I have to get out.
Out from enclosure; out from a roof and four walls.
I’ve spent all my summer under a roof and already there’s the whisper of autumn in the air.
I need coolness. And damp. A cool damp place where parched dust doesn’t blow and the grass isn’t brittle from the heat.
I’m craving green aspens.
So it was that yesterday I loaded my paint kit , some water, an apple and a thermos of chai into my pack and headed up into the high reaches of the Santa Fe mountains….
And found myself again on the Aspen Vista Trail.
|escaping to the aspen vista trail (santa fe) ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 8″ x 10″ ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013
So quiet. Nothing but the sound of leaves quivering in the breeze, the high-pitched buzz of an insect or two, and the rare murmur of hikers’ voices.
Otherwise, perfect silence.
I heard a stone fall.
And then …another.
Then a rush of sliding pebbles and dirt..
when this hole appeared
in this bank, directly to my right, right off my painting elbow:
and soon, I was being watched
The challenge of the day** — which is, of course, the constant challenge when plein air painting — was dealing with the ever-changing light, as there were patchy clouds all day. Here it’s overcast. When the sun did shine through, it was fleeting, but oh so glorious.
*other than the fact that my feet hurt. The one thing worse than painful hiking boots that are too small, is knowing that I sized and sold myself those same hiking boots a year ago in my brief stint working in the shoe department at REI. Good thing I’m no longer selling footwear to people! (good for a number of reasons, that.) The happy ending to this story is that the boots were replaced on the way home with a less graceful but much more comfortable half size up. Whew! [And no, I did not trade in my old pair and take unreasonable advantage of REI’s generous return policy. That they were the wrong size is my own fault, not theirs. I will find someone to give them to.]