Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Gifts of Art

A post bemoaning winter was well underway. I'd gathered my glowering thoughts about the season —the gloomy monochrome landscape, the grey days piling up in my memory like the mountains of frozen slush lining the streets, the crunched-up bodies of the city folk huddled under their coats, heads down to chests as they trudge through another day.

My eyes felt parched; they were so thirsty for colour. I'd decided enough was enough. I would post some cheery pictures of a garden tour I took on Toronto’s Ward’s Island a couple of summers ago.

But wait a minute, I thought. Wasn’t it less than a month ago that I posted passionately on the beauty of  frost? Didn't I celebrate blue-shadowed trees on fields of gold-kissed snow? What happened? When did I fall so completely out of love with winter?

I guess a love like that cannot last. It’s doomed by the inevitability of spring.

I didn't finish the post. It will appear later. Instead I happened to drive by a house where winter is still welcome. On its front lawn is a gallery of snow art.  
A polar bear mama, arms out to her cubs.

A human mother with little ones clinging to her skirts.

A goofy, funny, playful dog sitting, waiting for a treat, and...a deer? A sphinx cat? I’m not sure what the last one is, but I am grateful for it.

The city is still drained of the soft green I'm yearning, but I can't deny I love the virtues of snow—it can bring out the best in us. It brings out a playfulness in young and old.

I love that this artist has shared his vision and brought magic to a somewhat bleak street-scape. (I know he's a he, because I saw him on my last drive by. I was showing my elderly mother the creations, and the sculptor himself was touching up his work — a little pat of fresh snow here and there. We stopped to compliment him. He speaks little English, and seemed surprised by our appreciation, but he waved and nodded shyly.) 

I hope he knows how grateful I am that he shares his art with the city. I felt he seemed the type that makes art because he must—art for the joy of creation, art even though it cannot possibly last for long, art for art’s sake, but also art for our sake, too.

So I will settle back into the now that is in snow. The garden will come. It always does.

Until then I will carry on making steaming mugs of hot chocolate, lighting the kitchen candles at dusk, and looking for the gifts that are in front of me instead of pining for the ones that don't exist yet. 


  1. Bravo! :) Still enjoying winter has to be intentional at this late hour with 'spring' whispering in our veins. The snow sculpture was amazing; and I like the point about "art for art's sake" but for the sake of other people too. I think that second point is what a lot of contemporary art philosophies lack- creating something for others to enjoy as well as ourselves is very much an important purpose in artistic fields.

    1. Thank you for those comments. I am not a visual artist so I fear to step on toes here or draw (no pun intended) faulty comparisons, but as a writer, it would be awfully strange to write for the sake of self-expression if I only sought to show my work to the filing cabinet. While you can't really think of the reader when writing, you do think of them. You do hope to touch someone, to connect, to give a gift.