Walking in the woods is one of my favorite things to do. Take two steps into the wild wood, and you are miles away from civilization.
Three steps and you are a world away.
You can close your eyes and take a breath and you can slowly exhale because there is time for that in the woods.
In the woods there is always time.
Listen, and you hear birdsong, or the whisper of trees, or the crackle of branches. Walk and your footfall is the invader. But stop and stand and listen and feel and you are a respectful guest and you understand.
That is how I feel about the woods.
I love to visit the Everglades, the wildest and most diverse area that Florida has to offer, but I have precious little time for that. And hardly time to visit woods at all. But civilization has a solution to that problem: sometimes you can just go to a park. So this last week I took my son Matthew to AD Barnes Park. It's on "Bird Road" (and I like that).
Much of the park is field or playground or picnic area. But on the far corner is the nature trail - most visitors don't know about it - and that is where the magic is. This is where the birds know - they know - to come, because the trees are native and welcoming.
When we arrived at the park, Matthew had fallen asleep in the back seat of the car. I didn't want to disturb him until he'd rested a little. So I parked the car just outside the nature area and combined an old passion with a new; I pulled out my Moleskine and sketched the spot with watercolors. In parts I let the colors flow a little, looser than I'm used to. I'm trying different things, a part of my learning. I feel I'm just beginning to sense some of the secrets of the medium. Just beginning. On the right I tried an impression of branches that are concealed and revealed in sections. I'm not too happy with the way they turned out but not too worried either. I'm just learning after all.
I also cropped this sketch to improve the composition. Rather than do this digitally, or manually cut off a portion of the page, I decided to fold the end of the Moleskine page over. So when I turn the page of the Moleskine, I see the part of the woods I removed, with its lush green and its rounded edges, folded over the blank page. I will keep it like that, and add some compatible drawing on the blank page. Any ideas?
Such fun, - a change so small, like folding the edge of a page in my Moleskine - and it yields such wonder and possibility. It's as though I've walked three steps into the woods. I am a world away.
3 years ago