The Bridge-Walker and the Dreamer
Stories from the North
Unfiltered Reflections from Wild Alaska
A dear friend and teacher reminded me, chaotic cycles have happened many times before, both in human history and predating humans on the planet. Right now is not all that different.
Yet, she added, something quite important makes this time stand out – more people than ever are awake to the roles we play as humans on earth.
We are tasked with utilizing the gifts of this time – connection, technology, transportation, increased energetic support, to guide us into balance and a healthy relationship with Earth. We all have roles to play.
As an artist, I take on the role of the Bridge-Walker. I connect the dots and deliver messages and wisdom from different people and places. I communicate from personal experience, sharing the stories gifted to me like seeds of awareness in the vast garden of the Universe.
I have recently returned from a month spent in the wilderness of Arctic and Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuges and with the Inupiaq and Yup’ik Eskimos of Northern Alaska. While in these lands I received a bounty of information and experience, and I returned chaotically swimming in its depth. My US Fish and Wildlife Service guide, Roger Kaye, reminded me, “Lindsay, your purpose is to describe to the best of your ability the beauty and intricacy of the relationship between these wild lands and the people who have called them home for thousands of years.” Heading this call, I will create not ignoring the less beautiful aspects of my experiences, but channeling the power of this relationship between human and land. Each artwork is an arrow of intention and a discipline of hope.
I was immersed in cultures and places for which I had no reference point… wow, there’s a beluga whale head on the ground and a lovely Inupiaq woman butchering up the meat… so my journals and sketchbooks became my only outlet for spilling my joys, discomforts, lessons and challenges.
“Whatever you’re going to write, make sure it’s true.”
~ Fred, “Papa” in Kaktovik
The stories I wrote in my journals are raw and potent, yet the images carry truth far better than my words ever could.
Traveling to these remote, pristine places is a privilege I am so grateful for, but knowing the medicine that I carry into each land is also important. With deeper immersion with every step, I began to lose myself, swallowed up in the dance of pain and reverence found on the Arctic Coast and along the Kuskokwim River. A powerful Yup’ik artist in Anchorage warned me, “When you go out on that river, remember to be yourself. Do not separate yourself as an outsider just moving through. Remember the gifts you bring. Do not belittle the work you do because of the context you do it in.”
But I had to learn it for myself. A dissolution of purpose and power occurred, but as I page through journals, photographs, and sketches, I have the opportunity to put the pieces back together. Now, as I begin to draw, I get to honor the wilderness and people I touched and share the lessons, as I lived them, from wacky, utterly unique, Alaska.
I embody the role of the Bridge-Walker. And I embody the role of the Dreamer. Deeply I listen, receiving and staying in awe of the beauty of life. My creations are channels of this beauty.
From the Universe to me. From me to you.
May this cycle of appreciation live on so that we may see balance again.
This is Lindsay’s second summer traveling as an artist in residence with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Wildlife Refuges of Alaska. Her travels are generously supported by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. The artwork produced is used for education, outreach, and Native relations efforts by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She shares her stories and artwork through social media and in art exhibitions around the United States.