An unusually deep snow fell here over the weekend. It greeted the beginning of the weekend–starting just a few moments after I left school, and quickly and magically covered my whole world. I stopped for provisions, filled the woodbox before dark fell, and planned to be forced to relax, eat well, and paint for a few days, without interruption.
All that happened. The days that were gray made the woods look soft and mysterious. I’ve been challenged, in my paintings, to figure out how to represent the dove grays of the woods– so thick that no light shows through–tiny limbs interlaced and overlapping. The texture of limb on limb is subtle, and varies in different lights. The snow showed the lay of the land more clearly than I usually see it. At night the moon was nearly full and I got to see the shadows cast on the snow from its light. The air was so clean and the sky so clear that I was enchanted by the movement of a plane overhead at night– its warm light gliding over the landscape like some slow motion comet.
In daylight I got to observe crazed bird and squirrel behaviors. Birds came from everywhere, and hung like wild earrings from the tree limbs. The cardinals accent the winter world like holly berries, the bluebirds like pieces of clear sky. A leopard spotted bird appeared, with some red markings and turned out to be a Red-naped Sapsucker.
I kept the woodstove loaded and the house grew cozy. One night I cooked venison for dinner , and brussells sprouts from my brother’s farm. Another night my dinner came from the boat of a Gullah shrimper, the former husband of a dear friend. I went out into my own winter garden and cut icicle covered broccoli heads to go with it. Cat got the leftovers and amused me by tackling the remains of a sweet potato. He has learned to love my cooking, I tell myself.
I washed all the bed linens and dried them in the arid heat of the wood stove. For three days I worked on a seemingly insoluble painting problem. It remains to be seen if I will succeed. But I do know this much– three days of quiet, all imperfections hidden under a white sparkling glaze, long soaks in a claw foot tub, home cooking and art can be very restorative.