The Artist Date is a dream-child of Julia Cameron. We’ve discussed her book, The Artist’s Way, and highly recommend both the book and the weekly date. It can be life-changing. It can open your creativity like nothing else. This week, we’re listening to the sound of an ice storm in a wintry artist date. Watch your step; it’s a little slippery out there.
We lined up the portable power station, weather radio, and handheld flashlights on the kitchen table before we went to bed, half expecting the power to be out by morning. When I awoke to the house still cozy warm and my digital clock not flashing its silent no-power alert, I got up and dressed and slipped out with my camera. I’d been wishing for Spring to come, with her new opportunities for outdoor walks, but the ice storm in progress gave me a fair alternative.
I drove a mile east of town, yes, and a half mile south, as is our way in these rural parts. I pulled to the side of the gravel road and put on my hazards, with visibility less than a quarter mile. And then I walked across the top of deep snow, the shiny white surface hardened by recent winds and the overnight freezing rain.
A single-file set of bird prints went ahead of me, barely denting the snow where my barn boots left a deeper impression. The light arrow of the prints pointed toward the road, but I followed the path backward toward a small tree grove. Just ahead of a row of glistening brush another line of tracks crossed the first, a nearly invisible birdie intersection where I imagined two fowl waving each other on with their long feathered wings the same as we friendly humans do at an uncontrolled intersection in a small town, waving through the windshield. “No, you go.” “No, no, you, really.”
The rain was still coming down softly enough and then hardening on contact with glazed branches and leaves, the crackled glass encasing every exposed surface as though Midas had run out of gold and now operated in crystal. Cold water settled into my hair and ran down my cheeks and at one point the icy surface gave way and I dropped into snow nearly to my waist. There was nothing left but to listen to the sound of ice forming, the sound of nothing.
Photos and post by Will Willingham.
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