Greetings. Please, get a sweater. Our winter isn’t over yet.
I wanted to share images, thoughts, and even some video, from my 2014 Winter odyssey towards Buffalo, NY and the environments of the Great Lakes. I was going to represent my work and the infancy of the Sewing Forgiveness piece, that was to be shown at the U of Buffalo Art Galleries, in the show titled Yoko Ono Fan Club, juried by friend and then curator, Julie Rozman. Most fellow northerners I know were escaping the record temperatures and ice and headed somewhere south. Of course, often feeling like I am swimming upstream, why would being in the coldest winter on record, send me to warmer climates too? I rented a car (Hey! It had a heated steering wheel!) and headed to Buffalo. I made plans and reservations for Buffalo a couple of days. Then, a Fluxus friend and his wife offered their home in Toronto, since I wouldn’t be far. I committed to little, other than penciling off nearly a week away, and being with myself for most of it.
Driving long distances in February may not have been very smart in hindsight, but I made it there with little sliding around, one speeding ticket (Indiana) and a reason that revealed itself mid route. I was driving, incapable of syncing my cell with the rental car’s system, trying to connect with dear humans while enroute (with no success) wind blowing, bitter cold all around. Eyes watering up for the feelings I was having about my own judgement. Wondering about the sanity of this trip and my ability to make other healthy choices in my life. You know, that crazy making place we go sometimes when we want to beat ourselves up with the hammer of self doubt.
Then it hit me.
I would/could/should be near 4 of the 5 Great Lakes on this trip. I followed so much of the weather patterns last year, its effect on the region, the water, our lives. It was my way of embracing what was squarely in front me. I came across the Yahoo image (above) from Mars, of the Great Lakes, sometime in early January of 2014. I immediately thought “I need to render that feeling in porcelain.” This road trip was weeks later. I knew that I must supplement the piece, presently only existing in my head, with melted snow and ice… from each Great Lake. Of course!
Now the trip made sense. Purpose, along with folly, mixed in with some risk and discomfort, and add good humans. Now this is a road trip I could sink my cross country skis into! I began mapping in my head, and later that evening in Buffalo at the Holiday Inn, and felt at peace with the New York state winds, snow, and the sense of possibilities ahead.
Another inspiring image of one of my favorite lakes.
20% of the world’s fresh waters comes from these beauties. I can’t help but be in awe of them.
Here is a map along with some stats from a year ago, further affirming the uniqueness of our experience last Winter, and what has now proved, to be another, albeit waning, very cold, winter. Note: this is from 2014
and this comparison of 2014 and 2015 with more information here.
I think of my father this morning. Today would have been his 81st birthday. He is with me every day but especially when I see a swallow in flight. Happy Birthday Dad. I still miss you.
Watch for more on the final work, Polar Vortex. Thanks so much for reading.