01 December 2016

The Dead Swamp

I'm so excited to have finished the third painting in my childhood memory series. I've been having so much fun taking a break from other work making these, and I have a fourth forming in my mind already.

The Dead Swamp is located in southeastern Massachusetts and feeds into the larger Hockomock Swamp. In Wampanoag, the name Hockomock translates into "place where spirits dwell", and my childhood experiences there could corroborate that name. During the seventeenth century, the Hockomock Swamp was used as a fortress by the Wampanoags against invasion by early white settlers. It played a role in King Philip's War as a strategic base of operations for Metacomet (also known as King Philip) to launch assaults upon nearby white settlements. My town was largely unscathed because of the friendship between Metcomet and the Leonard family who operated the first Iron Works in the new colony. The Dead Swamp provided not only fish and game, but also inland protection from some of the harsher New England seasons. While the swampy areas have their beauty of flora and fauna, there's a much darker side to this mystical place. There have been accounts dating back to the 1700s of will o' the wisps (or feu follet), poltergeists, large thunderbirds, ghost dogs, and  larger than life snakes. All this makes the provides the perfect combination to fuel a young girl's imagination.

On one cold, fall day... this very swamp called our names. From just over the hill, where the path lead into the swamp, we heard a whisper that carried towards us as we biked up the hill. First I heard it, then my friend. There was no denying that this was no ordinary voice. And it wasn't the last time that the woods called my name.

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