From a literary salon chez des amis, I walked away with a phrase in my head from Diane Enns. I mangled it a bit when I replayed it “consolation of squirrels” when it was “commiseration of squirrels”.
Endowing squirrels with human sentiments enables Dickinson to show them as ideal counterparts, which in turn allows her to explore issues such as loss, the need for companionship, and loneliness. In Poem 131, in which the coming of autumn causes the feeling of an acute sense of loss, the speaker finds some comfort in the possibility that “a Squirrel may remain – / My sentiments to share” (P62, no. 131, 13-14). In the squirrel, the poet finds solace; the squirrel is not just any companion, but one capable of commiseration. Correspondingly, Dickinson herself is able to sympathize with the squirrel […]
“Squirrels” entry by Jan Michelle Andres in All Things Dickinson: An Encyclopedia of Emily Dickinson’s World edited by Wendy Martin.
Purely by the signifier “squirrel” (and the residue of “commiseration”) am I led to the multi-layered opera / film Fig Trees (Libretto: John Greyson, Music: David Wall) which features an albino squirrel modelled after those creatures that inhabited the CAMH property at Queen and Ossington (which also lent their likeness as logo of a caffeine dispensary as well as White Squirrel Way). The opera Fig Trees began life as an installation at the Oakville Galleries (Exhibition dates : 19 Nov. 2003 – 25 Jan. 2004) and a handsome catalogue with accompanying soundtrack has been produced. The squirrel doesn’t appear to have been a figure in the video installation at the Oakville Galleries — it of course appears in the 2009 film.
AIDS + Activism + Africa
So we squirrel away.
And so for day 1278