Archive for October, 2012

Tom Thomson’s Secret Hideaway

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Well, after Hurricane Sandy rips through, we may very well be looking at some of this white stuff in Ontario, somewhat prematurely mind you!

On a languid weekday afternoon and as in a dream, three of us trucked north of the city to check out an old haunt of one Canada’s most iconic visual artists. Our slushy highway meditation led us here, to this lovely cabin, sequestered on private property and tucked away in a magical, secluded forest,  just beyond the Grip of Toronto.

Purported to be Tom Thomson’s place to party en route to parts north – either Algonquin Park or Owen Sound – to imagine the young Thomson and his compatriots hanging out in these very woods, this wintery interlude was so welcome and truly inspiring.. think Canada’s Group of Seven meets Narnia – although the place was locked up tight, it was like discovering some incredible time portal, akin to C.S. Lewis’ magic wardrobe!

Yeah, my improv here is somewhat, uh, improverished, but bear in mind that I was standing knee-deep in snow and admittedly absorbed in the way that the sounds of my vintage 8-keyed flute was ricocheting off the surrounding tree trunks…

Looking back on it now, I like to think the nuance and gesture of my flute-playing was like ‘sketching with sound’, perhaps even suggesting the movement of Thomson’s paintbrush over canvas or wood panel; apparently, often short on cash, he even resorted to painting on the wooden slats from flour or orange crates that he had salvaged.

Listen for the chickadee part-way through.. this, together with the husky low register of my wooden flute, are the seminal moments of this short recording, at least imhe!