Letter to Future Artists in Residence at Fool's Paradise

A quick note to welcome you to Fool's Paradise. I had the immense pleasure and privilege of being the first artist in residence to live and work at Doris McCarthy's Fool's Paradise. When I moved in on January 7, I didn't expect what was to come. I knew that the space held great gravitas and connection for Doris McCarthy. I met some of her long time friends when I first arrived, anticipating all that would transpire over the weeks to come.

I learned of Doris' love for Canada, for nature, for the creatures, and the land. I learned about her "get the job done" attitude and personality. I visited the church where she attended most of her life, saw the work she had gifted to the church, and heard more about her contributions to the community artistically and as a person. Everywhere I went I was greeted by people who talked about how Doris impacted her life.

You can say that, I felt that everything was going to flow effortlessly when I arrived. I learned quickly that it would take more than a fleeting intention or desire to make work in a natural retreat, overlooking the bluffs, with the beautiful sunrise glowing with it's warmth in the deep of winter. I felt that I could just sit all day and ponder, reflect, and take in the winter. It's the first time I've lived somewhere where winter would take a hold of my soul. We have a perception that winter is still, asleep. What I learned was the contrary. I realize now how winter is alive, more than we know. On the outside - the plants movements in the wind, the graceful deer, the rising and shifting sun across the horizon, the shimmering waves of Lake Ontario, the red cardinal flying across the white carpeted land, the birds and even the blowing snow, encircling the edge of the cliff. While underground full of life, the roots, the rich soil gathering, collecting, storing up, and preparing for the spring to come.

My time at Fool's Paradise took me on a winter journey - one with nature, preparing for what was to come. Fool's Paradise was for me a gathering of thoughts, ideas and inner strength. The silence of the winter bluffs, getting dark early in the day spoke louder than I had imagined. When they say silence is deafening, I know it. My inspiration for musical composition comes often from the world around me...from the beeping cars, the dinging call of the subway announcement, the drone of a light humming, a devotional tune at the prayer hall or even a song I hear on the radio. At Fool's Paradise, the inspiration had to come from within. The sound of nature, the water, the rising sun not what I hear with my ears, but what is inside...the sound of that which is silent.

And so....that is my gift from Fool's Paradise. Among so much else that I cannot describe, I leave you with this prayer that indeed you find a connection with Doris and the land in the way that resonates with you most. I also leave you some photos of my winter journey at Fool's Paradise. I send you all my best and warmest wishes that you feel your work blossom with the air of any season you find yourself there. We are so lucky to be witnessing the beautiful transitions and blooming of the earth through this legacy of Doris McCarthy.

One day we shall meet, and reflect together I hope on our time at Fool's Paradise.

With that I sign off, sharing with you the grace and beauty of all that is Fool's Paradise.

Most sincerely,

Hussein


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