I was four years old when my folks purchased a lot on the North end of Devil’s Lake located literally on the other side the hill from the painting in this post. We owned this property for 60 years plus. Over the years I’ve stored a zillion stories from my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood all imprinted at “the lake,” as we called it. For a short time in the mid 90’s I lived in the house my father had built on that property. It was a wonderful experience. While there, almost every evening at sunset I took long walks with my beautiful Chow dog on the beach at Road’s End. After the last sliver dome of the sun sunk over the edge of the ocean’s horizon I’d then race back to the lake to catch the moon rise over the hills across from our house as it spread its light across the lake waters. The reflection, what can I say, was beyond awesome.
I hadn’t grasped the impact that Place had instilled in my memory – until the day Lincoln City burned, September 2020. Throughout the Covid scares and restrictions, I maintained a moderately peaceful temperament, but hearing there were fires blazing on the soupy, drippy, moldy, never dry Oregon coast, it was unbelievable! TV news showed they had torched the land from Otis to the North end of the lake. Evacuations, really? I was stunned. It felt like memories were burning inside of me leaving a strange dark and empty space. I really had no right or reason to claim this loss, but there it was hooked to some chromosome awakening me to something I had labeled “the past.” Now, here it is, the past all over again reciting its Fierce and Beautiful poetry. The painting is an attempt to honor the smoke and clouds of Roads End. I’m happy to remember that I loved so much.