Today was the last day of my summer vacation. I wanted to mark it with some appropriate ritual. After a summer of hard work and focus, I wanted to spend at least one day in relaxed reverie deep in the woods. My friends Suzi and Dick had told me they knew of a hidden waterfall, tucked away in the remotest parts of a state park, so I asked them if we could spend the day there together.
To their credit, Suzi and Dick know how to live. They immediately embraced the idea of spending a Tuesday in the woods with me. They offered to pack a picnic and a bottle of wine and to show me their hidden treasure. It’s hard for me to leave my work ethic behind, so I had both watercolor paper and a canvas to carry into the woods. Dick led the way. We walked through a creek at a couple of places, and landed at the top of a waterfall. The woods were so old and lovely that the forest floor was covered simply with a carpet of fallen leaves, lush mosses and mushrooms in dozens of shapes and colors. There were several clear paths one could use to find the way to the bottom of the falls.
We chose a big table rock in the middle of the creek to spread a towel on. We ate the wonderful picnic of summer salads and fruits and enjoyed the bottle of wine. We washed away the stickiness and humidity of the outside world in the cool stream, and after lunch settled in for napping, reading, writing and painting. Sometimes the sun would shine and the water would sparkle, its transient patterns exposed for a moment. Other times a cloud would cover us and the woods would take on a moody feeling.
In the woods I quit thinking and was only struck by the true existence of Eden. I knew I wanted to express the motion of the water, from left to right, leaping over stones, turning sharply, bouncing light. I wanted to show the solidity and the three dimensionality of the boulders. I didn’t care if it was right or important to anyone else, or profound, or if it won me recognition. I only wanted to connect to it, and re-express it. I wanted to dance with that creek and play on those rocks, and remember this day all winter, and maybe all my life.