Thursday, August 30, 2012

Memories of Cactus Lake

We are back from a trip to Saskatchewan feeling energized and inspired. I have begun working on an artist book project based on my memories of my hometown, Cactus Lake. Here is a sample of some of the images and text I've been working with.

The Arrowheads of South Cactus Lake

Dad would know instinctively when the conditions were right for hunting arrowheads in the spring. It had to be dry and windy for a few days for the light sandy soil to reveal the implements. We'd head out to Fischer's field to our favourite hunting spot and search for pieces of flint, scrapers and arrowheads. One day I found an arrowhead made out of metal worked from a barrel hoop. I used to daydream about the people that lived on our land before us and felt a sense of loss and the tragedy that they had been driven from this place. I loved my collection of implements and kept it in a birch bark box decorated with porcupine quill roses.

One day I got tired of waiting for dad to take me out hunting. I hopped on my bike and used my own instincts to find a field that looked right. Sure enough, I did find a beautiful point that day all on my own. I left home soon after to go away to school and I've always missed those spring hunts with my dad walking together on wind blown fields in silent meditation. Some people are beach combers, searching for treasure washed up by the tide, but we were land combers, witnessing the slow erosion of the sandy soil of the Palliser triangle.

I feel these tools should be housed and taken care of in a location close to the site where they were found. They contain a profound sense of place, of Cactus Lake. They don't really belong to me, they belong to the land. I am almost ready to let them go.


  1. Crazy photos! So abandoned and laden with a former life. Looking forward to your book.

  2. Hey,just purchased the old store. Beautiful site and a beautiful story

  3. Thanks Nickolas,
    We are so pleased you are making good use of it. Hope to meet you some day when we come back to visit.


  4. I worked for the rm of cactus lake a few years ago. I have some pics of the town and surrounding area. I'd love to share them with you. Feel free to email me anytime.