Rocks Over the Boathouse

August 29, 2011 § 1 Comment

The artists’ cabin on Isle Royale, called Dassler Cabin for the family who built it ages ago, sits alongside Scoville Point, a wild rocky point of land on the east end of the island that juts into Lake Superior.  The weather can be awe-inspiring, with winds roaring and waves slamming into the rocks; or, it can be possessed by an other-worldly calm.  There is a bench behind the cabin which faces the lake and which sits very, very near to the edge of a precipitous drop-off.  By day you can sit there, listen to loons and geese and, in the distance, see some of the smaller islands that make up the archipelago.  Around midnight, the bench is positioned perfectly for watching the aurora borealis.

Inside the small cabin there is a shelf with books by authors as diverse as Agatha Christie and Sigurd Olson.  I took some of them out to the aforementioned bench one sunny afternoon and assembled the following lines:

"Boathouse", oil, 12" x 12"

I hear the book man skimming rocks over the boathouse,

A highly idiosyncratic boathouse, quite battered,

Turned northeast by static electricity.

I like its location,

Running in as many directions as possible.

A short path through the forest leads to the calmer waters of Tobin Harbor.  This is a good place to canoe, and from that vantage point along the waterway a number of battered boathouses can be seen, including a sagging rust-colored one like this.  So I’m really not certain whether the poem inspired this painting, or if the boathouses of Tobin Harbor inspired the poem.


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