Friday, September 4, 2009

While drawing this driftwood, I held my childhood in my hands. On family vacations to lakes in Canada, we collected driftwood on the shores and then displayed the wood at home. My mom in that era decorated our living room starkly, with modern, hard lines and in black and white. The silver gray driftwood somehow softened the room, and I could touch and play with the driftwood all I wanted, unlike other items in the room.

I began to wonder if this piece of driftwood was from the Hudson River near my apartment now or if it was a piece that I took from my childhood home when I left it. I couldn't recollect where I picked up the wood, but it was from somewhere in my life.

I thought about my childhood and family and home and lakes and cold places and the beautiful effects of moving water on the surface of wood, and I held bittersweet memories of passing time when I held the wood to draw it. The light colors of the piece reminded me of white birch trees under bright skies and against light snow - snow with an almost sandy crust from the dry winter winter wind blowing across it - in our front yard

"This wood," I thought, "is softened and polished by the cold, rugged northern lakes, just like I am." I sighed and felt poetic as I drew.

My thoughts were interrupted. "Oh, you're drawing the desert wood I gave you."

"Desert wood? What are you talking about. This is driftwood from Lake of the Woods. Or maybe it's from Rainy Lake. It might be from the Hudson, but anyway, it's driftwood."

"It's desert wood. I gave it to you last summer."

"Are you sure?"

"I picked up the wood out west on my camping trip. I gave it to you and you said it reminded you of driftwood, except for the colors on the tips held the color of the western sun. You said the wood made you want to visit the desert someday."

"Oh," I said. I pulled out a brighter color and finished the drawing.

Desert wood. Colored pencil and number 2 pencil in Moleskine sketchbook.


  1. LOL, isn't life just like that? Sometimes I find it a bit scary how our memories can be modified without our noticing it. Mine is full of huge holes, for instance, and when people remind me of something in the past, I always get the feeling that they're talking about someone else. Eerie.

    Love the sketch, and loved how you felt 'poetic' and reminiscent drawing it, before your perspective got switched around, Resi! =)

    It has provided you (and your readers) with lots of deep thought, and that's what's so wonderful.

  2. I love your writing. This is a lovely drawing, the form is captured with a lot of character. I like the idea that in drawing it could be from the northern lakes regardless its origins.

  3. What a wonderful drawing and story. It brought me right back to my childhood as I picked up the driftwood along the shores in Campbell River, BC - where my grandparents once lived. I miss the water and the driftwood as I now live in Calgary, Alberta. I am longing for that hint of salt water in the air.

  4. A very nice drawing, indeed.
    And I enjoyed reading your words
    too. Cheers,

  5. Very beautiful picture. You make me want to get out my pencils and draw. I like the story as well and the surprise ending.
    I have got some of my hand carved stamps up on my blog if you would like to see them. I will be posting more in the coming weeks.

  6. This has such a nice feel - textures, colors, lines. All that, and a story that charms. Thank you.

  7. Thanks for checking in, everyone. It's great to have visitors.

  8. I love sketching pieces of old wood. Where has it been and who else has run their fingers up and down along the grain? Lovely, I wish I could hold it in my hands.

  9. The drawing is gorgeous Resi. I love the colour and shape of the wood. Funny how we remember or mis-remember things. We can swear blind things are just as we say they are. It happens to me all time! I'd love to see you do more drawings of wood, you capture it beautifully.

  10. Your writing is as wonderful as your drawing. So interesting and descriptive. When you go out to draw, about how many colored pencils do you take and how do you carry them?

  11. Heather: Memories are suspect, aren't they? Well, I figure if a memory makes me happy, it might as well be true, even if it isn't accurate. I still have memories of a family vacation we took to Yellowstone National Park, even though it happened before I was born, lol! I've seen so many photos and heard so many stories of the trip, that I think I was there.

    Deborah: I usually carry too many pencils with me and forget the sharpener and eraser at home. I'm working on making a pencil case, and perhaps I'll blog about that soon.

  12. I love the drawing and I love the story! I too find it disconcerting how our memories can get mixed up and change over time.