art, Buddhism, Joyce Cary, nature, poetry, spirituality, The artist, The Horse's Mouth, The Modern World, yoga, Zen
I wanted to share another photo I took a week ago now of my buddy. He’s been hanging about in the woods behind my place for a month or so and I’ve been fortunate to get a few images of him on several occasions. Keep your head down, I wrote after first seeing him, hunting season is almost over. It ended two days ago.
Three months ago I moved down into the mountains, to be closer to and celebrate nature for the remainder of my days you might say. I consider it a privilege to have such a neighbour as this bull moose living nearby. To me he represents the power, nobility, freedom and majesty of what’s left of the natural world.
A couple of days ago I began a post on a book titled The Horse’s Mouth. This is how it began:
Every once in a while when the feeling hits I pick a book off my shelf and begin yet another reread. No, I’m not talking about Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, though now that I think of it the subject matter is pretty much the same, I’m talking about Joyce Cary’s rambunctiously hilarious The Horse’s Mouth.
I first learned of this quiet little classic about twenty-eight years ago while living in the heart of Canada’s largest city, Toronto. I was doing the artsy thing, renting a room in a house just off the funky Kensington Market and mostly reading my face off. Living nearby in a converted storage area above a few tiny storefront shops was Peter, a painter truly doing the full-on artsy hustle. He had attended some art school or other and I gather The Horse’s Mouth was something of a bible there to the youthful wannabe’s.
In the book Gully Jimson has the bug and has it bad. Sixty-seven years of age, destitute and just out of jail for uttering threats against a man who’s rooked him out of his life’s work he’s in a race against time to give vent to his vision by means of paint.
“And I perceived,” he thinks on the first page “that I hadn’t time to waste on pleasure. A man of my age has to get on with the job.”
That’s the cross, the mark of Cain, whatever you want to call it, that genuine artist types carry all their lives. They give their all and suffer for the burden of their vision just to give form to something they feel is of immeasurable value to their fellow humans. There is great nobility in that effort, whatever the end results might be. Walt Whitman and sad old Van Gogh and so many others come to mind on that score.
You see, I suppose in my own way, I’ve experienced a little of that sacrifice too. This modest little Cafe is my life’s work, pathetic as that may sound. The aim has always been to share something with humanity I’ve only recognized in two or three other men, and now they are all gone and there’s only me. Something about the wonder and beauty and fragility of all nature if only we can awaken to it, celebrate and work to preserve it. It’s been a world of fun and fulfillment no matter the meagreness of result or recognition.
But a guy gets tired on occasion. Tired of the sniping and trolls out to score a few points in the comment sections below something you’ve worked so hard at giving expression to.
Anyway, that’s life, and what else is there to do but carry on?
In the last few lines of The Horse’s Mouth Gully is dying, still looking at the humour of it all. That’s nobility. Like the ancient Japanese Hokusai, an old man mad about painting.
Earlier today I hiked up behind my place hoping to say hi to my buddy. Really hoping. You see, I drive bus now to earn my modest living and this morning one of the passengers informed me that a moose had been killed on the highway three kilometres, two or three miles, from where I took the above photo.
However ….what else is there to do… but carry on?