Juanita Bellavance, Changing terrain, From the Chestatee River portfolio, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches.
On February 3, I visited the river around 6:00 PM. That day I decided to check out the other side of the river. It was an interesting difference as the terrain of the path was wide and clear. It wasn't accessible as far up but was much easier to walk. It's a good thing since I was there until almost dark. On my favorite side, the more raw terrain would have been much harder to get back through in the darker light. In the dusk light, the blue on the sand had a more slate blue cast to it. In the silence of the evening and the hum of the flow of water, I found myself imagining what it might have been like during the days of the Cherokee Nation. They named the river Chestatee because it means "river of lights." The Cherokee would hunt at night in the forest near the river and carried torches to light the way. Some churches have an Easter sunrise service beside a lake or river. I think a December event at the Chestatee River would be inspiring too. People could carry battery-operated torches silently walking a clear path along the river. Then there could be a fire pit where marshmallows were available for roasting, and hot chocolate or hot apple cider. I've experienced an event similar to that in North Carolina in December before. But not the silence along the river part. I love that I can take these inspiring thoughts home so they can linger through my art. It puts me back in the experience.