Archive for the ‘Imagination’ Category

A Bridge In the Woods

May 7, 2011

A bridge in the woods demonstrates a great deal of generosity and faith. There is no reason to build it unless you believe someone will come along to use it. Constructing a bridge in the middle of a shady wood, far from the roads, requires difficult labour. So why build it for strangers who might wander by? I have to believe that its carpenters were good-hearted and wanted to leave a silent legacy of kindness. Why else would they toil among the bugs and humidity, or worse rain, for my benefit? Me, the mysterious person who hikes through the woods and sits on the side of the bridge to eat a pear.

So I began this narrative of your life. You were a group of adventurers who weaved in and out of the Niagara Escarpment on the weekends. When you reached water you trudged through because as your leader said, “no river can stop us when we work together.” In this way you covered the hundreds of kilometers between the Falls and the Bay. One day you reached my town. It seemed simple enough with its lime kilns and lack of sprawl. I imagine you thought this was just another meaningless stop on your endless journey. I wonder if you could go back to that day if you might have turned down another Sideroad to avoid the creek, but there you were standing in a farmer’s fallow field. As you reached the tree line you could just hear the water ahead. “Oh just another stream to cross,” shouted your leader. You cut through the broken fence and stopped at the edge of the creek. Then something unexpected happen, a sudden thirst perhaps, and one of you bent down to drink the water. In that moment, as the clouds drifted above the treetops, the squirrels dashed from root to bush, the flies hovered, and the water passed between her lips, everything changed. Your group was stuck. The location was no longer a blur of trees and water, but the most significant place you had ever been. You also realized that if you didn’t act no one else would enjoy this place. After all, why would anyone come here if they couldn’t cross the creek as you do.  In the following days you carried wood and built. You hammered and cut the wood for a magnificent bridge. You made it possible for many others to come and cross and experience the moment just as you did that first day. Here I am.

Inside, Outside

May 20, 2009

This blog is occasionally a peak into my private life. It’s part of my commitment to be broad and enlightening.  I think I’ve mentioned my passion for puppets, muppets, and other fictional stuffed characters before.  At one time I considered entering the field of puppetry, but never really considered it a realistic goal.  Perhaps it would’ve been an ideal outlet for my creative energies.  The influence of Jim Henson on my life, (and those of countless others) can’t be underestimated.  I mention this so I can draw your attention to a group of handmade plush creature makers.  Their site links you to all the plush creations you could ever want.  I highly recommend checking them out.

I also enjoy this topic because it provides an opportunity to discuss imagination.  In particular, I am interested in the concept of the inner creative life.  Growing up as an only child I spent many hours on my own, and managed to create vast worlds with my toys.  There was always a backstory, and ongoing dialogue for each adventure.  To this day I breath life into my video games, board games, and solo sports, by inventing a narrative background.  This may be indicative of an underlying mental issue, but I think it is a reflection of my overactive imagination.  To some degree most people create fictional elements to their own life. This can manifest in the way they interpret others’ actions, or how they understand their own role in society.  For example, most people tend to view their own activity as more important and positive than it might be.  We are the heroes in our own lives.  The invention of an alternative creative life is probably a byproduct of the monotony of ordinary life.    It is also related to our ancestor’s creation of rich mythology.  Their motivation was to find an explanation for the world around them.  Some people still seek supernatural explanations for the elements of their life, but the creative inner life is more interested in spicing up and enriching ordinary life.

Where Amazing Happens

December 12, 2008
Once Michael gets up there he says, ‘Well, maybe I’ll just hang up here in the air for a while, just sit back.’ Then all of a sudden, he says, ‘Well, maybe I’ll 360. No I changed my mind. I’ll go up on the other side.’ He’s just incredible.

Magic Johnson

I love those NBA commercials that have the nice little piano tune and images of the players. I think it’s a concept that could be used to promote something more important than pro basketball.  If you haven’t seen them I’m sure they are on youtube.  I actually watched two basketball games last night, Toronto vs. Indiana, and L.A. (Lakers) vs. Phoenix.  I am a fan of the sport and play it whenever I get the chance.  NBA basketball, more than any other pro sports, allows it’s best athletes to perform ridiculous, circus tricks that bend the rules a little.  Last night Jamario Moon put back a miss while jumping over another player. Although you moght argue that he technically touched the ball in a somewhat illegal way, it was still a great play.  If you follow the Raptors then you’ve probably already seen it. My point in all this is that often people are drawn to flash points of briliance rather than larger bodies of work.  I think it’s an interesting contrast to our lives. We live for a reasonably long amount of time, most of which is filled with fairly boring events, like sleeping, eating, in my case sitting around.  Then periodcially we have awesome experiences that stand out in our memories.  When people sit down to write their memoirs they tend to pick out the funny, unique, informative, and interesting stories of their lives. They leave out all the mundane day to day business.

I have always been fascinated with what goes on between the plot points in movies and tv shows.  I don’t want to see how characters spend their evenings, or watch them drive to work but I always think about the many experiences they get to avoid because they are fictional characters.  I guess it’s a response to the fact that my life doesn’t get to be that way, and I get to spend my time waiting for the adventure to come.

Please take some time to vote on the poll in yesterday’s post and I will spend today enjoying a concert DVD or two, courtesy of you. Thanks for your continued support of The Alder Fork blog and podcast. I didn’t think anyone would read or listen, but there you are and I love you for it.

American Rock & Roll

December 6, 2008

The sun’s up, mhm, looks ok, the world survives into another day

Bruce Cockburn

Wondering Where The Lions Are

I’ve always been fond of Bruce Cockburn.  His music is beautiful, skillful, informative, and thoroughly Canadian. He is among the great folk heroes of our nation, and someday our grandchildren will enjoy his music as if it was their own.  I always thought that the message of his music is rooted in the idea of what could be.  Anyone can complain about how things are and point out the problems to others. But some first challenge themselves and others to envision the change, then go out and work on fixing it.  There is no glory in working on the ground, but there is joy.

Picking up on yesterday’s theme of imagination I want to share a story. About once a week I take the one hour drive from Guelph back to Hamilton down Highway 6.  This usually happens between 7-8 am.  On my most recent return trip (this morning) I was awestruck by the sun rising over the escarpment.  When you’ve lived in the same area most of your life, the landscape has to work harder to impress. It struck me that on such a cold day the sun could look so warm and inviting.  The ground had the early winter look, a little white, a little green, and a little black.  I pulled up slowly to Clappison’s Corners and looked around to see if anyone else noticed what I was seeing. At that time of the day most people are half asleep. But the girl in the car behind me was staring off towards the sky, just as I was, and I think she would agree with my sentiments.  Coming down the hill on Highway 6 is always breathtaking. Hamilton looks a lot better from above, when its vastness can be appreciated.  Being able to see the bay and the lake from that vantage point certainly helps the experience. I pictured myself at the end of a long journey (though in fact I’d traveled only 45 minutes) because I could imagine what it was like for the early visitors to the area. Like the man for whom Cootes’ Paradise is named. He was apparently here for only a short time but quite admired the area I was now looking at. Somehow knowing that history made it even more worthwhile.

I wanted to share a little bit of my regular routine and I’d love to hear how you experience the morning wherever you are.

In other news I am launching a new musical project. I will be writing all of the songs but I will need musicians to join me. I am particularly looking for vocalists. Email me at if you are interested.

A Title? What’s That?

December 5, 2008

There’s a hole where it oughtn’t be.

Matt Blacquiere

Pocket Financial Crisis

New podcast up tonight or early tomorrow morning. As always you can find it in the links or by searching for The Alder Fork on iTunes. This week features music by Black Nite Crash, The Clark Institute, and the song quoted above.There is also a very frank discussion of a less than classic album.

There’s a lot going on in Canada this week.  It seems we can’t go ten minutes without some political person freaking out about the state of government.  It seems a little odd to me that we would have an election after next to no one showed up to vote in the last one.  I think they’d have more success with a dance off. But enough of this political jibber-jabber.

You know I’ve been fortunate to travel in Europe, Canada, and the United States, and to see a wide variety of architecture and terrain.  This is irrelevant except that there is no place I can go that rivals what appears in my imagination. Yesterday I finally watched the third Futurama movie, Bender’s Game, and although I have never played Dungeons and Dragons I definitely appreciated that imagination was a main plot point.  I spend a great deal of time in my own head, envisioning music and other things.  I think it’s a healthy activity that not enough people involve themselves in.  I am always glad to see kids using their imaginations rather than relying on TV or video games to provide it.  Short post today because of the podcast, I will be back with a lot more tomorrow.