More people

August 30, 2004

I ended my last blog entry (August 19) with the sentence:

“There just might be a saint among the passengers”.

This was in reference to the boat people and refugees coming to Australia and how it behoves us to not cast prejudicial judgement upon these or any other people seeking a better life.

“Take a walk in their shoes, I say, for just a week.”

In a not too dissimilar vein, I maintain an open door policy here at Windgrove and allow the public to visit the grounds and gain access to my studio. A heavier than usual number of people –around 60– came this past weekend because of Tasmania’s “Living Artists Week” being promoted.

Ithaca one

There is certainly that part of me that prefers not to have to present myself to the public at large because of the physical and emotional energy it requires to have to constantly be welcoming and cheerful to strangers and to continually have to explain myself and my work over and over.

But I also genuinely want to share the stories I have experienced here and the environmental reasons behind my sculpture. I do enjoy explaining the purpose behind the Windgrove Centre.

And….there just “might be a saint among the visitors”. Not that we are not all capable of being saints, but there are those special people out there who can grace one’s life even if you only meet with them for a few minutes on a calm day at Roaring Beach.

One such person was an elderly man, who, upon completing the two kilometre Peace Walk, came into my studio and said that the only word he could come up with to describe his experience at Windgrove was “votive”.

How poetic. How lovely. How apt.

Dedicated, consecrated, offered, erected, etc. in consequence of or in fulfilment of a vow.

Then there was Bruce Wall who engaged me in conversation twice; before and after his walk around the property. How knowledgeable and “caring” he felt towards the timber in my studio and to the trees, forests and animals of Tasmania. It was only at the end of his visit did I find out that he works for Forestry Tasmania.

Bruce’s “ship” is the Forestry Tasmania office in Hobart. Who am I to question the heart politics of those individuals who work in a government enterprise that I have heavily criticised? It shows, yet again, the difficulties of arguing “one’s case” when those “on the other side” can be such good people. It is so much easier to demonise people; to imagine them as having thrown their children overboard.

It points out the need for all sides to sit down and listen to the full story of each other’s history. It also points out the need for governments to not purposely drive a wedge between its citizens in order to gain a few votes. Governments should think of “vote” as in “votive”. And then use their legislative powers to bring all their citizens a deeper connection to this earth.

The icing on the cake?

IthacaYesterday was also the day 17 university students from Ithaca College, New York came for lunch and an afternoon of exploration. When I saw them all gathered in the house, later in the day when it was getting dark and colder outside, I felt a real tenderness toward them and hoping their futures held many moments of happiness. I was also grateful to be able to offer to these young, inquiring souls, a few hours of my time; an opportunity to share my quirky sense of the great mystery called life.

As they drove off into the night, I wished them well upon their return to America; I wished them strength and courage to deal with what they will certainly encounter; I wished them compassion and tolerance in their quest to become our future leaders and eventual elders.

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