Spirit of the Leaf

I was working on a 9″ x 12″ scratchboard drawing that became very complex and regularly entailed long periods of contemplation before knowing how to proceed. Earlier this week I decided to take out a small scratchboard–5″ x 7″–to take a break from the larger image. This is what I came up with. It followed from some of the fanciful drawings I’ve been doing in the evenings as my husband and I listen to audio books. After listening to the entire Anna Karenina (38 hours!) that we’d both previously read, we have returned to mysteries. We got a great recommendation for Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano series that, happily, is available through our library system.

Spirit of the Leaf–5″ x 7″ Scratchboard Drawing © Lily S. May, 2021

*You can also see some of my work at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/artsofmay/ *


At the Necropolis

Last Saturday I went for a spring walk in a cemetery in a part of Toronto called Cabbagetown. The necropolis, which I had never walked through before, was established in 1850. It’s a large tree filled space with the graves of many people, some with monuments and others with simpler headstones and ground plaques. What first drew me to the cemetery was a large flowering magnolia at the gates. Inside, the birds were calling and singing in the trees. It was a peaceful setting that other people were also drawn to walking in, but with plenty of space for the distance needed these days. I thought of death as the backdrop to this time of pandemic and also as a companion of sorts that I’ve had for many years.

May 1, 2021, photo by Lily S. May

Under large trees, I sometimes saw writing on the stones that had been worn by years of rain and snow and was hardly decipherable. Some stones had lichen growing on them, others were broken through time.

May 1, 2021, photo by Lily S. May
May 1, 2021, photo by Lily S. May

Two graves had the most emotional impact on me. The first was that of a young man named Edwin Robertson. He was a soldier who died in 1943 during World War II at the age of 30.

May 1, 2021, photo by Lily S. May

The second was of a public figure, a politician I hadn’t known was buried there. Part of his monument was a sculpture of his head and chest that was immediately recognizable. His name was Jack Layton and he was the head of the social democratic party, the NDP. He had been my member of parliament for years. He died at 61 of cancer soon after winning the most seats his party had ever won in our Parliament.

May 1, 2021, photo by Lily S. May

I felt saddened by these losses–that of a young man in war and a political leader who may have, in time, brought more progressive change to Canada.

As I continued walking around, I became interested in seeing if religious symbols, other than Christian ones, were present. I did come across two or three plaques with symbols of Judaism. Being a Jew myself, I had wondered if any Jews had been buried at the necropolis. I also saw graves with Asian names on them, but was unable to understand the writing and whether it was of a religious nature. There were also stones without religious symbols at all.

My walk and contemplation of life and death was accompanied throughout by the birds–robins, chickadees, two ravens and a blue jay plus other birds that I didn’t catch glimpses of and whose songs I don’t know. As always, those animals helped me on my way.

May 1, 2021, photo by Lily S. May
drawing, Writing

The Care of Latent Kittens 7

The Care of Latent Kittens story arose from a dream I had years ago. That story continues here, nearing the end of the sketchbook of writing and line drawings. To read about the dream and what led to this series, go to The Care of Latent Kittens. If you’ve missed any posts, you can see them in the posts following that initial one.

To be continued in post 8, the last of this series….

drawing, Writing

The Care of Latent Kittens 6

Here are sketchbook pages 26 through 30 in the story that arose from a dream I had years ago. There are 44 sketchbook pages in all. To see the background of the writing and sketches, go to The Care of Latent Kittens. From there, you can look through the posts that follow it, if you’ve missed any of the story.

To be continued…

drawing, Writing

The Care of Latent Kittens 5

Here’s the fifth post in this series of sketchbook drawings and words about the Care of Latent Kitten course of study. For background and the beginning of the story go to The Care of Latent Kittens. You can then scroll through the next few posts if you’ve missed any of them til you arrive here.

To be continued… We’re now at page 25 of the 44 sketchbook pages.

drawing, Writing

The Care of Latent Kittens 4

The story continues. To get to the beginning where I also tell what led to the writing and drawing, go to: The Care of Latent Kittens. The 2nd and 3rd posts in the series are: The Care of Latent Kittens 2 and The Care of Latent Kittens 3.

More pages to come!….

drawing, Writing

The Care of Latent Kittens

In 2010 or so, a dream I had caught my imagination to such a degree that I spent several years writing stories about it. That dream, that I’ve only referred to in one or two previous posts, was this:

I saw a notice attached to a tree trunk at the edge of a woods. The notice listed two courses being offered, one of which I was eager to sign up for because I’d always wanted to learn to work with animals. The course was called “The Care of Latent Kittens.”

I decided to write as spontaneously as I could to see what the course might be about. I also decided that latent kittens would be an actual living, known animal that didn’t need an explanation, much as, say, an elephant or whale would be known. And they would not be young cats.

I often found myself writing in a somewhat formal voice, that of one of the professors offering the course. Her voice was humorous to me though the topic was and remains serious–attempts to save endangered animals and to counteract the destruction of life by human caused global warming.

A few years ago, I took the first chapter of this saga and drew the words and images with felt pens in a small sketchbook. I’m going to post the 44 pages in that sketchbook over the next while.

To be continued…..