How many times have I pulled on my backpack and headed for a nearby park to hike, think, look and ponder? Whether I have a lot on my mind, or I just feel the need to get out into nature, Bobcat Ridge Open Space is a ‘go-to’ spot. There, I am free to wander, wonder and ease back into myself.
As I wind through the tall grass, I look for deer, elk, rabbit, turkey vultures, coyotes, and bear. In the spring, I listen for the early call of the meadowlark. And, I hope that I might spot an elusive Rocky Mountain Bluebird. As my feet carry me into the foothills, my mind is free to think or not. Inevitably, I find myself seeking out new compositions, looking for the change of seasons in my favorite spots and planning my return.
This cottonwood has been calling to me since last fall. Although I missed the color change last year, I knew it would make a great subject this summer. After waiting through winter and spring, summer finally arrived. I packed up my plein air gear, hiked out along the trail (a good mile or so with 30+lbs) and set up on a lovely summer day. As the clouds shifted and changed in the sky, I chatted with the tree and those passing by on the trail. As I painted, I thought about taking a nap or having a picnic under the tree’s canopy. Then, about 2 hours into the painting, I heard thunder.
Behind me, building up in the west, a series of thunderheads were forming. It was time to pack up and either take cover or head for the car. Debating between hunkering down and heading for the car, I gambled on the car. Sure enough, just as I reached it, the rain began to fall.
Back in the studio, I put on the finishing touches. While I finished the painting, I reflected on the oasis that Bobcat Ridge has become for me. I hope you have a place where you can go to seek solace from the everyday worries and connect with nature too.