graytuft origins

When I finally found the energy to shift from watching a tree grow, I began reading Diane Ackerman’s “A Slender Thread”. The story threaded crisis line work and watching squirrels.  It was wonderfully written and sparkled in my dulled mind.  As I journeyed through this book I too began to watch the squirrels in my backyard. They played at the base of that same tree I watched grow. The squirrels recognized me and one earned the name Graytuft. The name matched the extra tufts of hair on Graytuft’s ears.  It also matched the softness in sound I needed, as my ears were already strained from tinnitus.

While watching I noted squirrels are preyed on, yet incredibly resilient and resourceful. When I dig deep inside myself it is the squirrel energy that provides what I need. I am forever grateful to Graytuft and the generations after, including Chubby Mary and the Flying Bambinos, who brought their children to this tree. The children are now the adults, and they visit when I walk outside – always keeping a safe distance.

To my reader friends consider sifting through past posts and while you do note each post is a moment of fog translated into a document of beauty. That is what life is, moments of fog which when caught, sparkle off a dragonfly’s wing and become opportunities. We commonly call those moments of fog “crisis” or “trauma” but I prefer to change my focus and find the sparkle highlighting dragon fly wings to drama.


Link to “Artist Intent”


6 thoughts on “graytuft origins

  1. To be perfectly honest I was not sure what to expect when you told me you were an artist, and I am duly impressed and a little humbled. You have a wonderful eye for composition and space and colour. Your pieces are highly evocative even if, I believe, a viewer was not aware of where they might come from, and that is what a work of art needs to be.

    I read something once that said, roughly, that an artist has their vision, creates their work, but it doesn’t become art until a viewer sees it and changes it completely.

    Well done, you.


  2. Hello,

    I just wanted to connect with you and learn more about your story. I’d also love to hear about how you and your pup connected. I’m always so amazed at the gifts animals can bring into people’s lives.

    Warm wishes,


    1. Hello there. It has taken a bit to respond. Hope you are well.

      You have prompted me to write Chars story. I’ll send it when done. Basically Char was supposed to be a breeder dog. She won the top prizes and was the granddaughter of the breeders all time favourite dog.

      When I went to see them (after a very unfortunate and sudden decision to put down the other dog training to be my service dog) I went and saw the breeder.

      The other dog was Chip and he introduced me to someone connected to the breeder so she did his work well before passing on.

      So I called the breeder and she told me my timing was fortuitous. She said she had one pregnant with a likely extra unclaimed puppy and one unconfirmed pregnancy. I was to have a pup in a few short weeks! When I met the adult herd of eight Leonbergers I fell to the floor of a very dirty dog room and they swarmed me. Char sat quiet behind me and scratched my back, twice. I remembered her and desperately wanted her, not a puppy.

      On the drive home the pain in my back went away. It was an old injury location from a workplace incident where a guy tried to kill me (but that’s another story).

      I wrote the breeder and said Char was a healer (no spelling error ). The breeder wrote back two days later and said “I hate you and my dog ” Char wants to be with you. That is how Char came to me. I send regular updates to the breeder and we are all better for it.

      Surprisingly I decided to do the one finger type and send you the Coles note of the story.

      Be well. J


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