January 27, 2009
Silhouettes tell stories
If you haven't got a camera, paint; if you cannot paint, write.
The weekend before last, I went to the park two days in a row. On the Saturday it was achingly cold, but I didn't notice til I'd been outside at length. Regretting not bringing a camera, I put the view to memory and wished I could paint.
The fog was still on its extended visit; however, it had broken away from the shore and hovered, almost still, above the water, who knows how close to the other shore. As the sun crawled away behind trees and the horizon, it glowed against a ship's bow; reflected off Belcarra's houses and the power station up the Arm; coloured the fog. The water deemed itself a deep blue with hints of grey and purple, and as it met the fog a strong but organic line formed between the two, harmoniously, one disappearing into the other. And as the colour noticeably became fog, it moved from blue into a thick and solid but desaturated purple, then upward increasingly more pastel until it touched the sky in wisps and rolls. Behind it the sky was a pale yellow, white, eventually blue somewhere above. The fog stood out from it, blended into it, touched it and made the dark, jagged slopes in the distance disappear.
Around the curve of the inlet, another ship waited, creeping still in the fog. It had that eerie sense about it, as one might find in foggy harbours, but the detail was not lost, just faded. Its largesse made it feel close, yet the fog played with distance. A grimace washed over my serene face when a plume of dark grey smoke suddenly rose from the smokestack; so that is what goes into the air.
At the shore, three ducks I had never seen before — that is, their species was unfamiliar — darted through the water fetching and gobbling down fish. It seemed perhaps that they were vacationing from another place, and as I tend little to visit the park in the wintertime, it's possible I've always missed them. Some are here for a fleeting time before moving on. Their heads resembled that of a woodpecker, yet they were clearly able to swim underwater so it ought to have been some kind of duck. My eldest niece who joined me enjoyed watching them, and asking if such-and-such was a fish or a whale bumping out of the water; no such luck. Soon a large, gnarly tree trunk with roots and branches floated by as if a man on a wooden bed. It was perhaps the oddest thing I've ever seen afloat. She was mesmerized. I was stunned by the whole view.
Sunday we visited again, earlier in the day so as to catch the sun. Fortunately this time I brought a camera along. I don't see the colours some painters see in silhouetted tree branches but I see the shapes of them and the shapes and colours of the negative spaces between them. The water was incredibly still, and sparkled in the sunlight. Can you tell what it is that is my muse?
I am a communication designer in Vancouver, BC. Most of my writing and community activism are in the interconnected issues of public transit, local eating and food security, politics, health, environment, and sustainability in general. At heart, I'm a geek and a total treehugger. Nature, tea, good food and great company make me happy.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle