Now, you may not be wanting to see more snow this morning, but I just finished this painting and was eager to share it with you. I hate the stuff, myself, except, isn’t it pretty? Also, I appreciate it for its vital role in the health of the ecosystems here. This particular ecosystem, a complex of sedge meadows and black oak savannas arranged in ridges at the western edge of Lake Michigan, is one that I used to know like the back of my hand. I spent so much time here it was practically home. It was here that I learned about geological history written on the, er, shifting sands. Walking among the dunes with botanists and birders, I learned most of what I know, and found my artistic voice.
Then, as so often happens, life moved me along and I found myself exploring other places. Not as good, really, but nice in there own way. Closer, for one thing, and at nearly $4 a gallon of gas, that matters. I traded intimacy of place with the riches of wider diversity. Thousands of acres, miles of trails. Life was going faster, and I gained so much in experience… yet always something was tugging at my sleeve.
When I can, I go back. I see again the younger dunes, still shifting, and the older dunes, holding more organic matter, supporting a handful of plant species, and still older dunes, supporting trees. But now I am a visitor. I realize that part of what was tugging at my sleeve was my younger self. It is good to be with her again, once in awhile. To remember what she knew and thought and felt.
These were the things I thought about as I worked on this painting the past few weeks.
What parts of yourself call to you, and where do you go to find them?