St. Anne Falls,
oil on canvas, 1855.
National Art Gallery of Canada.
I live far from the places of my childhood.
And at times there is a need in me --for the rolling hills and highlands of home.
To know the wild forest stretches out, league upon league, in silence, without foreign footprints.
For a few hours this weekend I sat on the steps of a wooden deck behind a gray stone house set in a quiet enclave on a height of land.
Sat in the velvet dark and watched the slow pendulum of cedar boughs in a hallow's wind -- and found a portal for an exile.
Felt my shape merge and expand, one and invisible with the soft and secret night, and slip through. To walk with memory.
Saw again Orion and his Dog.
And watched the dawn come gently with the quelerous, yearning cry of geese in the far gray sky.
And wondered if our inclinations for imagery are fixed and forever determined by the geography of our birth, whether rural or urban.