I spend breakup at Kathryn’s cabin, at Marsh Lake, about 60 clicks out of Whitehorse. I have given up the pottery studio.
It was a mistake; it was too soon; it wasn’t the right time.
So I drag “Fred”, my wheel, out with me. I try to throw pots on soft ground amid the conifers.
It’s all wrong; the ground is too soft; I’m not focused.
I forgot the proper seat at home and use a chunk of log for one. It doesn’t fit right. Nothing feels right.
I line my pots up along Kathryn’s railing. They don’t make the right statement. They are the same forms I made down south, but I’ve left so much behind: my husband, my adult children, my home, the studio. Three thousand miles. Behind.
I go inside for a nap. While I’m sleeping, there is a torrential rain. I awaken to find my pots …
… mud again.
I scrape the lifeless forms into a bucket and carry it down to the lake. The walk is quiet, save for the quarreling of a squirrel.
I walk the spongy, mustard-coloured moss that grows beneath the stunted evergreens, the forest floor speckled with cones. I arrive at the beach. It reminds me of Long Beach on Vancouver Island. Marsh Lake stretches for miles.
I walk to the water’s edge and just listen. There is a sound at this point of breakup. Breakup … It is the time when the ice crystals that have covered the lake all winter begin to melt and break apart. This is a familiar sound. A similar sound to the gentle pinging of hot pots fresh out of the kiln.
The last of the ice chunks stand close to the edge of the lake. I dump my pots on a piece of it and bid them farewell. I light candles on the beach, later in the evening, in the sand.
But the light lasts longer now; candlelight is wasted here; I leave my candles lit.
They are an invitation, bidding goodbye to the old – to the past – and inviting the light, the newness and all it brings … as we move here towards the longest day in the Land of the Midnight Sun.