Here at Birds and Words we love birds, books, coffee, elegant sentences, red clogs, Tilley Hats, Carl Zeiss, puffins in Iceland, Rothko paintings, Bach preludes and fugues, among many other things. But if I had to narrow things down to one all encompassing favorite thing ever, it would be mail. Nothing pleases us here at Birds and Words more than letters and packages (and we respond to packages with thank you notes, promptly; it’s one of our talents, though the need for such talents is a little retro, I’m afraid).

Yesterday I came home to find a fabulous package awaiting me, and the package contained my second favorite thing on earth: note cards!

Notecards of Owls by artists from Cape Dorset, otherwise known as the capital of Inuit art! Here is my favorite image, Owls in Moonlight, by Ningeokuluk Teevee, an artist I look forward to getting to know better. I love the three owls in one — almost like Russian nesting dolls — and how each bird has a distinct personality, conveyed mainly through its eyes, coloring, and peculiar nocturnal glow. At the same time, there’s an something mysterious, almost sinister, wafting through the painting. And if you’ve ever seen an owl — that fierce, stealthy, silent flier — that’s exactly how the experience feels: otherworldly, miraculous and a touch forbidding.

A lovely unexpected surprise.

On a somewhat unrelated note, if you happen to live in Toronto, don’t miss the Picasso exhibit at the AGO. The exhibit covers the progression of his art over seven decades. What struck me this time was the raw energy in Picasso’s work. The fearless enthusiasm for seeing the world from new perspectives, new dimensions, new angles. The elemental, pulsating, yet childlike creative energy. The exhibit surprised me at every turn. Here’s a taste:

Wounded Bird and Cat, 1939

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