Adam’s River Salmon Run 2018

I headed out on the ninth of October on a bad-weather day, first to meet up with friends and next, to drive early-morning to the Adam’s River, north west of Sorrento in British Columbia.  Days have passed and I’ve been unable to sit down in order to write a post.  I’ve asked myself, ‘Why the hesitation?’  To some degree, I feel like my words can never contain the powerful meaning this experience had for me.  While the numbers of returning Sockeye did not match predictions at the time, given that 2018 is a ‘bumper’ year, it didn’t matter to me.  I have spent half of my lifetime wanting to be a witness to this journey and with all that is impacting various species globally in the present, I jumped at the chance to go.

I wish to contain the archive of this experience on my blog.  However, I will note right from the beginning, that there are no words for the experience of standing on rounded river stones and looking out to see the brilliant red backbones of so many fish, struggling against current, with an instinct that insists somehow that they must go home.

To begin…a short video.

On the evening before my firstborn’s wedding day, family members gathered in my studio…not all at once, but a few at a time.  My brother Cliff owns and operates a salmon charter business out of Comox, British Columbia.  His company is called Cliff’s Chinook Charters.  More than anyone, he has taught me about salmon populations and what variables contribute to a healthy population.

My brother wrote a piece that he called, The Salmon’s Plight onto my studio wall.  These words have been embedded in a few different paintings over the years since and every time I read them, I cry a little…for the memory of the salmon and for the memory of my brother.  Given our family’s military history, we live in every part of our great nation.  I miss my brother very much.

IMG_6807.JPG

I was blessed to ride along with Cliff and catch a couple of fish with him, my father and my daughter.  It goes down as one of the most beautiful times of my life.

 

 

 

Bad road conditions took us all the way to Lake Louise and then it seemed that the skies opened up and the mountains became crisp against a light grey sky.  Gratefully, Pat shared oatmeal cookies that were so buttery that they melted in my mouth. After a stop in Golden to enjoy our packed lunch of turkey sandwiches and garden carrots, we were off, on the last leg of the journey.

We headed immediately for the Adam’s River Salmon run.

Adam's River

At this point, I’ve decided to post some photographs…if I write anything at all, it will be heartfelt.  Years ago, having completed a 30 day Outward Bound course, I accepted myself as the artist in the group…that person who was taking in the sensory experiences, but not necessarily bound to the physical achievements and the orienteering.  My head was in the clouds.  Consistent to that, I was completely plugged in to this earthy, fishy, visual encounter with these amazing salmon during their upward surge.

I highly recommend CLICKING on some of the images of the salmon…they are just so absolutely beautiful…powerful…mesmerizing.

 

 

 

Pacific Salmon

We stayed that night in a local Bed and Breakfast in Chase.  I highly recommend the Sunny Shuswap B & B.  This was breakfast!

IMG_6446IMG_6447IMG_6449

We checked out and headed right back to the Adam’s River.

 

 

 

 

Poems to follow…I need to head out with Max.  I am blessed for having had the opportunity to see the salmon run 2018. Grateful.

 

 

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury: Chapter 21

OH!  To have had an audio tape!  I used to make my own tapes.  I read aloud late at night, staying slightly ahead of the students.  Dandelion Wine is my favourite book.  Take a listen, if you have 9 hours to spend, just sitting still, or while you’re working in your studio, just listen.  You will learn to take pause, if you let this book’s lessons sink through the tough shell that has become your busy life and settle on your heart.

This post is about Chapter 21 and Douglas’s loss of his dear friend, John Huff.  I guess if you are the daughter of a military man, this might even mean more.

Taking your time and noticing is what this post is all about.  As one pours on the years, one realizes that in order to slow things down, one needs to start noticing.

I was hot and sweaty and cleaning out the paint buckets that I had used with grade ones, painting that day, when I heard my cell phone ding.

IMG_7742Painting Kites

My friend, Michael, had sent a text that he’d like to drop by.  I thought immediately that we might go to the pond, with Max, and enjoy what was left of the beautiful day.  I rushed, swirling the pink water out of brushes and buckets, returned my tools to the storage closet and was out and on my way.

Mike was sitting on the steps when I arrived and Max’s nose was lifted, sniffing against the window.

A quick change into play clothes and we were off to the pond!  Michael patiently observed the life and light of the water, the clouds and the life surrounding this special place.  It was so nice to have a witness to Frank’s Flats and the place that I know so well.

IMG_7776IMG_7766IMG_7749

Michael is always taking amazing photographs, but rarely appears in any of them.  I like that he looks out at the world!  No selfies for this guy!  So, on this outing, I would be witness to his life!

We enjoyed the explorations of baby coots. I took my photo of the bush. And then we were on our way for the next adventure.  Some time ago, I had seen one remarkable photograph on Michael’s social media archive.  He told me that it was taken at McKinnon’s Flats.  I asked if ever he went back, would I be able to join him?  This was the day.  Here’s the photograph that inspired the request!

Michael Collette Mackinnon's flats

Photo Credit: Michael Colette

I didn’t stay left on 22X and so we ended up going north on Stoney Trail.  That was okay!  Meant to be!  We began our slow enjoyable zig zag across the rural landscape, making our way, with ease, back south to McKinnon’s Flats.  I saw a bird I had never seen!  And the light and wonder of it all was very enjoyable.

The sandpiper…

IMG_7793

IMG_7806IMG_7801

Michael’s photograph….from this location…truly captured the magic!

Michael Collette 2

Photo Credit: Michael Collette

The panorama view that opened up as we began our descent into the valley, at river’s edge, was spectacular.  Next time, I will document that.  It took my breath away.

Once at the river’s edge, Michael pulled out our picnic food.  A refreshing potato salad filled with the flavours of fresh veg and lovely dressing…and an icy cold hibiscus drink, so refreshing!  Max observed, but was hungry to be free of his leash and to explore the water’s edge.  It wasn’t long until I did just that.

IMG_7839IMG_7838IMG_7836IMG_7834IMG_7819IMG_7815IMG_7810

The stretch of walk we took, saw zillions of little moths lighting up the already-electric air.  We chatted about photography and light and the sky the entire way.  Out of nowhere about 75 striking white pelicans, hung on the air just above our heads.  I grabbed my camera and snapped this wee instant as a documentation of the memory, that in no way, captures the intensity of the moment.  We decided, standing still above the river, that this moment was meant just for the two of us…two good friends enjoying evening light.

IMG_7827

In order to really gather up my life, I need to do this.  Slow down.  Watch light.  Treasure friendship, my children, my family.  Listen to music.  Make art. Write.

I am grateful for the inspired invitation to go for a Sunday drive on Friday.  Everything that I had planned for the evening, went out the window.  And it was exactly as it should be.  My life is a blessed life.

Slow down

 

Big Fish Landing in my Bucket List

Big Fish

Poser…42 Market Street, North Bay, Ontario with his 14 pound lake trout!

I’ve always wanted to fish with my Dad.  I remember going out a few times with him and my brothers, trying to bait a hook…that sort of thing, but no HUGE memory of a fishing experience.  Fishing with Cliff, Dad and Cayley in August exceeded all of my dreams.  A beautiful August day and we headed out to Kitty Coleman.

P1180502I highly recommend Cliff’s Chinook Charters for an experience that you will not soon forget.  Bring people you love…it is an awesome experience to share with one another!  And women…make it a ladie’s event.  You can do this thing!

P1180440

A perfect day!

 

If you have time, watch this wee video diddy…it was a super nightmare to try to upload.  And yes, I agree…I’d like music on the final bits from the word ‘blessing’ as well…but heck if I could figure out how to do that!  And don’t under ANY circumstances, point out the bracket following the word magic on the final slide!!

 

 

Saying Good-bye to Ted

So many hearts speaking to hearts…

Yesterday saw us gathering at Ted Godwin’s memorial.  What a beautiful sharing of thoughts, memories, stories and music.  I hadn’t ever attended a funereal event where folk broke out into applause again and again or where the attendants had to graciously hint that we should eventually leave…artists, art dealers, writers, poets, musicians, AA supporters and friends all moving from the program into a reconnection-reception with one another….Ted being the common thread to all.  His life richly blessed all of us.  Highlights for me…standing before a beautiful polished urn…placed visually in Ted’s own Bow River…water reflections seeming to move as I gazed upon the composition.  The painting, something like this one.

Ted_Godwin_Days_End_on_Moab_1_1999_360On either side of the painting, sprays of white flowers and greenery…a continuation of the colour story that felt so much like our dear Ted.  To the left, a photograph of Ted from younger days, the fisherman by his river…a moving black and white photograph that told us the story of his love of that particular landscape…in his gesture and in his eyes.

Recitations of very important poetry…

Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson

Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me;
“Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.”

Testimonies of friends…prayers…the most chilling, for me, when Fred Williams opened up to all of us the opportunity to speak the names of those we had lost and loved…one name at a time, spoken…over and over the voices rose.  I felt tears stream down my cheeks for the absolute unity we all felt around this moment.

I was sitting next to an artist-friend who has certainly inspired me over the years, Bill Duma.  At the conclusion of his testimony, he read a quote from Ted’s own Lower Bow: A Celebration of Wilderness, Art and Fishing.  At this, I felt chills go down my spine.

“Standing in the water and casting to a stir at twilight in late fall, I feel a gentle sadness in knowing that it might be the last fish and last day of the season.  With a sniff of winter in the air, there is a certain finality to trips at this time of the year.  All the rhythms of nature seem attended to change and the coming of the quiet white time.  With nature putting on such a flamboyant show before winter’s slumber, one can’t help being swept up in the drama of the moment.”

Thank you, Bill.

Bill Duma Painting

Bill Duma Painting

A rich collection of pieces by Jazz musicians, Eric Friedenberg, Al Muirhead, Bob Erlendson, Kai Poscente, Phil Dwyer and Brian Buchanan was rich and demonstrated clearly, another big love of Ted Godwin’s.

Time shared with friends was so special to each of us afterwards, I’m certain of it.  Doug MacLean stopped over for a visit.  His advice and his connection early in my painting, was invaluable to me. His offerings to the art community in Calgary from the early days at the CAG and to its new location on the Stephen Avenue Mall…and finally, his continued presence now in Canmore, can not be qualified.  Doug knows his art history…gives a huge context to Canadian art and his knowledge of art history surpassed most.  It was good of him to share a visit with me after all of these years.  I met Ted through Doug…just as I met John Snow and Peter von Tiesenhausen.  I treasure you, dear friend.

Visits with Ken Christopher, Katie Ohe, Verna Reid, Bill Duma and you, Denise and Elise, were so special.  And Fred…we were blessed by your role as presider!

My Invitation to Ted's Lower Bow exhibit at CAG

My Invitation to Ted’s Lower Bow exhibit at CAG

Blue Rock...my own work painted after a horse packing trip.  I first made the acquaintance of Ken Christopher on this trip.

Blue Rock…my own work painted after a horse packing trip. I first made the acquaintance of Ken Christopher on this trip.

My treasured copy of The Lower Bow.

My treasured copy of The Lower Bow.

Fish Fry

Johnny With His Catch

Diane is really tanned!  She told Mom, Dad and me that she’s been out in the boat fishing every day for hours the last while.  She explained that the water in the Bay is so warm, the bass aren’t any good for eating and that’s what she caught on her most recent trip out.  She’s been bringing Dad pickerel for his freezer and the night before last, Dad coated the fillets with bread crumbs, salt and pepper after a milk bath and were they ever beautiful!

The men in my family have been fishing enthusiasts for generations!  I love it when I find the older photos and remember the times that either my grandfather, my Dad or my brothers came home with nice fish that we could eat.  This Saturday afternoon, we will be celebrating my Dad’s 80th birthday.  I think these are some of my favourite photo-memories!

Grandpa Moors in his Guiding Days

My brothers and their boys have some pretty amazing photo moments as well, but this is a place for the classics, given that I have been captivated with nostalgia the last while.

Early Dad

And finally…cool Dad and the 14 lb. lake trout that we still all talk about!

Big Fish!