Digital (iPhone + Brushes App)
Here’s a quick piece I created on my iPhone using the Brushes App. I’m actually a closet watercolourist but still working on my skills. I found the interface easy to use but the screen ‘real estate’ far too small. This is what would prompt me toward an iPad, creating quick sketches in full colour any time any place.
I love the mountains. When I was younger I would get an overpowering urge to return. We lived hours away on the plains and I would squint at the clouds on the horizon, imagining them to be a wall of stone and valley. As I grew older I was able to make my way there on my own, even to the extent of making the choice of living under their shadow, training as a goldsmith in the Waterton Valley.
I saw the many and sudden changes in the weather, the shifts from rain to sunshine and then to snow, all in a day.
I walked seldom used trails, scaling higher and higher until there were no more trees, just me, the wind, and the eagle.
I explored the valley depths, the secret pools and whispering streams. Clean, cold water flowing silkily over moss covered rocks.
I spoke with the animals, with a distant wolf, the bear, a cougar up in a tree who considered me for lunch but for reasons unknown changed menu plans. The birds were my constant companions and the fragile forest floor was home to the most exquisite, delicate flowers.
In the years that have passed, I see now that the mountains were my cure for a deep and aching pain that left untreated would have lead to insanity. They took my anxiety, fears and hurt away from me and gave me in turn a solid place to return to in my life, my thoughts, and my dreams.
I still return for short periods of time at least once a year. Where others see recreation, I see the place where I was wild, the place where I left behind the world and became a child of the forest. I see my place of healing and the fields of my awakening.
I learned that I can control nothing, manage nothing, save for myself. I learned I have a choice and that life is nothing but choices. I learned about laziness, excuses, blindness. I learned that the poison of one life can be passed to new, innocent lives and that this poison really can be drawn out of us.
We are all poisoned before we have a chance to choose, just as our parents were and their parents were. This poison can cause us to behave in irrational, desperate ways. Until we accept this we’ll live by the will of the poison, and not by our own will.
Accept it and the healing already starts to happen.
The Rocky Mountains drew out my poison and gave me the gift of thinking on my own, of making decisions that were healthy, and giving me patience in the face of other people’s poison.
We can all heal. And then we can heal all.
The Mist on the Mountainside is an expression of my gratitude and humility before nature. It represents where I was, where I went and where I am going. Those mountains clad and caressed by the ethereal clouds are the safeguards of my soul.