When you return from a wild place back to an urban setting, the transition requires an adjustment. You find yourself looking for nature wherever you can, trying to recreate the quiet and peace the landscape gave. So this week, I decided to walk to work – two and a half miles each way. Hiking was what I loved to do, after all, when I was out at Great Basin National Park and other natural spaces. So why not do it at home?
Monday was a difficult day to begin, for as I looked out my window and checked the weather report, it was foggy with drizzles and storms expected in the afternoon. I held to my plan, however, and packed my bag with rain gear ready, praying for an absence of lightning on my return home.
It was a warm day in Wisconsin for the third of December – in the fifties – but it was certainly not a beautiful day, as one would normally consider it to be, rather clouds low and grey. I realized the longer I walked how glad I was to be outside as a soft breeze blew. It made me think of an early morning in spring. I was happy with just this experience. But as I have learned, being outdoors always results in surprises. The surprise this day was a group of about twenty Canada geese appearing out of the fog above me, silently flying southward. I never tire of the grace and rhythm in their flight and so I stopped to admire and watch. Just as soon as they appeared, they were gone again, disappearing into the density of the clouds.
This painting is my memory of that morning. It took me two nights to work on, a matter of a few hours (the struggle certainly present in the thickness of the paint). It is not my best work I will admit and it hardly compares to the experience of that moment, but I felt the necessity to record it. I do not want to forget.
I remember looking at one bird more specifically, as he or she was in the middle of the “v” formation – the brownness of the wings and the white of the chest, hence the reason one is larger.
I was impressed by the intensity of their focus. They paid no attention to me. They simply went forward with their purpose without question.