Monday, June 30, 2008

The Kenora Palette: After the June Rain

30 June 2008

It has been a lush and rainy June in Northwest Ontario.

It is easy to forget how our part of the world can be almost tropical in its characteristics, if only for a few brief weeks of the midsummer season.

Everything is richly green. Almost nothing is brown.

The lake is deep, lapping at the trunks of the hardy trees at water's edge.

The days are lengthy. There are a few hours of darkness in the middle of the night only.

This is the Kenora palette - after the June rain.

Here you can see the verdant hues as well as the deepening lake, behind the fragile birch trees in the foreground.

The expansive clouds play behind the backdrop of the greening early June forest canopy.

I found the play of sunlit lake water over ancient granite to be quite delightful. This photograph was taken just behind the dock at water's edge.

The elusive and delicate miniature flora breaking out through the expanse of granitic outcrop is almost impossible to capture with the camera. I cropped this photo to emphasize the tenderness of the blossoms synchronized with the faint thread of ageless rose-toned stone.

No less ephemeral is the explosion of delicate pink wild roses, opening up to greet us at every turn, and in every direction that we cast our eyes.

No less difficult to capture, though at the macro scale, is the carpet of fresh daisies which ornaments the cross country ribbon of the Trans-Canada Pipeline, which crosses no more than 200 metres from our doorstep.

The daisies are ever a willing subject for the eye of the camera.

It is difficult to portray the plenitude of the daisies and their brightly hued companions, all in primary tones, as the subjects are so fine against the vast expanse of the reclaimed meadowland... but there is seemingly no end to them.

The rose's subtle preparation prior to its bloom is brief and enticing.

So far I have only hinted at the magical dance of the lake, which is our rich and deep source of coolness and comfort in the steamy midday heat of June.

My traditional canoe has been abandoned in favour of the more versatile and responsive modern-day kayak. Accordingly, the canoe has in fact long languished at the lakeshore, awaiting that mix of adults and children who will again perceive its utility.

The dock itself is my reliable place of leisure and reprieve.

I remain fascinated at the persistent expressiveness of the delicate but hardy grasses, which attain secure footing even at the water's edge.

Everywhere, there are miniature and delicate gardens for the eye that would seek them out. With ample rainfall, no garden setting is too adverse.

Equally at home in an environment of blunt and unapologetic adversity is the sinuous vine in its self-assertive journey across the lichen-spotted rock face.

In fact, only the incessant trampling of the human foot can deter the lichen from setting their tenacious fibrils on the fractal surface of the barren rock.

The enduring red pine, the sage old man of the northern forest, casts its wizened and twisted branches hither and yon across the northern face of the cold deepening lake.

What then is there to explain the bold exuberance of the tiger lily? It requires no explanation, makes no apology. In such an environment there is no argument to be made against simply being. If one is to exist, then let it be boldly.

After the Kenora June rain, all in fact is magic.

Let us then rest in that cool, deep, still and ever curious state of knowledge. The Kenora June rain has visited itself upon us in its intensity. The pure beating heat and relative aridity of July awaits, but with it, the certainty that in mere weeks, a cooler August will follow. Intensity, followed by intensity, but no more - then by moderation. That is all. That is sufficient. This is what we know by instinct. No words need express it.

The Kenora palette series:

The Kenora March Palette: 2009

The Kenora Palette: After the June Rain

The Kenora May Palette Erupts into Green Tones, but also into Unexpected Hues

The Kenora Palette in May

The Kenora March Palette


  1. Great pictures. I especially like the last one.

    Kenora is a little bit of heaven.

  2. Indeed, the magic is not far from our grasp in this austere northern garden.

  3. The pictures are lovely and Laurence, your written descriptions are equally beautiful!

  4. Perhaps Nick is my inspiration, as there is already a poet in the family!

  5. WOW!!! absolutly beautiful the words of a poet and the pictures of an artist.

    and thanx for the compliment :)

  6. With Hilary's art, Cameron's literature, Susan's photography, Wendy's knitting and fiddling and your poetry, perhaps we can start an artists' society!

  7. How about the self-congratulatory "League of Extraordinary Artists?"

  8. I think we're close to having a group of seven together.