The Night Forest


Henri Rousseau. Carnival Evening

The snow has lasted a full week with most areas still completely covered with crisp white glitter formed into a crunchy crust that collapses into powder with each step. The dogs' paws sink deep but still dont find earth, their steps making a rhythmic ca-chunk ca-chunk ca--chunk. Daylight is brilliant but not warm and the landscape is high contrast. Impossibly long icicles have formed on the tin roof edges. Well-traveled pathways are defined by transparent turquoise ice all packed down and slippery.

The night softens the grove of hardwoods and pines into a setting for mystery or myth; that place of enchantment. With snow on the ground, and a full moon, one moves in and out of spot lit openings and pools of shaded indigo. The trees are very black. The hemlocks rise above the horizon with their tips pointing at the stars. There is no sound though; usually I hear the whisper of evergreen needles or tenacious and brittle fall leaves rattling but the air was so still. I was in a trance until I heard a car approaching from the west and I waited for it. It passed above me. I watched the headlights burn first through slits in the guard rail and then through the trees until I saw the red tail lights fade away. Quiet again. I waited for I didnt know what.  I heard an owl with a mighty and deep hoot; a single note repeated in some unknown pattern. It echoed back from the little canyon created by the waterfall and filled the walk with the call of the wild. Tomorrow it will rain and wash this magical snow away, and life will return to the normally scheduled winter of subtle colors with a persistent sameness of hue. 


  1. A lovely ode to the magic of snow, dear Chicky.

    Alas, in my part of the world we tend to end up with ice in various forms, and a whole lotta slush. And who in their right mind would try to compose an ode to slush?

    Stay warm,

  2. All the snow has melted here, leaving a drab sort of grey in the wake of all that melting.

  3. A beautiful post filled with the imagery of snow and the enchantment of your surroundings and forest.
    When there is no sound that is what I describe as 'the white silences amongst the falling snow'.
    There is so much detail and love in your words, you paint a rich and beautiful landscape of white, evergreen needles, black trees, turquoise and spot lit openings of moonlight amongst the trees and pools of shaded indigo.
    I love the painting you have chosen, the colours are amazing, when I first saw it I thought you had painted it.

    xoxoxo ♡

  4. I have always loved Rousseau so you know I appreciate your visual.

    The "subtle colors with a persistent samness of hue" is why
    Winter is my enemy.

  5. For a southern gal, you sure have a way with winter :o)

    Our snow is at the icing up stage now, the result of day time temps in the fifties that plunge into the twenties and teens at night. So the trails are ice rinks first thing in the morning. I have a snowshoe race at the top of the mountain this weekend and dread the thought of navigating all that slick. Maybe this week will bring some fresh powder, the best kind.

    I hope your rain doesn't create a mud bog.

  6. eggy: oh I dont know, maybe the makers of Icee's and slush puppies? I pray for slush today. Im overdue for being in florida and I cant get out of here. still a ton of snow and under that ice pack. It might rain today. PLease! please rain.

    faery: agreed, after the snow? blah.

    dianne: thank you. I think about you every time i see an australia in the flood news story. You are not near this though, is that right? Rousseau is like a spiritual Godfather to me. He wasnt a part of the stuffy salon scene...he was like a folk artist of his time. Do you remember the painting i did of the girl and the buck in the forest that i dedicated to you? It was a rip-off of this painting. or should i say "homage"?

    fishy: winter is far from my enemy. but the adventure i wrote about just a few days ago has become a bit of a hardship now that i got the truck stuck in the driveway yesterday. I cant even go to Blue RIdge now.

    moi: im worried about a mud bog too. I made a real mess when i tried to use the truck to rough up the driveway enough to make a path for the car to get out. Now the truck cant get out either...not enough weight in the back anymore. I have two girlfriends coming over today from a few counties over. they are on their way to Alabama. Anyway, im going to have them sit in the back of the truck and maybe, just maybe it will be enough to get out. I have made a pretty bad mess of the driveway. I'll need to scrape and gravel it this spring. gah!

    good luck on the race this weekend!

  7. What beautiful writing, chickory. I felt like I was standing next to you. I love this painting. Perfect to look at while reading your words. :) We are covered in ice. I will take snow any day! xox Pam

  8. Snowmelt swollen stream.
    The left-bank collapses in.
    Which side is alee?

  9. gorgeous words & painting
    thanks for helping me see my way

    xo Susan & the Dee

  10. ps just checked out your etsy shop. Love the banner, and love your new folky board animals. LOVE them !!

  11. All of that beauty can also make a prison, I'm sorry you're stuck and hope things improve today. When we had a big storm two years ago I was so tired of trying to work/live with all of the snow that dumped and wouldn't go away after a week.

    That said, reading your post, gave me goose bumps. Really beautiful. xoxox. Do I need to send in Chocolate? Does UPS deliver??

  12. Revelation! Rousseau and your snow prayer = why it is that In the Night Garden so attracts! After all this time, too. You really are a friend with my own heart.
    And every word is on target. The past few nights taking Bernie out late, I see the snow on the mountain glows.

    ...crisp white glitter formed into a crunchy crust that collapses into powder with each step. The dogs' paws sink deep but still dont find earth, their steps making a rhythmic ca-chunk ca-chunk ca--chunk...
    Elegant, powerful.

  13. I have to say, that my "condition" has left me all but a fan of winter. Normally, I love winter, wearing my favorite sweaters, and drinking hot tea while bundled up tight in layers upon layers and ear warmers and cute beenie caps.

    Not so much right now. The cold does a number and causes severe pain and makes me miserable. I hope once baby comes, I won't despise the cold so much.

    baby updates up. :) xo.

  14. No dear chickory, thankfully I am nowhere near the floods, thanks for thinking of me.
    Yes my dear of course I remember the painting of the girl and the buck in the forest that you so kindly dedicated to me, I will never forget it ... as soon as I saw this painting I thought it was one of yours, your painting was such a beautiful 'homage' to Rousseau.

    xoxoxo ♡

  15. Pup, youse a painterly writer.

  16. this is a little off topic for this post but in older ones you mentioned researching other venues to sale besides etsy...have you tried I just opened a store over there and it seems to have gotten good reviews and the best's free. Just thought I'd pass the info along since you are such an inspiration! Thanks for everything...
    (still haven't decided on a printer yet)

  17. you are a painterly writer! just like auntie belle said.

    i hope you can get unstuck soon. today was a gloriously mild day. maybe that melted enough of your snow for you to get unstuck.

    monday night we had snow .. again. it was kind of funny really. it was predicted then not predicted predicted then not predicted, etc. ad infinitum. now we are going through the same predictions for tomorrow night.

  18. yoborobo: it was packed ice under the snow. i swear it would have been smarter to take a pick axe to it. My rib muscles have never hurt like this. I loved it for days...around day 5 i was like, "hey, wait a minute. this isnt melting!"

    MBG: i looked up alee and still cant formulate a clever response. But the stream rarely swells because of the elevation drop down stream....big waterfall to a very low bottom land. after hurricane Andrew was the biggest flow ive seen.

    susan: thank you! i have many more folk art paintings at my new shop on big cartel

  19. Boxer: i had chocolate...but not too much so i rationed it out. When i couldnt get the car out i knew i was staying longer than planned. Let me just say that i will have to grade the driveway after this. In the truck i some how slid against a tree. wasnt easy working out of that. But I am out and in the city today and planning to leave for florida this weekend.

    nina: oh how many times have I drawn from the endless well that is Rousseau. My favorite outsider artist. A regular guy -a journeyman painter. and naive in the purest best sense. What fine companions the dogs were for this event. I felt like i was living in a Jack London novel.

    Kym: well, i can surely understand that. I will be by later today. its very exciting news.

  20. dianne: i am so relived! thanks for the update.

    aunty: thank you!

    moi: finally. back in the city and just in time. more snow for blue ridge tonight. i just checked my security cameras...still very snowy from the 10th.

    hilary: i havent heard of store envy but i am going to take a look now. my new shop is on big cartel
    do you still have your Etsy shop?

    foam: you never know! But i have to head south this weekend and looked like i had to make a break for it yesterday. The car barely made it out and i couldnt have done it without 200 pounds of hound weight, sacks of chicken feed and a few ounces worth of chicken.

  21. Up here you see "Caution: Falling Icicles" signs posted everywhere.

  22. So glad you're back in the city and I just visited your new shop and filed up a cart. LOVE THEM ALL.

    Everyone now has no reason not to own their own piece of wonderful Chickory art!

    Get 'em while they last people.


  23. I love my virtual life in the country with you. So different from my life in subtropical, flat swamp land. No hills, no chooks, no mountains, no clean, crisp air and certainly no snow glittering in the full moonlight. Thanks for this, chickory.

  24. Hey Chickory! I emailed you about coming by the farm, but not sure you got it? Call us if that's still a possibility - 229-382-0269

  25. Hey Chickory, Jessica here. I agree with Tripp. Stop by the new farm when you can. We'd love to see you.

  26. Still glistening white, huh? Could be worse. Up here it turns charcoal gray in a hurry.

  27. I hope you aren't still snowed in, but if you are, I hope you are warm, dry, well fed, enjoying the animals, and creating. Except I'm creeped out by the characters in the artwork. Can't help it, sorry.

  28. Yes, I still have my etsy shop(runningdevil)...just about the time I decide to close it I make 4 sales...who knows? I'm going to check out your Big Cartel. Good Luck with it!

  29. I have never seen this picture, It captured me. Along with your words. It is all of a piece that I have no words to express.
    I sit here staring at it speaking to me.
    Thanks for that.

  30. indigo fair weather
    evergreen grows
    whispering moon beams
    warm fire glows
    feather tipped star trails
    wandering far
    wild pounding freedom
    reaching in heart
    weaving the wind
    sewing the seems
    old weaver weave
    lift upper streams
    up to the heights
    intensity touch
    brush the tree tops
    the breeze inner rush


  31. mj: did you happen to see that footage of the javelin like icicles falling from big cell towers? People were running around screaming. grrherhahaha

    boxer: YOU should be my agent - too bad youre too busy conquering the world of plastics! thank you I hope you enjoy them.

    la diva: high praise. im glad you liked it. and now i plan to travel to semi-tropical climes tomorrow. the land of live oak and rolling hills, horse farms and crystal springs.

    tripp and jessica: i absolutely plan on stopping at the farm - im blogging it! But it will be on the return trip. I cant wait!

    xdell: it never went gray. it did go brown though when i rutted up my driveway in the truck. what a mess. I have never seen this kind of snow in georgia - certainly not this early and not this many times already. very weird.

    pam: well i am dry. not exactly warm-my husband wont let the heat go above 65. so i dress like im outside inside. I bet you hate clowns too. grherhahaha. i understand!

    hilary: i dont see any harm in having it open - im just not going to nurse it as i did before -because Etsy controls the seo gateway and we all know there is a problem with the same people getting FP exposure. I dont like how they run things over there but I still manage to sell something now and then. Can you send a link to your shop envy site? I would like to see it.

    burnie: welcome! I have returned to Rousseau again and again because like modern outsider artists, he seems to tap into something that is on a subconscious level.

    neil: you are so good at this! Your poems are a delight. i loved "sewing the seems"


  33. thankyou chickory,its the same for your art works words and everything am sorry I didnt write a poem sooner.....
    definately agree rousseau's artworks give off deep underlying abstract tones
    or something

    ...really good stuff..neil

  34. It rarely snows here in TX and it never lasts more than a couple of days on the ground.

    On the other hand, when I lived in MI the snow lasted Nov-Apr.

    [I'm late because the rss feed didn't tell me about this post]

  35. Hi!
    I've discovered your blog and your beautiful paintings ( I adhore "5 minutes before you get home" and "Night forest Buck") thanks to Sharon's blog and giveaway...oh how much I would love to win the Hen much!
    Thank you for this chance,

  36. Barbara Iobst1/25/2011 11:03 AM

    Ande, got a book of Rousseau's jungle paintings for Christmas. Your art sings of his, as well as Charley Harper's.


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