This was my contribution to this year’s Muskoka Arts & Crafts Mystery Art Sale and Fundraiser. I seem to really like red chairs lately… and so it becomes my latest painting. Visits to the tiny St. Stephen’s Church in Vankoughnet, Bethune House, Sparrow Beach Lodge and the Swords General Store will be the inspiration for future paintings and blog posts for that matter. It is going to be a busy winter. More chairs – but – they won’t all be red!
I have been reading Robin Easton’s “Naked in Eden”, a wonderful book about the author’s journey into the Australian Rainforest and ultimately back to herself. It is a brilliant read and I highly recommend it. In one of the chapters, Robin describes here witnessing the death of animal she has created a connection with and her reaction to the ants that come to carry creature away. Questions arise about the ants and how they would carry this creature so much larger than themselves into their colony. It reminded me of an experience I had last summer.
Sitting by the lake one evening with my husband, we observed a tiny ant carrying the carcass of a much larger spider across the sand. In the sand there were several tiny holes and we assumed that these were the entrances to the colony. The holes seemed wide enough only for the ant and there was NO WAY the spider would fit. We decided it would be interesting to see what the ant would do.
As we watched the ant disappear into a hole we noticed specks of sand being tossed out the way a man might shovel earth from a narrow but deep trench. The ant reappeared, dragged the spider to the hole and when it still did not fit, continued to widen it, tossing sand in a single direction. He repeated this process about four or five times when, finally, the spider disappeared down the hole. Next the ant reappeared once more and replaced every grain of sand until the hole was again, nearly invisible.
In Robin’s story, the ants were the clean up crew of the jungle – a natural part of life and death. In our little part of Muskoka, I was able to observe this cycle of Life and Nature in action. It left a large enough impression on me that when I read Robin’s experience I understood what she was seeing and understood more deeply what it meant.
The book has been full of “ah-ha” moments and is deeply spiritual, inspiring and a great adventure to boot. If you have the chance, grab a copy. You might be glad you did.