Friday, April 14, 2006
Books in the Trees
My friend and I went for a walk in the woods the other day.
It was a cloudy cool day--the moss was lush and springy underfoot, the trilliums nodded white between the ferns, and the exuberant yellow skunk cabbages decorated the swampy parts of the forest floor like oddly-perfumed daffodils.
As in a dream, music wafted through the trees---harp and flute and piano. And adding to the dream-like quality of the paths, there were strange sights in this part of the forest.
Flying wooden fish suspended from trees, rock sculptures painted in primary colours, creatures constructed from twisted metal parts....the art of George Sawchuck is part Alice in Wonderland and part Blair Witch Project.
His woodland gallery is located partially on Crown land and extends into his adjoining yard. It's one of those places that even locals are not much aware of, I think. There are no posted signs to inform random folk rambling in the woods that these trails contain rather eccentric (occasionally eye-brow raising) art, not to mention some political commentary reflecting the artist's rejection of organized religion and his professed communist leanings (at least he professed them in the seventies).
What appeals to me most are the books in the trees. Yes, I can't go anywhere without reading a book. It's a curious thing to reach into a tree, pull out a book, and read it. Mind you, the books contain only one page. You can read a lot of them...if you can find them.
Sometimes the wooden pages lay on tables by a pond, sometimes they were chained to a rock.
Other messages were left on posts or stumps.
And occasionally I'd open a wooden cupboard in the forest today and find not pithy sayings, but say,little wooden severed heads, reminding me simultaneously of punked-out tree spirits and cheesy B-movies involving voodoo curses.
Have you ever felt as if you were not really awake?