Marmot Alpine Meadow
(Animal Habitats series)
18″ x 24″ ink, pencil & paint on paper. 2014.
My Anima series explores the shape and form of nature in the Pacific Northwest. Here the marmot is re-imagined as the Pacific Northwest forest meadow ecosystem of plants & animals in which it lives. I hiked Mt. Rainier a few years ago with a whining 6 year old, scarred from the previous summers’ all day hike across the hot Oregon sand dunes to the coast and back. The Mt. Rainier fields were full of prime August blooms, the occasional snow drift, birds, butterflies, and all manner of stunning flora and fauna. As the rest of us exclaimed at each new wonder, the six year old remained unimpressed. “I hate hiking” she pouted each time. “But if you didn’t hike, you wouldn’t be able to see these beautiful things” we’d remind her. “I hate hiking” she’d repeat.
Then we saw a pair of marmots. They were there in the field beyond our path, nonchalantly eating grass together. Our hiking grouped stopped to silently watch a while. The marmots began wrestling each other, each fat furry mass rolling over the other squealing with delight and then sprinting hither and yon across the meadow. We spectators squealed, enchanted by the speed and agility of these creatures that seemed so sedentary at first. The six year old changed her tune. “I LOVE hiking!” she said over and over the rest of the way, now enjoying everything else we encountered that day.