After repeat visits to Silent Lake Provincial Park, which by coincidence fell exactly four weeks apart, my family and I were struck by the subtle and fascinating transformation of the park's ecology from one month to the next. Typically, the changes in a familiar landscape are most notable from season to season. We realized the depth of the transitions which we were missing in not being present for the subtle changes over the course of a year. Inspired by our discoveries, we decided to continue to visit the park each month. Our year would take us from May of 2022 through to May of 2023. At each visit, we agreed we would spend at least three days exploring the park's trails. We camped in different areas of the park; in different weather; in cabins, yurts, and our tent. We sat at the edges of ponds silently watching life whirr around us, we paddled the lake, swam at beaches and islands, and even walked on water (well, across the ice past fishing huts in February).
We have taken several thousand photos between us. As our year at the park approaches an end, I am beginning the work of pouring over my photographs, notes, and drawings. I am researching the region to learn more about what has made this place so ecologically rich. My goal is to create a series of illustrations which capture the highlights we witnessed during each month at the park. I hope, as well, to create other visual guides highlighting the diversity of lichens, fungi, mosses, and other often overlooked features of wild places. This collection, paired with writing, will be collected here as it is developed.
My husband, five-year-old daughter, and I have so loved this experience — and so deeply benefited from it in ways we could not have imagined — that we are continuing the project with a new park for 2023. In January, we began this same process of monthly visits at Charleston Lake Provincial Park. The park is closer to our home and will make our exploration more financially feasible as we can visit the park in day trips rather than lengthy stays.
View my first images of A Year at Silent Lake — created for June and August — below. More photos, writing, and artwork to come!
June, Silent Lake
August, Silent Lake