Stray Dog Arts

from the studio to the house at night...

Nearly 1 am and I've just finished a painting. Tight shoulders, heavy eyes, a mug full of "Tranquil Dream" tea sitting to my left. I kinda like working late at night, although my body does not agree. Upon leaving the studio, the first thing I do is look for coyotes standing in the shadows. I've yet to meet one eye to eye, but they are alive and well, living in the woods just beyond our house. I hear them often, but not so much since the deep snows came. Tonight, rather than coyotes, I was surprised by a thick mist that filled the air above me, like a plume. It came from out of nowhere and, immidiately clung thickly to the branches and pine needles of the trees. In the two minutes that it takes me to walk from my studio to the house, it happened. Instantaneous.

I do not doubt that this strange night magic is the result of so much snow, another warm day and then a quick drop in temperature. Even so, explanations never seem to detract from the unexpected phenomenon of the night.

Lately, it seems that being outside at night is when my exterior environment feels most unexplored. In the process, my interior environment takes on a much desired newness. I feel a deep need to travel, but without the time to do so, I'm beginning to feel a bit cagey. At night though, everything feels different. It feels adventurous, a delicious sense of imagined danger in the winter air and dark shadows. The crystalline edges of things, like the space around the stars, feels sharper. The crunch of snow is more audible, as though one can hear the breaking of each tiny crystal. Being outside in the cold stillness of night draws out another side of things--revealing unexpected beauties, little mysteries--the invisible is made visible. Air turns to ice. In the walk between studio and home, I feel my thoughts sneak out of my skull for just a moment... and it is refreshing.

I'm greeted at the door of the house by sleepy dogs, warmth and a hungry cat. In two minutes, worlds apart.


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