This morning I thought I’d share this painting I did a few years ago of my children. They are sitting on the Dune Trail, gently enjoying a small snake that has come across their path. We are lucky to live in a place where one needn’t fear the snakes.
I feel almost a mystical tie to Illinois Beach State Park. When my family first moved to Illinois in the 70’s, my parents took me there to see it. I remember seeing a young lady in a park uniform putting out flags and something like a bell went off inside me. “That will be me one day”, I found myself thinking. Then I forgot all about it until my life had taken me down several other roads. Life zipped along, to the day someone suggested that I might want to monitor butterflies for the Nature Conservancy. OH! magic. It became my life~nets, workshops, days on the trail counting butterflies. My children grew up, it now seems, on this and other trails. Now when we walk the trail we find layers of memories all along the way. One day I remember that young lady and am startled to think, yes, that did become me one day.
Now my children are grown-ups (wonderful and awful all at the same time!) and my knees tell me they are done chasing butterflies. It is a difficult decision to pull away from something that meant so much to me for so many years, but it has been time to for awhile. There is a new monitor at Illinois Beach, I am told. I feel like the old racehorse that runs the fence when he hears the bugle, but I know it is time for me to turn my focus.
Yesterday I had a reception jointly with another artist at a gallery I joined this spring. I feel like I’ve come home all over again~all these years I thought nature people were my tribe but I started to notice how isolated I felt. I don’t really belong in that world. But at this gallery the artists come and hang out together. Hours fly by as we discuss media and method. I found my peeps!!! Funny how that can happen almost by accident, isn’t it?