Giraffe Hunting in Fernie

As we head into the darkest month of the year a feeling of quiet anticipation descends on Fernie. Many are excited to see the first flakes of snow in anticipation of all the fun they will bring, others resign themselves to the months of shovelling and winter driving ahead. Either way, it is a time of transition; a time to reset and settle in for the season, make plans and create routines. November feels more like winter in Fernie but seasonally it marks the end of Fall - traditionally known as a quieter season, although newcomers might be surprised to hear this.

Over the past month Fernie has buzzed with events big and small from the Gillbilly Festival through six days of the Elk Valley Pride Festival, Thanksgiving with the miniature therapy ponies at the Barn to Oktoberfest at Fernie Alpine Resort and on towards all the fun of Halloween. As these larger events attracted crowds, smaller regular events have started to fill the calendar once again. In preparation for the Festival of Lights later this month the Arts Station has been hosting a series of lantern-building workshops (continuing through November), and the Ghostriders made their emotional return to the Fernie Memorial Arena. At the time of writing the ‘Riders sit comfortably in the middle of the division with 14 points and a strong showing for the start of the season.

Following a busy month assisting with the Fernie Chautauqua, Tourism Master Plan Launch and Fuze Pride Party and planning several more events to follow soon after, I was happy to take a break to visit the opening night of Marcus Oclee’s exhibit of paintings Eye of the Soul at Inside Out Wellness. This inviting space regularly hosts small gallery shows with an opening night reception to meet the artist. Oclee’s show primarily features a combination of two subjects – motorcycle racing and exotic animals. Striking in their close composition, each piece focuses on simple contrasts and bright colours, or a monochrome palette. A gentle portrait of a giraffe against a black background stood out to me, there is something very calming about the piece. Chatting with the artist, I learned that the study is a tribute to a late friend, inspired by another giraffe painting by the deceased’s husband. Oclee was inspired to work on a gentler piece that clearly shows the connection the friends had. In all the hustle and bustle of the month that giraffe was a welcome moment of calm. Whether it’s an art show, a walk through the amber leaves in Annex Park, the Festival of Lights or a yoga retreat, make sure you find your calm this fall before the winter arrives. Marcus’ show can be seen at Inside Out Wellness until December 12.