Lake Champlain Skate

The world reduced to five sounds:   your own breathing, your blades carving the black ice, popping sounds as the surface splits, and the sonic roll of the water moving beneath the ice surface. The walls rising up around you have been carved by glaciers tens of thousands of years ago; you are participating in today’s carving—with your feet.  Something unknown guides you towards the safer patterns in the ice.  No training, just instinct.  We all have it.. since we are all born with an intuitive sense of how to read the patterns of nature.

 A dead deer, trapped by its ill-suited hooves, victim to coyotes.  A live fish, trapped beneath the ice.  A painfully beautiful wilderness.

 You know this cliff, having pulled up to it on a stifling hot July day in your kayak.  Having watched the cliff jumpers take the terrifying leap into the cool depths; having swum up to it to touch it.   Now it’s encased in ice.   A frozen sculpture of a waterfall standing on a plinth of black ice.

 This series of images came from the experience of skating the nine-mile stretch from Westport New York to Essex New York on a bitter cold January day:  something I would not have tackled if not for an infinitely adventurous and curious dear friend. The perfect storm of elements over a series of days is necessary to make such a skate possible.  I have revisited the experience via memory, photographs and the mind’s eye to create these watercolors and oil paintings.

lakechamplain portrait.jpg