Thursday, March 10, 2011

As winter creeps into March....

The deluge froze into a mountain of snow that accumulated, half melted re-froze, solidified into an ice sheet and then the snow fell again
My challenge – with artwork in tow.  Was to fly roughly 1000 km south in a  de Havilland Canada Dash 8 300 series turbo prop that was probably manufactured only slightly after I was born.  The way it works up here in the wet northern coast is that in the absence of any flat land on the island on which I live, it was necessary for those folks building the airport to place the runway on a neighbouring island ..  accessible only by ferry or water taxi.   And so on this auspicious morning I boarded the bus, that creaks and bounces and just generally feels like something used by a prison to haul inmates  -  it leaves from the hotel down town,  almost 3 hours before the flight is scheduled to depart,  and it takes luggage and passengers across on the ferry to the airport.

The bus was packed as the flight the night before had been cancelled due to terrible winds and white out snow conditions… and so squished like sardines in a can we drove to the ferry… onto the ferry… and the ferry never left. After some time we were informed that the lone truck that existed at the airport to which the blade for clearing snow was attached was broken in some manner and that it was not possible to clear the run way – therefore the planes would not be landing that day and a mechanic had been sent for.

Now – why they could not have rounded up one of the snowplows in town to ride the ferry with us and clear that run way I’ll never know… but the long and the short of it was that there was no way I was getting out of town that morning.

My option… to catch a grey hound bus to the nearest neighbouring town some 140 km along the single snow covered road that snakes out of town along the mighty River of Mists.  And so it was that I found myself watching 3 men trying to dig out the bus from a snowbank as it ploughed into town.   But 4 hours later I was behind the security check point at the airport and readying myself for a trip marvelling at snow capped peaks jutting angularly out of densely forested green hillsides that form this spectacular coastline complete with deep fjords and a myriad of odd shaped islands, patchy with clear-cuts and scared by logging roads. 

The Stark Blues of Winter
Original Watercolour
The wind stirs and the skeletal branches creak in protest like old rusted hinges.  The movement dislodges the newly settled snow and sends it swirling to the pallid earth.  The air seems clearer, the sky hangs low, and the world is full of possibilities.  The snow just keeps falling.  It coats the forest in powdery white, and makes the world stand still.   There is a surreal quality to the light, you could almost believe in magic on a day like today.
© RiverWalker Arts

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