The Courtship of Place

For many years I lived in a rustic cabin with Ika Island looming a short distance away. On winter nights, especially, the sight of it standing silently while the sun dropped beneath its silhouette gave me much comfort. As years passed and it was spared the attention of developers, (when other nearby places saw more and more “property” claimed for human habitation and the resulting nighttime light pollution), I was deeply grateful, and began to wonder at the nature of sacred places. Though I had many opportunities to travel with my kayak to her shores, I quietly pledged to never set foot on her. Perhaps not every place needs to be personally investigated by me. I would instead just appreciate her steadfast beauty from a respectful distance of “yonder”. Thus began a chivalrous relationship with a place.

I see glimpses of her from many vantage points in the Skagit Valley and beyond. I am aware of her presence whenever she bares a bit of herself, and sometimes I attempt to flirt back.

She is still my beacon of darkness. I place I can count on, but never take for granted. For she is not mine, and maybe does not really belong to anyone, though there is this thing called a deed.

Maybe we can regard places with the kind of respect that requires an invitation. Maybe human beings weren’t meant to occupy every inch of the globe. Maybe.

The barn paintings are all based on actual structures still standing in the valley. They are my meditation the success and inevitable failure of each human endeavor and the possible elegance of decay.

I hope to have created paintings worthy of contemplation.  You can view these paintings at Perry and Carlson Gallery April 1 – April 26th.  Visit their website to learn more:

Maggie Wilder 2021