MERRITT VIEW @24X20 2004

Life on Isle Royale, for artist in residence, required some guidance and measure of safety. My host family, Dick and Mary, showed me the ropes for lighting gas lights, stoves, refrigerators and filtering water. Once a day I would radio in that I was okay. My hosts were my life line in a life very close to that at the turn of the century...the one before last. The tiny dwellings were cobbled together with materials ferried over to the island in the last 200 years. Butcher blocks had a century of nicks cleaning fish. Victrolas, bread tins, and hand turned washing machines revealed eras long forgotten on the mainland. Everything had value and purpose . The generosity of my host, and the other island dwellers were the reason the park exists. They ceded their titles to create the park. Three generations were given access. We are at the end of their claims. As the homeowners withdraw, their structures are reclaimed by ice and wind. What is left behind disappears through oxidation and rot. It is humbling to watch history retreat and nature advance. Most everywhere else the opposite occurs. I appreciate these families foresight and sacrifice. Behind me stands generations building a toe hold on a rock. Before me is a campfire and the promise of a pristine wilderness.

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