Rocking Chair, 2021

HD Experimental Video + Photos

This is my grandmother’s rocking chair.

She was a settler. Frances Marie Evans. Born in 1907, of Norweigan descent, she moved from North Dakota to Southern Alberta as a child. She always said her father tricked them, showing them photos of mountain scenery, while they landed on a dust-bowl prairie. She was of the Depression, saving food, reusing, recycling before the word was popular. I remember how she mended her nylons and dried out her bags to re-use. I now do the same (with the bags, not the nylons), and think of her when I compost.

I am a settler too. As a white person of European descent on these unceded lands. But also to Gabriola Island, of Snunéymuxw First Nation where this film is located.

The miner in this song is also a settler. From the gold rush of 1849. His daughter Clementine sounded like an interesting person. One of the things I’m most proud of as a parent is that I made myself learn all the lyrics to the songs I wanted to sing to my babies. I could hum tunes and the occasional lyric, but only knew a fraction of the songs. It was hard to learn all the lyrics, and I would laugh at the depressing stories. My son wouldn’t let me sing ‘Clementine’ after awhile, because he said it made him sad. (Who knew there were so many deaths and a necrophiliac element to ‘Oh my darling Clementine?')

Rocking is an important part of being a parent. The rocking chair to sit in. The rock one automatically starts to sway into when one holds a baby. The rocking between extreme emotions of love and rage at your child. But you remember the feeling of rocking. And the deep gaze into the far distant horizon. Even if that horizon is the edge of your bed.

Experimental video in progress...