A Birds Home

Life moves fast.

In our world, we are all busy without break: work, meetings, sports, house and yard chores, and deadlines for everything. Sadly, we try to squeeze more juice out of every minute, without taking the time to acknowledge, much less appreciate, the smallest gifts we are given everyday.  I, however, am fortunate that despite the many tasks I face in the day, I have developed a deep connection to the Earth, which has returned to me a sense of calm and an outlet for my creativity. 

Sharing a walk in the woods with my family is a childhood memory that inspired me to become the person I am today.  I have memories of stepping out the back porch door, eagerly approaching a path that wove from our cottage to the lake. The ground was a thick rug of worn conifer needles soft to the silent footfall, and the warm breeze was fragrant of earth and pine.

A wooden bridge over the creek became a balcony from where we could admire the wildflowers pulling their vitality from the wet ground below and sharing their vibrant colors with the surrounding shades of green, while their cheerfulness sang and lifted our souls. We would hike down a hill to the lake’s edge, bordered as it was with large rocks, and see the dock floating softly in the cool water that gently lapped at its sides.

The forest never tired of filling our childhood with its endless wealth of simple activities. My sisters and I collected sticks to make crafts and gathered wildflowers that my mom would dry and arrange in a stoneware crock to brighten the hearth’s décor.  We painted flowers on smooth rocks that we had found and gave them to our friends as gifts. In the summer, we could find treasure troves of blueberries that we would pick until our small hands and mouths were a sticky, vivid shade of violet. When we brought them home, Mom would magically turn them into a flavorful jam.

My dad would regularly load up our station wagon for picnics with the checked buffalo wool blankets and baskets of bread and garden-fresh tomatoes, and then we would jump in the back seat, anticipating our next adventure. Dad led us on many adventures that shaped our lives and developed our strengths, and despite his busy schedule as a successful businessman, he always made time to walk in the woods with us. He taught us that there is good everywhere.

Spring brought new life, in its simplest form--emerging flowers, plants, leaves and bugs. Mom always anticipated the return of the migratory songbirds like the return of an old friend. It brought us such pleasure when a bird would decide to make a nest close enough for us to study the nest construction, color of the eggs, and the way the mother bird would sit, wait and watch, feed and sleep. Sometimes they would build their nests in the grapevine wreath on our door.  The return of the American Robin to the yard marked the end of winter, bringing the hope of summer’s warmth. They seemed to represent wisdom and confidence while cheerfully pulling the worms out of the garden after the spring rain.

“A Bird’s Home” brings me back to the serenity and happy times we shared as a family at our lake house. It was there that we found solitude and escaped the pressures of our hectic lives. This painting is a representation of the wisdom to make good choices and the freedom to live simply. The inspiration came from my mother’s love and respect for nature, and her caring, nurturing disposition.

The shapes of a bird’s small frame create a whimsical pattern full of color in my mind. I feel the freedom of the birds in flight and am compelled to express the wind in their wings through Avian Art. I am now envisioning the characteristics of a proud bird such as the black crow, a bird I would love to paint in the fall.

Perhaps we cannot bring the grindstone pace of our hectic lives to a stop, but perhaps if, for a few moments now and again, we could slow down enough to breathe in the fresh, earthen air, and appreciate the simplest of life’s many gifts, we could build an oasis of tranquility and escape.

The walk in the woods never ends. It is a living project of work and rest, “the art of  life.” When it ends for one, another will take her place to walk in the woods, see the birds, and touch the forest floor…