This is a thing I was taught to do long ago by mother. Without fail, after supper, summer, spring, fall and winter, out she would go for a walk when we were at the cottage. Now that I make that statement, it sounds like I was raised in privilege, and it was one. But it was the privilege of the common working class household of the 1970’s when a working Dad could raise a family of three, support a homemaking wife and own a beautiful second property on the rocky shore of a Canadian lake.
So while it was only on weekends, I still feel like I did most of my growing and learning in the woods and walking at night was one of those special things that I did that made my family different from all others. Other kids didn’t do this, and I knew that, because, when I walked with them, they always had their flashlights on, but I learned to walk in the dark, the absolute dark, navigating by the stars and in their absence by the silent black fingers of treetops stretching into a slate black sky. Sometimes there was moonlight, gleaming through like sunlight reflected off pearls underwater. And sometimes, when wind tore holes in the cloth of the clouds, the moon would shine so bright I could see the colours in my coat and the world looked like high noon in fairy land. Walking at night is one of those transgressive activities, a thing that most people do not do. It is considered risky and odd although, in the woods, not much actually changes. I was always aware of that, even after almost colliding a few times with strangers who were also walking at night it is still one of those activities that ‘make me feel special’. Maybe this is why, I keep coming back to the theme in my art over and over again. This is yet another version, of many (some of you saw a digitally altered version in a Christmas card, and some may have seen another one entirely on Etsy & Facebook). This one is just another kick at the can. One day, maybe, I’ll get it just right.
Happy New Year! Good health, good cheer, live well and rightly. See you next year…
PS. Oooh oooh oooh! In case you missed my tweet. I heard wolves howling a few nights back. While I know that most coyotes in this area are half wolf hybrids, and have heard plenty of evidence thereof, the howling I heard last had the pure long notes of the wolf. It was spine tingly shock and awe and of course I howled back and only received a sore throat for my trouble (I suppose answering a stupid human was beneath them). On all of my camping trips I always hope against hope to hear the wolf howl, and instead, I get to hear it on one of my regular jaunts through the York Regional Forest. If the raven is back, it’s perfectly feasible that wolf has wandered south also.
Image: 8”x10” mixed media, coloured pencil on watercolour, fine sand, and acrylic gel medium.
Below, Left, & Middle: ACEO’s in inks, and watersoluble pencils, Right: mixed media sand, watercolour, & pencils (this one was digitized into the christmas card). All scenes from Hollidge Tract.