It is 11pm and my stomach is in knots. I am scheduled to leave tomorrow and I really, really do not want to go. It is a process that takes place on all of my wilderness excursions. Today I had finally found the flaxen stallion. I was way out on the beach, having returned to the location of the ancient mast when I looked up on the hill and saw him grazing. He was standing high above a group of seven horses. This stallion has the most amazing copper coloured coat and light blonde, or flaxen, mane and tail. It is a stunning colour and I was determined to spend whatever time was necessary to get a good shot of him. I knew from last summer that he was very shy so I took my time approaching. I had nothing but time for him today. What soon became apparent is that he was now a bachelor. He paid no attention to the herd below him which now appeared to be led by a young dark brown stallion. “Flaxen” was a shadow of his former self. He was expectedly thin, as many of the stallions are at this time of year, but there was something lost about his being. His eye lacked its former life spark and he seemed depressed. Though I followed him for hours, he kept his tail turned towards me most of the time and never picked his head up from the ground. I returned to the herd that had once been his and admired a yearling colt. He had the same deep copper with flaxen mane and tail and he carried himself with confidence. I was pleased to see that Flaxen’s line would.
My departure was scheduled for 2pm and as the skies cleared to a bright blue it was obvious the flight would arrive without delay. I took the video camera and went west to spend the last morning with two family groups near the west ponds. It is always the same when you come to Sable… the best weather is the day you arrive and the day you leave.
As I loaded my gear on the truck destined for the runway, Zoe Lucas appeared carrying a cardboard box. She opened the lid and showed me my parting gift. Two horse skulls to show at my next exhibit! Surprised and elated, it made the goodbyes just a little easier. As we lifted off from the south beach I marvelled at the site below me. The slightest hint of green was beginning to appear on the dune tops, seals played in the crystal blue water and the white breakers glinted in the sun. I scanned the extreme tips of the island as we flew by and made mental notes of where I would go for expedition number three.
During this expedition Debra captured over 10,000 images on Sable Island. She has selected the top 25 images which will be revealed for the first time at the Okotoks Art Gallery. You are invited to the opening reception Wednesday June 30 7-9pm, 2010. The exhibit will continue until September 6, 2010.