Monday, 28 September 2015

On Lawn

The Doris McCarthy Artist-in Residence (DMAiR) program--in which I'm happy to be the current a-i-r, (let's just say current air)--will be holding a reception out here on Wednesday to celebrate RBC sponsorship of the program starting next year. They asked me nicely if I'd mind giving up a day of what the DMAiR website calls "quiet, isolated and picturesque" living. Not all, I said, meaning it.
So today some site preparation went on--a cut and trim of the grass, which had just been done on Friday. Just as noisy this time, they went further--gathering the leaf and apple falls.
I understand the need to intervene in natural forces. As I've already noted earlier in this blog, the erosion of the spectacular bluffs, which created the attraction to live here, going back two hundred years but escalating in the last fifty, can be measured now in grains of sandstone rather than metres of prime real estate. This is thanks to an expensive and creative breakwater installation along the lakeshore 60 metres below.
However, what we do not need is to cover up the fact that leaves and apples fall here in autumn. We do not need to prettify the lawn or pretend that geese don't shit here. Imagine, me standing up for the geese--which have not yet returned, by the way, in the forty-five minutes since the truck pulled away. Nor have the grey squirrels or the butterflies or the deer pulling red apples off the tree early this morning, to name just a few of the obvious residents punished, as it seems, by such wasteful intervention.
We humans love the place for the way it is; we hide the way it is so visitors on Wednesday will love it more. This seems to me a shockingly unimaginative and insensitive approach to the ongoing stewardship of this resource. Very much NOT in keeping with the spirit of Doris McCarthy herself, in my opinion. She would embrace, not dandify, what nature gave her.
I feel like shaking down the apples and greasing the geese.

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