I know that after spending so much time on trains, in subways, in the hustle and bustle of cities, I often get the urge to get away from it all and I daydream about becoming a hermit deep in the woods somewhere.
Then I remember the mosquitoes...
From Animal Effigy:
Several years ago, I listened to George Elliott Clarke speak about the romance that Canadian writers have with woodlands and the North. “We all want to be couriers du bois,” he said, “Yet most of us live in cities.” He was right.
Most of my writing incorporates the natural world, yet I live in the city. While I was born in Toronto, I was not raised here. My father, a true outdoorsman–a man who looks more comfortable sitting in a disintegrating blind in a marsh than in a plush recliner–took me into the woods and onto the water at every opportunity.
History, aside, I now live in downtown Toronto. I spend 24 hours a day amid concrete, skyscrapers, and hot dog vendors. There are no silver perch in the sewers, no stags outside the Royal Ontario Museum, and no wood ducks nesting in Queen’s Park.
In an effort to get back to the city, I started a project, Animal Effigy, so that I could document the unnatural world I now live in. While we have physically distanced ourselves from the flora and fauna that make up our Canadian psyche, our cities are populated with thousands of animal effigies. We’ve razed the earth, yet we repopulate it with animal effigies. It seems that we wish to bring nature—muted and defanged—back to us.More here.