Looking towards Santiago -‘west’ on Painted Steps- the next little picture I painted is The Wild Boar / El Jabalí.
Leaving Carrión De Los Condes (before the pueblo of Moratinos), the main route looked quite flat. It was bone straight, and edged the highway. So, encouraged by our Camino friend Terry (who was walking for the 2nd or third time.) we took the alternative route or ‘variante balise’ as it was marked in our guide book “Miam-Miam DoDo”.
The path led us up into a rolling landscape of tilled fields between scrub tree hills. We didn’t mind that it was uphill and a little farther. We were in good shape.
Throughout that section of the land we saw only two people, one driving a tractor, the other hoeing a field. We waved and yelled Hola! He seemed glad, waved and called back.
Terry had walked on down round the next curve. I looked ahead into a field of ripening grain, saw a dark shape standing stalk still. An animal cut-out? a buffalo, a baby moose?
It caught scent or sight of us, instantly turned and bounded off up the scrub-covered hillside bordering the field. A wild boar, the sanglier of Asterix & Obelix fame! It dodged through tufts of thicket to emerge and bound along the crest of the hill in perfect silhouette. Powerful, fast, beautiful.
A perfect birthday gift for my partner. A reward for literally 'taking the road less traveled’.
We were so pleased! I didn’t get a photo, it happened so fast. So for Painted Steps I looked for pictures on the internet.
I was taken aback to discover that boars are often considered either as pest animals, or as big game. They are pictured as infesting human space, like the deer in nature-loving Victoria, raccoons in Montreal, or foxes in other towns & cities. Or, they are chased, cornered with trucks and dogs to harass them into vicious dangerous beasts, worthy challenges to mighty hunters. (I recall the ‘Order of the Boar’ from Heinrich Boll’s Billiards at half-past Nine. The meaning is retroactively resonant.)
Apparently boars occasionally wander into the suburbs of Madrid. The problem of the wild boar’s loss of natural habitat and interface with humans is augmented by the creation of feral hogs, farmed pigs abandoned into the ‘wild’ by industries finding them not profitable.
I also found a picture of a boar sow crossing a dirt road with a string of furry, striped piglets trotting behind in single file like ducklings!
And I did find some photos that reflected the boar of my experience. I painted 3 boar pictures but hopefully in a way that suggests they are three positions of one creature in movement.
Or so I thought!
Since then, in a casual way I’m adding to his length to his legs peaking through the grass- the longer grass.
I went back to the photos and yes I’ve painted it only up to his elbows. His legs are really longer. Perhaps one of the reasons he reminded me of a baby moose is that when I saw the moose he was sunk deep in the snow.
Hi Sandy, Hi Denny, thanks for the moose!