Floppy was a moose with an attitude. With good reason. One ear lay limp on the side of her head. Permanently damaged, presumably from wolves. The scars on her face were evidence of the battles she had survived.
She almost always had a calf by her side. Every year, a new calf.
I had to include a calf in my painting of Floppy. But only a shadow. A few brushstrokes in the woods because the painting is not about calves.
Every appearance of this flop-eared moose made us smile. It was heartening to know she survived another winter. Winters aren’t easy for moose in Alaska and we know that she endured many. Her greying hair was an emblem of her remarkable strength.
Floppy wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything anymore. If she was in the road, it was better to wait until she felt like moving. She was known to charge cars, trucks, dogs, people… anything that aggravated her. She had been through it all and didn’t have time for any foolishness. I saw the look in her eye, and I could see her story. I waited for her to move into the woods before I tried to drive any further.
We looked forward to her visits and watched her amble through in her own sweet time. Her antagonistic nature seemed acceptable and even a little bit charming because of what she had been through. Isn’t that interesting? It makes me wonder if we wouldn’t be more patient with each other if we wore our wounds on the outside like Floppy did.
Floppy doesn’t come around anymore but I like to think about her. She gives me courage. She faced life straight on and didn’t let fear hamper her.
STEPS IN BUILDING THE PAINTING
More information about this painting here.