The Warmth of Family, Friends...and Nature
Over the last few weeks, I'm reminded of how family and friends are so accepting of who I am and how enduring these relationships are. In 2006, I lost the ability to speak during a very emotional and traumatic time in my life. My voice has slowly returned since then after seeing countless doctors, voice coaches and specialists. I'm still challenged when I talk in front of groups or when I'm stressed, but I'm not giving up.
My friends and family haven't given up on me either. These bright lights accept me just the way I am. Loved ones in Colorado and the West, and those from my days in Ohio and the Adirondacks, still keep in touch even though I shy away from talking on the phone. They visit or send a message to remind me they still care. They don't judge or try to fix me. They don't care if I'm quiet in meetings or feel uncomfortable at parties. Or if I reach a threshold in social settings when I need to leave because I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed. They still love me, quirks, flaws and all.
During the most difficult times in my life, nature has always been there for me, too. When I'm out for a walk or sitting by a river, I feel completely accepted and nurtured, and a part of everything around me. Nature's family, too. Plants and animals, rivers and lakes, the sky and the stars; they're all family. I don't have to explain myself or be anything at all. I only have to come and be present. Just be.
Happy winter solstice. May nature be in your family circle during the holidays, and always...
Hike Along Bear Creek
I've started an annual tradition of going for a hike each year on my birthday and reflecting on my life. This year, I headed west of Denver and walked along Bear Creek and spent some time in the woods.
It was so wonderful to be there, listening to the birds and the sound of the river; feeling the sun and smelling the pine. In a word, it was heavenly. No city, no noise, no traffic...just me and nature.
Being in the woods reminded me that it's okay if I'm a little tree in the big forest. It's okay that I'm still growing and learning. The forest and bigger trees, like family and friends, are all around for support. And I hope that in some small way, I'm able to support their growth, too!
Desert Waves Go Home to Ohio
Jenn and Brad, long-time friends from my days at The Nature Conservancy, have always been huge supporters of my art. I've spent many hours caring for Ohio preserves with these two amazing stewards of nature. Jenn recently purchased a set of prints called Desert Waves to give Brad on their wedding anniversary. I was honored.
In Desert Waves, each image is connected by shapes in the sand caused by waves rolling in and falling back to the sea. These shapes also mirror the surrounding hillsides near the Sea of Cortez. Willet footprints show scale. Grains of sand create ecosystems. Waves create mountains. Biological diversity is alive in the tiny, and it's alive in the massive.
Thank you, Jenn and Brad, for your lasting friendship and for inspiring me to keep on painting!
Happy Winter Solstice!
With love for the natural world, I'm inspired to share how species are connected to each other, to their ecosystem homes, and to people around the world. An eternal optimist, I bring into visual form the concept of biological diversity, the unity of all life, and how we're all connected. In our connection lies hope.