May 31st – June 4th


every driving day a different colour

May 31st
When I went to the park office in the morning around 11a, I was told it was already too hot to be going out to the dunes, that early morning or evening would be better. So I registered for another couple of nights at the campground and spent the day making another 200 pieces, backing everything up, and powering up my equipment.
Then, the unthinkable… my iPad crashed!
This was almost the worst thing that could happen in terms of my project. Without my iPad there was basically no way I could proceed. Most importantly it’s my camera screen, without it I can’t see what I’m photographing , unable to document what I’m doing, no documentation, no project!  I had no internet, no google to help me out, everything that I tried had not worked. Calgary had the closest Apple store, so basically I got ready to go home. I reorganized ‘Bill’ so things wouldn’t move around so much, went for a long walk along the beach, called home to say that I might be coming back earlier than originally planned. I just couldn’t believe that I couldn’t figure it out, then around 9p I got the idea to hold down all of the buttons at the same time for as long as possible. I was nervous I would make it worse, but it was all I could think of doing that I hadn’t tried….
And it worked!!!!  Such relief!!! How dependant we’ve become!!!!
I couldn’t believe how elated I was, one, that the project could continue and, that I had figured it out all by myself. I knew more than I credited myself for… big learning!!

June 1st
I was up early and at the dunes before 9a. It was a 3km hike in, not strenuous, but hilly, and as it turns out these dunes are mostly naturalized… not what I was expecting, not great for an install. So I decided to stay and explore beach possibilities. I found an area near the boat launch that had great access, and started to mull over what I could do. I spent the day beach combing, relaxing, wading in the water – still very cold – stretched, exercised, Melted, so great to be able to move freely…hard to do in ‘Bill’. The only other person on the beach was a woman and her dog. It was a glorious day.
After dinner I went down to the boat launch and got set up to install. I worked from 6:30 until 9:30 or so by the time everything came out. The black flies were so bad, I still can’t believe that I endured as long as I did considering that I was swarmed almost the entire time . Talk about focus!
Got back to my campsite, backed everything up, powered up all my equipment, had a long chat with a friend who was leaving for a month-long holiday the next day, and was in bed by midnight…exhausted.
After having reviewed some of the footage, I was very pleased with how everything turned out. The camera sees things that I missed, and what it saw/captured was beautiful. Once again I was blown away by the beauty of this simple expression of light..

‘hai’ lights : Douglas Provincial Park, Sask.

June 2 – 4th
I left Douglas PP feeling happy about – well – everything –
Even knowing I was on my way home to rework my grant application – tedious –              to take my mom to some appointments – obligations – to take care of some business stuff – responsibilities  –
I was filled up with space – spaciousness – the prairies can do that. I felt a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction…tangible –  I had a chance to see how this project could work, made it work, and now I would have a chance to refine the process, to reorganize what I was doing, to see, to reflect, to process, to write about what was really happening
‘out here in the fields’!    (cue the WHO!)

Crossing the S.Sask river at Riverhurst ….. this is in the middle of the prairies!

I stopped in Cabri just N of Swift Current for a night, at the end of Lake Diefenbaker, in the river valley. Poor gravel roads, seemingly endless prairie and then ‘ta da’… green valleys, beautiful hills and endless water. Quite a terrifying storm that night which howled until after midnight, but the next day, beautiful…
weather –  passing through, like thoughts – foreign, tortuous, happy, calm, simmering  – passing by – expressed and then gone – dissipated –

                            Stormy night at Cabri campground, the next day beautiful!!

The next day was very busy. I made my way to Sceptre, just N of the Great Sandhill Dunes, the museum was closed for a funeral, but a woman gave me great directions how to get there. It would be perfect for an installation. Easy access, great vantage points, lots of possibilities. I was for sure coming back. I continued to head north and east, winding my way back to Calgary. When I was in Empress, Pat Donaldson told me about an artist, Dean Francis, who had an open house once a year at his acreage, as it  happened it was this weekend, and it was sort of on my way home, so I took the Estuary ferry across the shortest distance across the south Saskatchewan river and made my way to his place. Cars and trailers and trucks filled the yard. There was a bluegrass band playing in one of his converted churches, art filled the walls and people wandered through the various buildings and grounds, visiting, viewing, enjoying the day. I was glad I stopped even though I didn’t stay long. I wanted to get as far as I could before night fall.

Estuary ferry east end of the S Sask river, on the way to Dean Francis Studios

As soon as I hit the AB border, the gravel roads disappeared and the driving became so much easier. I was looking to stop in Acadia Valley for the night, but took a turn too soon and ended up at the Acadia River Municipal Dam. Such a beautiful surprise!
The municipality dammed a small river and created a beautiful wetland, that incorporated a recreation / fishing area. I became very interested in making a piece here, a water piece along the edge of the dam. I took  a lot of photos as well as all the information I would need in order to contact the local RM.
It was a beautiful quiet evening. The water had turned to glass and birdsong filled the air….Just birdsong, no other noise!  The morning was warm enough to do all my stretching outside on the picnic table…first time! This place felt special. I hope I can create something here.

                                                    Acadia river municipal dam

On my way home I took hiway 40 into Dorothy, where I came across 3 moose making their way across some farmers field. I had never seen a moose on the prairie before, let alone 3 together, so I stopped to watch them for a bit on the side of the road, and wept at their majesty and grace as they sauntered along to who knows where…?
Once in Strathmore, I got directions to an RV car wash, which Bill needed  desperately, and then made my way to Calgary  – the first part of my journey over, so many feelings…sad, excited, exhausted, grateful for all of it…looking forward to what’s next

another beginning – another adventure of sorts –   yet to be sorted…..


All images / text   ©  Louise Pagé   2017

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