bulbs I'd potted, but ones that came as a gift from a friend -- a friend who's a professional gardener.

But flowers aren't the only case of my feeling "not quite there."

Tomorrow is International Women's Day, and I'm seeing far too many instances of women being nowhere near "there" especially if 'there' can be defined as a place of equality.

I'm thinking specifically of recent court cases where sexual assault charges were not taken seriously, where the judge ruled that being passed out drunk could still signal 'consent'. If there can be any good news in this, it's the fact that the decision has raised an outcry and that today an appeal has been made.

As for wage inequity or glass ceilings, I'm not even going there. Sadly, that's not news.

And maybe I'd feel less edgy about all of this if it weren't for the fact that even spring seems to be on hold. Yep, instead of daffs outside, there's still more snow.