Posted Stitches. Before the end of this month, I need to make a small quilt (10'x10") on the theme of 'Balance'.
I've been hunting online for ideas and inspiration. Balance could be literal (standing on one foot), or it could be figurative (being off-balance, finding a balanced view). Which will it be for me?
This image of an Inukshuk caught my eye. You see these figures all over the Canadian landscape - piles of rocks, balanced to make figures. It's a reminder that I'm home when we leave the towns and cities, and on the rocky outcrops there are silhouettes of figures and cairns - sometimes even an Inukshuk dog! Heading north of Toronto to Georgian Bay, or just like this photo, which was taken in Alberta, where I grew up and camped every summer.
It reminds me of the major balance in my life, which is that I don't live in the country I grew up in. Although I'm happy here and Australia is my home, I'm continually on balance. I'm not from here, but I have family and great friends here. I've been away from Canada for so long that I don't get the popular references or I remember things as they were 10, 12 years ago - not as they now are. I've moved internationally four times - twice as a child; twice as an adult. I balance Canada, the UK, and now Australia, which is my home.
I don't often think of myself as an immigrant, because that brings to mind questions of loss and leaving that seem final, complete, and historic - all those images of people arriving post-war at the big sheds in places like Melbourne, or Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Image from the Pier 21 museum website - they have a fantastic collection of stories and photos.
But I do think that many of us carry around multiple identities based on heritage, languages, family history, international ties and a balancing act of who we are. In my case, that's sometimes very Canadian, sometimes quite the Aussie. Sometimes not sure which will come forward until I find myself questioning things I once took for granted as the 'natural' (Canadian) way of doing things. Well, no, there are many ways to do such things - health, schools, social life, language - one is no better than the other. They all live in a constantly-shifting balance inside us.
Balance. What does it mean to you?