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Alive With Moonlight

Todd Powelson
ORIGINALLY POSTED (to Instagram) JULY 25, 2018
"Alive With Moonlight" by Todd Powelson

New artwork, called "Alive With Moonlight"

In the winter months, I regularly walk up the same canyon near my house, usually after work and after dark. There is a paved road that gets plowed because it is a watershed canyon, but its gated off at the bottom, and nobody drives up that way other than the very occasional water-worker.

It was New Years Eve but, like I say, 2017 was kind of a pain in the ass and I didn’t feel like celebrating at all. I was pretty much done with the holidays. But I did feel like walking, and when I got to my canyon, I did. The next day, New Years, was the full moon… so that night’s Eve the moon was big and bright.

As I walked, I the moon was watching me. Tall trees reach into the sky, branches creating new eye shapes for the moon to peek through with each step. These moon eyes became hypnotic, watching the moon watch me.

After about 1.5 mile, the trees start to move away from the road, and you come into a valley with mountains all around. Directly ahead of me... damn I hope I can describe this well... but directly ahead of me was this giant woman/goddess face staring directly at me! It was there! It was also the mountain, and the moon, but dammit it was a giant face.

I had to stop, clear my eye.. what was I seeing? It was a giant beautiful face, looking down at me. The mouth, nose, chin and neck carved in rock, defined by moonlight. The mountain’s ridge line and night sky defining what looked to be a veil, falling and covering the brow, the eyes, and cheeks. And the only bright eye showing on that beautiful face was the moon, shining through the night sky veil. And she was really there, and she felt very alive, and she was looking right at me. I walked towards her, and she watched me, and she was there. And I didn’t know what to think, and I was overwhelmed, and I was in awe. And I walked towards her. I walked towards her. And she watched.

After about a half an hour I stopped, and looked, and felt. And I didn’t know anything but she was really there.

Eventually I had to turn around, and I felt her watch me go. And I’d turn around to look again, and I see her watching. And she was there, and I felt crazy.

I walked for about a half an hour, the trees starting to come back toward the road. And as I began to walk under the trees again, about 30 yards away, there was a mountain lion. Holy mother! That brought me back, that everything vivid and real. And there the cougar was, and there I was, and she was behind us both, watching.

The mountain lion moved into the trees. I’ve seen them before a very few times (but never in that canyon. Although, a few months earlier, I felt like I was being watched by a cougar and did a drawing: link). Powerful animal, and so beautiful! I don’t know that I feel particularly threatened by cougar, but seeing a large predator like that out in such a solitary place… well, the mind wanders and imagines all sorts of things happening.

I went to bed that night feeling crazy. Drifting off, I wondered if I could handle ever going up that canyon again. But I woke up before sunrise the next morning and immediately headed back up there. In the dawning light, I found the mountain lion’s tracks, heading up towards some caves (I expect) a few hundred yards away up the mountainside. And when I got back home, I made another drawing, trying to understand what I saw the night before (not a great drawing, but I had to get the vision down):

The first few weeks of January I still felt unsettled and sort of crazy. I found myself constantly thinking on these things. Crazy crazy, and I just couldn’t understand anything, and I felt like my mind and life were in chaos. I started to make peace with things though, and even began feeling pretty good about it all.

Toward the end of January, I was working with the Thoth tarot deck, which I don’t do very often. I do love the artwork though… but I was looking and working with it, there was the High Priestess (link). And damn, I had to stop. All I could see was her. Her, and her veil, and the moon.

I ended up drawing her again (better, but still not quite there):

.. and again:

.. and again:

Todd Powelson
Todd Powelson works as a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Visual Artist.

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