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  • Writer's pictureErin Clark

International Wheelchair Day 2022

It's international wheelchair day. Having a wheelchair is a privilege and a pleasure. Today I am thinking of people who need wheelchairs and can't get them, and people who have wheelchairs and need accessibility to accommodate them. I am thinking, constantly, of Ukraine. I donated to fight for right that supports Ukrainians with disabilities with resources as they shelter. There is a link tree with further resources for disabled Ukrainians.

In honour of the day I made you this short film. It was a balm to spend the time today to make it, I hope it is soothing to watch. There is no particular message, just pure, sensory wheelchair-summer-nature-pleasure. Filmed when I was in Nova Scotia with my friend Catherine last fall. We like our wheelchairs and we like each other in our wheelchairs and we very much like being in nature. Catherine, as usual, had her phone set up on her wheelchair. I, as usual, had my phone in a tripod. We filmed each other.

We roll off into the weeds, we pose, the sunlight glints off our alloys. the sunlight shines on our skin. the sunlight makes the petals of the black eyed Susans glow as if suns themselves. The mechanical viscera of Catherine's electric chair –like vital organs coiled along her frame– is more dense than the surrounding thicket. I wear a silk nightgown, and the rubber of my wheels. My arms, my legs, my feet are bare. Our wheels crunch stones and crack the dry wild thyme as we move. Catherine clicks and whirs shifting gears and accessing her multi-directional tilt. And, birds and bugs whir and buzz in concert. I light a fire in the chiminea because I think the flame and smoke will be picturesque as I pose in the haze on the mound behind it. Once I'm up there, I want to see if I can go around, rolling through the uncut grasses. Catherine sits on the path where I will exit and waits, I squeal when spider webs and their builders coat my bare legs and arms. I discover the terrain as I go. I play with my hair as I ponder a hidden steep, unknown depth, then maneuver and Catherine tilts up and down and records, clouds scroll.

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