The March/April 2014 Saturday evening post. Enjoy the Rockwell inspired cover art and get ready for mad men in April!
The artist himself is gone.
I remember someone sending me his obit what seems like ages ago.
Today, revisiting the remnants of our snowstorm, I found myself headed toward the trapper hut where his vision shown brightly. It seemed fitting to take photos of the place in black and white, despite him being one of the most colorful characters I’ve ever met, despite his art pleasing me like few masterpieces could. Black and white is a mourning color and that’s what I did on my visit, mourn his loss, silently praise his legacy.
Like him, they were honest, there was no pretense in finding this and that in the woods, a cypress knee, a perfectly-formed maple leaf, the ball from a gum berry tree that he used to accentuate his prehistoric art.
We formed a kinship, in good times and bad times, when I thought my relationship was over with a girlfriend, I went to visit him, not to ask for advice, just to visit and hear stories about his work with the Works Progress Administration and to marvel at his craftsmanship, his imagination, using his mind to create a creature that could be lurking in the woods before both he and I were thoughts in our parents heads and beds.
I have two pieces that I treasure, wouldn’t trade for anything, their value already high, but no price I could think of that would be high enough to make me part with them.
A twinge of pain filled my being and I felt tears form in my eyes as I looked at the for sale signs on the property, the little house the way I remembered it, the trapper hut and its contents both inside and out the same since the last time I visited years after his death, the last time I visited when he was still alive, telling his tales of panning for gold, running excavation equipment and creating.
Creating was my favorite thing about him, how he used his art to salvage pieces of the earth so we might remember to use it wisely and lightly in our comings and goings on it.
I wondered how maybe it’s my destiny to buy the place — not sure if the trapper hut is included — so I can reopen it to teach future generations about the treasure right in our backyard, closer than traveling to Raleigh or Richmond, something we can call our own and be proud of the legacy he gave us.
That’s something deep on my mind now as this area is notorious for taking the good and laying it to waste without even a thought of the significance behind it.
I, however remember, I appreciate and would like to thank you, Q.J. Stephenson, for making me more appreciative of the simple things, for inspiring my own creativity through words and for the passion you mixed in your work.
Although your spirit and breath is gone you left us with your treasure and your passion and I’m thankful I knew you.