I remember walking through the trail at Skinner’s Bluff one fine September day, so happy to be breathing in the beauty and wilderness there that clock-time ceased to exist.
Dusk came and I was still hours away from where I’d parked. Since the forest there stretches for 2000 acres, my only safe option was to spend the night somewhere close to the trail and make my way back in the morning light, lest I wander off-trail in the dark and get lost. This was just fine with me – permission to sleep in the forest on a warm, late-summer night? Yes please.
I nosed around the trail until I found a deep mossy place where the limestone was flat-topped and lined with crevices. I just sat, then lay there under the twilight oaks and maples, listening to the birds sing the sun down, watching rich colour seep away into many-toned grey. It was warm and smelled like rich earth – I had nowhere else to be, no one to report to, I was completely at peace.
There was a point at which it became so dark that I could not see my hand 6 inches in front of my face. I closed my eyes and let the night sounds whisper me to sleep. A most profoundly restful night, unlike any other before or since.
Decades later I can imagine myself back to that bed when I need to ease up on my stress pedal.
This is one of those times – I find myself seeking the negative space around work.
This is not easy – these times for me are an enormous canvas full of tasks – each its own image, each a local colour. If I blur my vision I see busy: texture and contrast and detail layered over another surface stuffed with older but similar images, which obscures yet another layer. Each goal and its’ tasks, job and its’ timelines has its own curve, its own insistence upon priority. A Pollock but with much less grace.
From a distance all of it becomes less fragmented, less like wallpaper, and more like a background for one simple image. I’ll hold onto that thought. Perhaps, in-between things I will stretch my huge canvases so they’re ready for the epiphany that will come.
This post has taken a day to write, bit by bit.
In between the writing bits I’ve made 30 placemats, moved a dresser from country to town, visited briefly with dear friends, started the design of a short intermediate course in art, built five sets of notecards, done some necessary administration, annoyed my daughter (lovingly) and consumed 1.5 litres of blueberry juice.