Sunday, June 5, 2011

On Safari

Greetings Dear Reader, it’s so nice to have you stop by.
Lately, with the changing of the season (here in Nebraska it’s like a locomotive coming down the tracks at full speed) I’ve felt the need to refresh my stack of reference photos.  Trees grow, split and tip over to reveal new compositions or spark fresh ideas.  Plus, it’s a good reason to go for a long drive on a lovely spring day and hang out with Handsome Husband.
With a full gas tank, charged camera batteries and no time frame, we headed out to find photo-worthy scenery. 

It appears at first glance that my corner of the world is a fairly flat, cultivated place. Mostly farmland, there aren’t many – or any – wide rushing rivers leading to dramatic waterfalls crashing down mountain cliffs.  No dizzying hills looking out on blue oceans.   However, with an eye toward what lies just beyond that field of freshly tilled dirt, in the shadow of an old cottonwood with its roots buried deep by a muddy creek, there are jewels to be discovered.  And so we set out on a safari of sorts with eyes tuned in to whatever might be lurking just around the corner. 

We drove miles of country road, squaring the leveled fields neatly at 90 degrees.   I’ve got bed sheets with more interesting contours.  It wasn’t until we missed a turn, literally taking the road less travelled, that our first treasure was revealed.   
As we crested a hill (one of the few around) the earth dropped away and the world suddenly got much larger.  Spring rains have renewed this old creek, and the pastures have responded as well.

Further down this same road we noticed a low area, a ditch really, still holding water from a downpour the day before. 

The sun was rising higher in the sky causing deep shadows.  The lush response of wild grasses and flowers to water puddling in the undergrowth revealed a corner of Eden, a mere 50 yards long and 30 yards wide. 

A few miles further a glance down an impassable dirt road brought us to the edge of another slice of paradise, smaller than the last but a treasure nonetheless. 
These tiny gems don’t have a long shelf life. They’ll disappear, go dormant, and re-appear unexpectedly.
The trick is to be aware, to be ready, to anticipate not where they’ll be, but that they will be, somewhere right under our noses, just beside the road we’ve driven down a hundred times before.  I've done my homework and I'm ready, excited really, to get to my easel and paint.

 ©2011 Patricia Scarborough  County Road, Heading South   16 x 20 oil

1 comment:

Hannah said...

I really like this post because it takes me back in my mind to the time I spent in Iowa as I grew up. We traveled there each summer to visit my dad, and I made many long bike trips along country roads--where, despite many folks thoughts about the midwest,--there were indeed many treasures to be found. That verdant green feeling is a precious one for me. What I really like about the post is how you've ended it with one of your wonderful pastel works, completing the safari for us.