Recently I took my father’s ashes up to Thunder Bay. My mother, who had been divorced from him since I was 16, offered to accompany me since I was planning to drive. I wanted to take my time and stop when something appealed to me. It was going to be a pilgrimage of sorts.
My mother was diagnosed last year with early Alzheimer’s. Her short-term memory is poor for facts but she can still enjoy experiences and recall feelings. This journey was a way to create those opportunities and she would also get to visit with her sister.
It had been two years since I had been that way. The last time I had traveled this stretch of the Trans Canada highway was to go say goodbye to my aunt. I had gone with my mother that time too. And, we offered to take my father as it was his sister we were going to see.
Needless to say, this trip was bittersweet. But I chose to take in as much of the majestic beauty of the north shore of Lake Superior as I could. Having lost two special people recently and knowing that my mother is being taken away too has made me very aware that life is precious. I am going to take time to enjoy, to experience, to pause and drink in the sensory input.
What I have taken away from this road trip is a renewed appreciation for the grandeur and ruggedness of the ancient glacier scraped topography. I have been inspired by the trees, the water, and the granite that gives this area its distinctive colour palette. I have already begun to incorporate this organic palette into my artwork.
The Lake Superior palette is beautiful and calls forth my childhood experiences to meld them with the new adult experiences. I hope you enjoy this new journey as much as I.