This past February, friends joined one day to hike while I was painting a series on the Chikanishing Creek in Killarney Provincial Park. Our party was accompanied by a fourth member an apricot poodle named Dagwood. Upon the return of the hikers to my painting site Dagwood immediately got between my feet. Hey Dagwood Moovez- Vous. All of a sudden a very large and quite healthy Eastern timber wolf comes down off the creek bluff and tries to grab Dagwood. Dagwood the brave little bugger charges the wolf, all of us screaming both animals stop dead in their tracks.
As panic sets we get Dagwood back and with continuous yelling and throwing sticks we managed to scare the wolf off. Or so we thought, to our amazement he reappears 45 seconds later from a new direction. We yelled and threw sticks; again he vanishes into the bush, and within seconds comes in from a third direction to within feet of us. Pierre do you think you could finish up this painting while we fend off this wolf. It occurred to me an atmosphere of terror hardly encourages reflection. The prospect of more wolf pals arriving and Dagwood becoming le snack de jour was to compelling an argument. After quick deliberation and a tear down that could rival Guinness, Dagwood in hand we bid a hasty but…. orderly retreat.
That evening the big snow storm of the year hit Killarney, the following morning was absolutely glorious and angelic. There is no way I’m missing this opportunity to paint Chikanishing Creek. I had been there all week long painting by myself, nothing remotely close to a wolf encounter had occurred. Dagwood was the bait, of course no one was willing to accompany still shaken from the previous day’s encounter. So I trudged her alone determined to capture the day. When I got down to my trail head low and behold there they were fresh wolf tracks. Dam I thought as panic set in, he’s hiding in the low canopies, don’t chicken out now Pierre, you got this far, go for it Pierre go for it. Hunting knife in hand I decided to blaze a new trail through the deep snow keeping a keen eye out for Mr. Loupis.
I reach this unbelievable site beside a running beaver dam and set up on the bank in front of it to paint. I can’t hear anything because of the running water. Since I’m already spooked, as a security measure I plant my hunting knife in the snow for quick access when fending off large predators. As an extra precautionary measure every ten minutes or so while painting, I would look over my left shoulder then… I would look over my right shoulder…. believing in my numb skull brain I would get the drop on the varmint as he was sneaking up.
I can honestly say there are no casual connections on the surface level of reality as a huge pile of snow falls out of the tree above, hitting the back of my legs as it landed. Well, son of a biscuit box, don’t you know that wolf had got me? I let out with a powerful scream while launching an Air Jordon Spin- A- Rama another strategic manoeuver for fending off large predators. Landing on my back on top of my wet palette in the snow, believing I’m on the menu, searching for my stupid knife. I come to the realization it’s just me and Mother Nature.
A brilliant performance, a thing of beauty it was. Mr.Loupis howling from the ridge actually gave me a ten. Thank God nobody had seen this foolishness in action as I quickly regained my complexion and carried on with spirited determination. After two strenuous hikes to get my equipment toboggan and wet painting out, exhausted I slide into the driver’s seat of my vehicle oblivious of my new wet palette coat I was now sporting. Where Snow Flakes Fall Thickest.