Monday, August 1, 2011

Pondering on Fireweed

Taken at Dredge #4, Dawson City, Yukon. July 2009.

I always find it amazing to discover how a specific detail of a story writing has made it's way into my work from my subconscious and what the connections are, however loose, to my own life. A year ago in June one of the words I suggested was "Fireweed." Then, last summer I when began exploring linocuts for blocks printing. One of the first cuts I designed was Fireweed. I was very happy with the simplicity and detail I had put into the image, but lacked the drive to actually do much with it until last week, when I again had the print making materials out for the kids to use and I decided, 'what the heck, I'll have some fun too' and pulled out my fireweed cut. 
Having made 9 different and unique prints on paper I was then left with the dilemma of wondering what to do with them. It was this pondering which got me thinking about Fireweed. I remembered as a child spending hours playing in the field of fireweed which grew on the embankment next to the garden and watching the bumblebees harvest pollen. And I began to wonder just why Fireweed still continues to fascinate me and what it's significance is in my life is now that it has turned up, not only in my writing, but my drawing and other creative expression too. In doing this I recalled the post On the Road to Somewhere where I discussed story beginning I wrote last June using the word "Fireweed," which appears below.
On the Road to Somewhere
The purple-pink carpet stretches on both sides of the road as far as I could see, broken by blackened stumps, sentinels lifting their heads above the thronging flowers, bowing in the wind. Bumble-bees hovered from bunch to bunch gathering nectar. The raging fire, bearer of this beauty, but a memory soon forgotten.
 My worldly possessions filling the trunk of my little Epson Ford, I drove. If you had to chose what to take. If you could take only what would fit into the car; what would you chose? My typewriter, a suitcase and paper for words yet to come. 
 Back home Tom was heading in the other direction. I could imagine the women on his smooth talking arm, twirling their skirts, smiling with their flippant blonde locks streaming in the wind I’d left behind. 
I let the pictures fly, one by one, out the open window, memories blowing in the breeze marking the trail of where I’ve been, the stereo playing in the background. So, what; fine me for littering. I looked ahead at the open highway, roads to somewhere - unwritten. 

After reading this I realized that the fireweed in the piece appears after a moment of irrevocable change in the main characters life, a climax in a story, and is very fitting. Springing from the ground after a forest fire, fireweed displays it's beauty and reclaims the earth with new life and I think for me it is a symbol of rebirth and hope, that no matter what the changes are and how many, to borrow phrase form L.M. Montgomery,  "bends in the road," there is always some new beauty, some hope. And, in my case, I have Fireweed.

One of the 9 prints.
In this one I highlighted the design in
silver ink after the print dried. 

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