As I walked the Majahual shore I
stopped short before the old cypress dugout. Patched on sides, ends, and
bottom with wood, tin, leather, even rubber, it spoke to me of life and
spirit. Clearly the canoe had been a local fisherman's livelihood,
relinquished only after many years of patching and repairs.
awestruck by the strength of determination revealed in the crude repairs
that had kept it afloat so long. Someone labored with it and on it,
probably for a lifetime--had patched its leaks and refused to discard it.
I could see every mark made by the tool, every crack that ran through it,
making powerfully visible the owner's determination and resourcefulness in
keeping the canoe afloat.
The anonymous Mexican fisherman's
determination made this broken vessel an icon of hope to me. Because it
was an emotionally and spiritually difficult time in my life, I felt like
I was looking at myself: at my life, but also at my hope. I would not give
up on becoming whole again. I wanted to believe that the canoe had not
been washed up on shore, but had been left because its owner was finishing
a new canoe. That all the work spent keeping this old one afloat was well
spent and led to the ability to start again.
I have painted and drawn
the canoe in my artwork since the encounter and continue to do so. These
paintings are an attempt to recreate the raw message of determination and
survival I saw that day.
Now, I am embarking on a new relationship with
the broken vessel. After being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, it
is time to believe in building a NEW vessel. As I visualize my own
healing, physically and spiritually, I am looking for help. My goal is to
find someone experienced in the process of creating a dugout canoe near
Mahahual and to document its creation. Any information that could help me
find such rescources for this project is much appreciated!