Warm sun, bitter cold wind, stiff white paint, and coffee warming my hands to enable me to place that one black branch that first captured my imagination. Reaching out, like a hand beckoning me to come closer. Fingers of dried twisted leaves move with the cold wind sending a bitter chill through me. Who else might be wandering these woods? Ghosts of past farmers whisper to me as I struggle to mix the colors on my palette.
Shadows of passing clouds play with my mind as colors come and go. The old oak with it's tattered coat of bark shows scars from a hundred winters. A burl grows just under its first limb hiding an inner beauty for a different kind of artist to find. My branch sways with a gust of wind, drawing me back to the task I have set for myself.
A second concept beings growing in my head as I become part of the landscape around me. I feel the ground beneath my feet as if roots were reaching out anchoring me in place, bringing me closer to the life around me. No squirrels, no birds, just trees and yellow ochre grass - yet I feel life around me. A squirrel might be peeking down from it's nest of dried leaves high in the branches of this sturdy giant. A dozen such nests in surrounding trees may be holding an audience of inquisitive creatures. In the distance a lone figure has started a fire. Blue smoke drifts through the trees and thoughts of my boy scout days drift through my head...
My painting takes on new memories and new meanings as I near completing my task. The bitter cold is gone from my head, but remains in my fingers and feet as I place the finishing touches to my painting. A new me filled with new ideas, fresh ideas, places my prize on the passenger seat. Scraping my palette clean, I glance back at my new friend and promise to return in the Spring.