Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Random Observations in a Land I am Not From

I am as much a child of the city as I am of the country. My home is undefined: a land where I can observe and then recognize patterns, discovering ever new ones, and then finding delight in their progressions . Vancouver is one of those few cities for me...a city that dances with life.

The gift of being an artist is the gift of observation and reflection...of the ability to take in those lives that pass across the vantage point.

Morning: Starbucks, Vancouver. It is as much in British Columbia as it is in New York City, Madrid, or downtown Burlington, Vermont. "One tall latte", "hi", "4-30" "triple venti skinny latte". What makes it different is the flow that ebbs around and through it. The little man hurriedly pulling his small harnessed, decidedly unhurried French bulldog up the alleyway. The sauntering man in red tee avoiding eye contact behind his sunglasses yet taking in all before him. The delicate, dark haired girl in white flowing dress, half hidden behind large '50's era glasses held to earth by her '60's era fisherman's cap trudging up the hill as if on the way to a far off battle. The elegant black suited woman with long white hair intently dragging on a cigarette purposely striding down Burrard. The young, ponytailed mother lullingly swaying her curly peppermint striped child as they wait for her friend's iced skinny latte.

Dinner: 131 Water Social House in Gastown the older section of Vancouver. Across the cobblestone all in shades of violet and weathered black, a young Asian bride-to-be and her groom are being photographed by their very hip equally young female photographer and her grey sweatshirted partner. He maneuvers and directs the round black circle of reflected light. The mother-in-law to be beams her happiness. On the opposite side, an older grimacing waspy mother peers into 131 her longhaired bouncing daughter at her side the appropriately greyed and balding husband bringing up the rear. Pink and red, a blonde Audrey look-alike skips across, hand in hand with her robust, red bearded grizzly.

Ah humanity, ah life. It abounds, weaves across, moves on. Breathe in, breathe out, we are here now. Joy!

Evening: the Sheraton lobby. This urban world seems to be made for the 40 year old. Still lean but no longer 20 year old fit, the cut of fashion made for them...and their wallet. A line at the jowl or across the forehead, an earnestness balanced with caution and cunning. They understand their place in the world yet do not see their momentary place in time. In a tight circle at the hotel bar, they are negotiating future millions to the tune of Brazilian jazz. To the elder business statesman at the table, they raise a glass and exchange a temporary trust.

In the hotel's music fused night, a woman crippled by her overwhelming obesity confidently, faultingly walks by assisted by her rolling walker. In many situations her extreme size would mark her a pariah. Tonight instead daughter and her beau tenderly brush her left, while on her right her husband excitedly sharing his thoughts embraces her waist.

Up by the two musicians, the floor arcs and swings drawn by an 89 year old and his wife of 60 plus years. They glide and spin as only those who have done so for a lifetime can do. At the break, thinking of my own family, I chat. Then with a nod from his wife, I am suddenly dancing, a feather aloft in time.


  1. "They understand their place in the world yet do not see their momentary place in time." YES. That's it exactly.

    Loved reading this!

  2. Thanks Christina! I really appreciate your feedback. Surprisingly I am experiencing a deep need to observe, reflect and write, painting with words, applying the perfect "brush strokes".