I don’t know about you, but I’m still laughing about those pumpkin loving-moose in Alaska (Thanks, Michelle, for that story [see below]). As a former Alaskan and an alum of A. J. Dimond High in Anchorage (I was there for tenth grade in 1970) I want to say that I’ve seen moose stroll through the backyard, I’ve seen moose in burger form, I’ve seen what happens to a VW Bug when it meets a moose at 50 mph on the AlCan Highway. . .
. . .and as a world traveler, I’ve seen dawn on the equator, high noon on The Golan Heights, and midnight sun on Loch Ness. I’ve raised a little hell in London, hid from the law in Reno, and dined with millionaires in Rio. I’ve seen several of the experts on The Antiques Roadshow with their pants down. . .
. . .but I’ve never seen a moose smash a pumpkin to get at the chewy bits inside [the pumpkin] which I would now gladly trade a dinner in Rio for.
Also, back in 1970 in Anchorage, as a tenth grader, I couldn’t be bothered to LOOK UP when there were Northern Lights in the sky for god’s sake because that would be showing too much enthusiasm for life and the vale of tears known as Being a Teenager, and I tended not to listen to what what my parents were telling me — LOOK UP! IT’S THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!!– because what the hell did THEY know — NOTHING — while I, on the other hand, knew most of the words to Tommy(the world’s first rock opera). So I missed a lot of Northern Lights, which I would now trade a kidney to see.
Yoof. As has been observed ever since humans had language: It is wasted on the young.
As are night skies. Wasted on the young, I mean. Which is why I seem to spend a lot of paint on them, ever since I took up watercolor painting in my 50s — to make up for all those years I ignored the view. As all you painters out there know, it takes a lot of pigment to get a night sky on paper, but it’s oh so worth it when you get the right amount of saturation: I like to blend heaps of black, purple, and three kinds of blue to get the right tone of “night”.
I have some of my paintings from When Wanderers Cease to Roam currently on display and about half of them are night sky paintings. “Whoa, Viv,” I can hear you say, “Those paintings from the book, aren’t they really small? Too small to put on display?”
And I’ll tell you, first of all, Don’t call me Viv. And secondly yes, they are small (all the illustrations are reproduced in their original sizes), but I have re-arranged them into larger compositions that I hope you’ll like.
Here’s one, a medley of elements from the July chapter and the September chapter re-arranged into a composition that reminds me of something I heard Arlo Guthrie say once:
When you look up into the night sky, Arlo Guthrie said, you can’t help but feel glad to be alive, and inspired, and grateful for the mystery of life: “It’s a Bring-Your-Own-God thing,” he said.
On the price list for this exhibit I called this composition Summer Skies because I’m not a hippie and I didn’t have the nerve to call it Bring Your Own God. Also, it’s in a 12-inch-square frame, which is a little puny for a God reference, don’t you think? (Don’t tell the guy who said that “God is in the details” that I doubted him.)
Tomorrow, more on night skies. Unless anyone else out there has another really good moose story.