September 14, 2008


My own Inukshuk
Originally uploaded by Claude@Munich
I'm starting to work on the next month's theme for Posted Stitches. Before the end of this month, I need to make a small quilt (10'x10") on the theme of 'Balance'.

(Blogger keeps dropping this image credit: My own Inukshuk originally uploaded by Claude@Munich)

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?

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