Friday, May 15, 2009


Spring in Pennsylvania. The wildflowers are stunning, carpets of blue phlox and trillium. I want to catch the treetops on the rolling hills. In these older neighborhoods, all you see from afar is the tops of trees, giving the illusion that I am standing in the middle of a woodland, with only the houses in front of me interrupting the green.

But no, as soon as I travel down the drive, I see that there are houses everywhere.

Which is why I am delighted to find that a half-hour drive takes into a creek valley, with a covered bridge and little riffles in the water.
My mother and I have left it until after dinner to escape to the park. As we drive, the golden colors come into the clouds, and afternoon light comes and goes. By the time I set up my paints in the park, the sun is off the ground, restricting its glow to cloud rims. I set up my backpack easel for the first time, struggle with the straps and ties, and begin to paint. Orange and blue. I am thinking it makes warm and cool grays.

Mom drags her walker down to the creek and sits on the fold-down seat to read. By the time I finish painting, I find her by a peeking of wheels under the bottom of the car. She has gotten cold and is sitting out of the wind.

When I get the painting home, it has turned to brown. Then in my own home, the browns have shifted back to warm greens. Ah, how much difference light makes.

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