Thursday, December 31, 2009

Walking At Night


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.



Jennifer Rose said...

sadly can't go walking at night here :/ too many idiots walking around (and potholes :p) I could go walking at night in ontario, and it is something people should do more but then I think if more people did go walking at night, the feelings might be different. I find it very peaceful and that i could hear more in the dark then i could during the day.

that is great you heard a wolf howling, its one of those sounds that i love hearing in the wild. proves they still exists and brings back memories of camping up north.

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Last night was a beautiful night and the full (blue) moon popped out from time to time between snowflakes. How wonderful about the wolves!!

I love to walk at night. The police around here find it strange! LOL! Happy New Year! Gotta get my new year's post up today... :)

kaslkaos said...

Jennifer, sorry to hear that. It does sound like you don't live in the best of neighbourhoods. And you're right, if the woods were full of night walkers, it would loose some of its magic, especially if they all keep their headlamps on.
Michelle, not surprised to hear you walk at night; you've done some effective night scenes that speak of actual experience.
Funny, when I posted this, I didn't realize how apt the full moon in the image was. I did not do this on purpose!
Happy New Year.

Jenny said...

Being out at night in the woods or in the country is something that seemed to happen more often when I was a child. (I guess protective parents now would be horrified.) I can remember dark summer evenings at the side of a pond, listening to all the sounds of frogs and insects. And seeing fireflies! Sometimes I am out before dawn when hiking, but usually with a headlamp on a long trek that needs more than daylight hours. Actually, it's kind of nice to see the headlamps of my companions bobbing along in a kind of torch procession.

kaslkaos said...

Jenny, last year camping I saw hikers walking out in the dark of the morning. With their bear bells jingling, it was like watching the fairies on procession.
And oh my, I miss those fireflies. I walk at night now only because it gets dark early in winter, but in summer I'm in bed before dark. I remember those fireflies, such magic. That's a beautiful passage you wrote, thanks for the memories.

Chrissy said...

I go walking at night sometimes but usually up the top of the hermitage here in bridgnorth. Andy makes me take my cellphone which is probably wise. I am ok as long as my eyes adjust and I can see where I am putting my feet...
Occasionly I do think it can be quite eerie, tis all that rustling!
Howling wolves would perhaps add to the eeriness ;-)


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