Rock Pooling – turning adults into children and children into adults

Rock pooling at Botanical Beach, Vancouver Island

Rock pooling at Botanical Beach, Vancouver Island

At the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, sculpted by the ferocity of the Pacific Ocean, resides the anomalous rock formations of Botanical Beach. In the company of several friends and Pogo, an equable dog with a sizable mustache, we ambled slowly across a vast rock shelf, rife with deep, organism-filled pools. Like the contours of a fish bowl, many of the depressions curved under the rock, leaving us to peer beneath our feet at sea stars, urchins, anemones and crabs.

The discoveries made by a rock pooling child will build them into their future self, whilst those made by a rock pooling adult will return them to their childhood.

Kamloops Undergrowth

Kamloops undergrowth painting (acrylic on canvas)

Kamloops Undergrowth painting (acrylic on canvas)

There is little that grounds me more than to lie flat on my stomach amongst a bed of lush undergrowth. With dirt beneath my nails, grasses tickling my cheeks and a wealth of curious insects exploring my person, I enjoy – ever so immensely – the disconnect it provides from life’s somber distractions.

It’s a romantic pastime, until the red ants find their way into my shorts.

I worked on a farm this autumn in Kamloops, British Columbia. Buttercups were never far from view, and, after taking several shots through the weeds, I took to my canvas.

Deer in the forest

It's with the trees that I am truly comfortable

It’s with the trees that I am truly comfortable

How filled I was with rum and whiskey and how sad I felt – as we made our way along the moonlit pavements of Victoria – to see five grand deer stepping hesitantly across the concrete. Indeed, with my blood so heavily infected with liquor, the sorrow of the sight brought me close to tears. The city isn’t good for them – the deer – just as it isn’t for me. But we persist, for one reason or another, against our yearnings.

One day I hope for my instincts and my actions to immaculately align; one day I want to see these very five deer deep in the Island forest.

Goodnight Henrietta

Goodnight Henrietta - heron on a rock

Goodnight Henrietta – heron on a rock

Every night I look out of my window. There she is, stood lonely atop the lichen-stippled rock, surrounded by the gentle swash of the Juan de Fuca waves.

‘Good night, Henrietta,’ I’ll bid on occasions, whilst on others I will merely nod.

It is, of course, likely that she – with her curved neck and fine bill – knows little of my observing eyes, but it feels right to acknowledge others; heron or human, featherless or otherwise.