Several years ago, I had a mysterious experience while camping and painting at Marble Canyon. As soon as I arrived. Every time I looked at the magnificent rock hanging over beautiful Crown Lake, I saw a face in moving gesture. It was absolutely fascinating and being the sensitive person I am I accepted it as real.
Not just one rock but all of them had come to life, with lips moving and heads turning.
So something must be happening, I thought. Yes, I’m ready for God’s mysteries in his creation! Ready to see them in action.
So I paddled out in my belly boat, ready to paint with this mysterious audience hanging over me.
That’s when I heard it. The pebble shaking sound of a spray can. Standing in front of the rocks on a ledge (the lake was down) were two young girls poised to spray the beautiful untouched stone of this canyon lake.
“Heh,” I yelled as I started paddling. “What are you doing?”
They both jumped to face me. The girls were surprised to see a “floating voice” out on the lake so close. The spray can’s arm quickly disappeared behind their backs.
“Girls!” Yelled a man’s voice from the far shore.
“Nothing, Dad…we’re doing nothing!” they yelled back.
And so the standoff started. The girls are waiting for me to paddle away and I’m waiting for them to head back to camp. Dad is standing on the shore, watching.
I had all the time in the world. I was floating, remember? I had seen the animated faces of the rocks. How did the rock know?
So the girls headed back and Dad returned to his site.
Later that evening I met the girls on my walk. I don’t know where this info came from but someone must have planted it in me because out of my mouth it came.
“Heh, girls. If you want to leave a message on a rock, then use a stone to etch it with.”
As it turned out, these campers from Alberta stayed longer than us. We had to head back after three nights and wouldn’t you know all the campers at the site left before us.
So we pulled our motor home out knowing the girls and the spray-can would be alone…except for maybe Dad…
It was two summers before I came back. I expected to see all kinds of spray-painted graffitti…but you know what? There was none.
There sure were a lot of names etched in rock.
Etchings you could only see close up from a belly boat…I hadn’t noticed them before and some of it looked pretty old.
Since this happened, I’ve longingly looked for the rock to come back to live animation.
It hasn’t happened.
Yet, this painting I did while belly boating in front of the rocks a few years after the event, dried with a face in it.
For 12 years I was the Gardener at my parent’s “Splendour View” Garden. I joined the “Seeds of Diversity” and learned the art of seed collecting. Through the catalogue, I was able to send away for starter seeds and plants. I received specimens from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island.
The multiplication factor of seeds and roots never occurred to me until I became a seed collector. You start with “one” or in some cases “two” and before long there’s a multitude.
One of my fondest memories is seeing my mother standing under the tall umbrellas of parsnip seed.
“Look at all this life!” In her own unique holy way, my Mother was always giving credit to the creator for being so wise. “Look at all the people fed by one plant!”
Oh, how I miss her.
I look at my family and I see the results and surprises of what my parents planted in our lives. Multiplied and still sending out roots and shoots!
So in this Garden of Life where I have more than I need because it’s designed that way when you receive- I give you this experience. The truth of multiplication!
I paddle out with a 5 x 7 piece of watercolour paper taped to a lightweight foam board and one plastic bag to hold it in. In case I splash it on the way back in…but if I did…would it matter?
So I dip my brush in the lake
and with a small box of watercolours on the belly boat apron, I paint. I keep extra brushes in my wet suit front pocket for easy access and to keep them from rolling overboard. I am all business when I make my way out to the rocks at Crown Lake. Once I have the view I want, I have to work the flippers to stay put. Sometimes I get so caught up I forget and then I have to work my way back.
It all depends on the wind!
In the pockets of my belly boat, I have a few things I may need like an apple and water and some paper towel. A few w.c. crayons, etc. and my Kodak camera. Otherwise, I’d have a selfie of myself instead of flipper pictures. But I like to frame my husband in his U-boat when I take the shot. Yes, that is Wayne in the distance. He’s reading a book.
Anything and everything could fall overboard at any time…
Since I started floating and painting I haven’t had any major spills. I did the first time I went out in my belly boat. It was when we thought we would fish. Wayne was some distance away fishing in his U-boat. So I caught a fish and reeled it in. I took the barbless hook out of its mouth and set the hook to the side. Then l released the trout with both of my hands supporting…Oops!
Now I’m horrified. The hook I set to the side is gone and wasn’t it attached to my husbands fly rod he had long before he met me? I look at the deep water beside me. I can’t believe I forgot I am in a very small circle and anything and everything can end up….overboard!
I’m not as entertaining as I use to be getting into my belly boat.
Getting my flippers to pass the seat harness while standing on one flipper…and then walking out backwards to the deeper water… Holding my belly boat up around my waist until I can go down in the seat. Ha! My husband only has to sit back in his U-boat and push off! We’re not trading but I can tell he misses the shows I use to put on.
No, I wouldn’t trade the belly for a U-boat anyway. The round inflated tube and apron make the most perfect art easel. And the water makes the memory of every painting special.
You may enjoy this blog I wrote last summer. It’s on belly boating in Marble Canyon including painting and poem: The Tree That Grew From Rock
When I can I will be posting at facebook my belly boat paintings this summer.
Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you can comment and tell me where you like to paint? Or where you would like to paint? Sometimes writing it out makes it happen faster!
In my poem, “Married With Cows”, I take aim. I hope the poem hits your funny bone.Here’s some background.
While I was on the ranch, I gave it my best shot to be part of the Canadian music scene.My ability to write about my experiences is one of my strengths. For this, I was hired by Ian Tyson.He was looking for a performer to represent the cowgirl at his Cowboyography Show during Expo ’86. Writing songs about cows and fencing had an audience…and now I had permission to write more!
For his show, I wrote four songs of which there was time for three.After twenty-one shows that week, I was geared up to play my spurs on both sides of the border!What a wonderful time. So many beautiful “salt of the earth” people to be around.Like me, they were expressing themselves and their worlds.
Later I wrote “Married With Cows” to put into perspective all those phone calls I’d had on the ranch. There I made cold calls to agents and managers I had heard of.
Life is more satisfying when you can see the funny side of things. Especially when you don’t have to make it up. Even though…it meant I would never be part of the Canadian music scene or on the radio. When was the last time you heard spurs played over the air?
Not Just My Experience…
“Married With Cows” was on at Poetry poem.While it was there, I heard from several men (husbands). They wanted me to know the same events had happened to their wives. They felt bad about it.
So this is what I found to be true as a folk performer.
Everyone loves a good song and a sincere presentation.Everyone loves to laugh and learn a little about the country they are visiting.
So after the cowboy gatherings, I started performing for bus and rail tours. I no longer aimed for agents or managers. From my homeland, I sang to the travelling world about the wonders of the Cariboo as a “singing cowgirl”.Spur playing included and I also taught the Cariboo Yodel!
I wanted to be a singer and sing my own true songs… They wanted to know my measurements, was I a redhead or a blonde? And just how old are you? And before you send your tape… Send us a great big picture and for the last five years – your weight. “We’re not signing married women – their husbands make them quit! With years and years of experience – our investments have to stick!” So I didn’t send that picture, my hair type or my weight. I didn’t bother fooling them – and I never sent a tape. For the rules, they were describing I never could kowtow… so I told them, “I ain’t single, I’m married with cows!”
Back in the ’80s, on the ranch, I met a neighbour whose story inspired me. She had been a single mother who had once been a teacher. Now she was in a new relationship and dedicating her time to homeschooling her son.
As she explained to me on a visit with him, he was dyslexic, and she wanted him to have what she knew she could do as an enlightened teacher.
She said, “getting the left and the right and the up and the down to move together as one picture.”
When they left my home, I noticed the essence of “love” hanging in the air from their visit.
A Little Bit Of Love was recorded in Vancouver, B.C. Gord Maxwell on fretless bass (Ian Tyson), Larry Pink on steel guitar (One Horse Blue) and Rocko at the controls. Vocals: Katie & Gord. Katie on her Washburn guitar.
In 1974, after graduation from high school, the spiritual community I lived in with my parents handed me and three others a brand new suitcase. I often joke there was a hint in this….
However, the blue Samsonite suitcase was a well-known one as lots of people travelling by bus had one. On one of my trips home via Greyhound, I arrived back in Vancouver minus my suitcase.
The Greyhound bus station then was on what is now an empty lot in Vancouver where an Art Gallery is planned. A few days after this happened I received a call from Greyhound freight. So I picked my suitcase up and headed back to North Vancouver.
I didn’t have much in it. Just a few clothes, mostly dirty ones from my trip and my diary. I wondered if anyone had looked at my stuff…
Monday night was my laundry night in my small apartment building. So I tossed the dirty clothes out of the suitcase and into the machine.
My diary which I hadn’t used for a while had made the trip and seemed no worse for wear. I seldom wrote in it now but when I did I was passionate. I signed off on everything I wrote there with a “Praise the Lord” ending.
As I arranged my dirty clothes evenly in the drum of the washing machine I felt something hard. Something wasn’t right. I pulled a piece of clothing out… a pair of undies…with a 1″ x 3″ piece of cardboard stapled inside the crotch. Written with all caps in blue ink was: “PRAISE THE LORD”.
Lots of folks are trying to improve themselves and their worlds. But does it work? If you are trying to improve the you that isn’t you, what will you get? A better false self?
If you know, you are different, and you somehow don’t fit with the herd…Congratulations! But if you have been plodding along with the herd…now’s the time to set your sights higher. YOU deserve it. The real YOU wants it — NOW!
So give some thought to opening up, to a larger YOU emerging – the real YOU and don’t care what other’s think. If they’re stuck in the herd, they’re probably high on methane gas!
In celebration of YOU getting out of your rut this year and into a new adventure; I give YOU this poem to read. Let me know if any of this makes sense to YOU.
In 1976, while I was living in North Vancouver, I wrote “Lullaby”. I composed it just before I went on the road working as a folk-singer for Whitefoot Entertainments.
So before the travel, the crowds and playing the Top 40, I wrote what I was fascinated with in music. The idea you could sing a note out to nature and nature would take the note out to the universe and back. I still believe in this.