I am proud to be contributing a work to the group show: “50 Canadian Things” being curated by Ian MacLeod at the Sechelt Art Centre. The concept behind the show was this: artists were each given one of the short stories from Jane Urquhart’s A Number of Things: Stories of Canada Told Through Fifty Objects. The artists interpreted the story for their artwork.
I was given the short story “Torah.” I was inspired by a memory of my father and a talk given by Yosef Wosk. I made ink, cut a quill, and wrote in one of my journals - book 63. Here is the piece.
Torah. Tikkun Olam: Repairing the world.
They were things my father had no control over. The way he was. The things he feared. It was for these things, the things he could not control, that I never forgave him.
After he retired he took up genealogy. He took it up like a man who sets life aside when he is young, planning one day to pick it back up when he has more time. But, by the time he was ready life had abandoned him. Life does not wait. And so he didn't know what he wanted from genealogy other than the names and the dates; all the facts that can be written in a notebook when visiting a cemetery. The present confounded him and he had no use for people who were still alive. How to sum them up? Much easier to list the occupation of someone born In 1867 who died on the railroad, in a coal mine, of a farming accident.
He took up genealogy like a gentle excavation. A task which could never be completed but which would occupy him. Dusting aside level after level of accumulated time.
When I think of my father I think that all men are silent. They need to work very hard to overcome that silence. Even those men who are always talking are silent inside.
He became kind and gentle after his stroke. I forgave him everything then. I took care of him for a short time; bathed him, cut his fingernails, made him comfortable.
Years later I found this:
A Sufi holy man
was asked what
it is the fragrance that flowers give
when they are crushed.