Sunday, April 12, 2015

Brewery Creek, day 3 + 4

Sunday April 12, 2015: 
A circle of sticks is forming. Not sure if it is for the Mallard ducks in this nesting season or if it is for the creek. What matters is not the object that remains, but the relationship that's forming between person and place. Freshly cut hair has been left for the season's new nests. Ducks gather food, geese fly in overhead, float below, and walk towards the big nest suspiciously. The gulls and I bask in the same sun and their calls return home with me at night. The sounds of the creek's waterfalls from the dam fill my memory with a persistent rush that seems to be going somewhere important.

I'm coming to understood the city's role with this site, the history of sewage dumping, the defunct dam and other details shared with me by a neighbour who has lived here for 61 years. These conversations reveal the creek's history and significance to others, and so I return every few days for more. The information gleaned offers a deeper understanding of the site, yet I learn as much through the soles of my feet and the palms of my hands. Days like this help me to grasp the watery contour that circuits around this island of Old Hull: from the Outaouais River to Brewery Creek over to the Gatineau River and round again. A circle contains the Island and my little life here. The place has drawn me in. I'll be working here for the next season at least.

It doesn't matter whether or not the work lasts. Gathering living elements is particularly meaningful to me because it reveals an almost alchemical process: events unleash a collaboration with something bigger than me or any one individual's will.

So far, the nest represents two afternoons devoted to time and place: gathering, understanding, conversing. Observing weather, light and changes in sound and human traffic. Responding to the changing atmosphere. What matters to me is not the nest itself but the growing feeling of attachment to this shoreline that is growing in me. The kind of feeling that lingers around after I return home, coaxing me to sleep to dream up some more, to return again.

bird-bombed (note the black speck on the water is a duck bum)