Fall colors, brilliant sunsets, perky Chickadees, serendipitous snowflakes... I've had many moments of surprise and delight in the past week.
On Wednesday I sat on my deck with a friend and painted the fall colors and then did a page of quick watercolor sketches of the Chickadees as they came flying in to pick up seeds. I love the freedom and curiosity of these little birds.
Thursday and Friday Stephen and I went hiking in the mountains above Riga Farm. Thursday afternoon and evening we took a three mile hike up the mountain road above the farm, returning in time to watch the sunset as we came back down the mountain.
Friday morning I was awake very early and enjoyed a few hours of quiet reading, painting, and walking while Steve slept. I painted the stream out back through the kitchen window, since it was too cold to paint outside.
We expected it to be a bit chilly on Friday, but we did not expect snow! It snowed off and on most of the day Friday, not accumulating on the ground, but sticking long enough to speckle the dogs' backs with white. Many of the snowflakes were perfectly formed six-pointed stars.
After a pleasant six mile ramble on woods roads through hilly areas and around beautiful mountain lakes, we hiked up Round Hill-- a shorter but much steeper hike. I got scared and stopped a bit below the peak to paint the view, while Stephen explored farther up to the top. While I was painting it started to snow again, and the snowflakes landing on my slightly damp paper made wonderful watermarks-- another of the magical effects of working in watercolors. I will never grow tired of this medium and the surprises it provides.
Yesterday I painted on my deck with another friend and tried to capture the kaleidoscope of color surrounding my house. The tall stump in my painting is a relic from a tornado-type storm years ago-- the children were young, and we watched with awe as the majority of the tree fell in slow motion, landing across the stream with a mighty crash. The stump that remains is still living, and each year the branches grow a bit longer and fuller and drop a pretty tapestry on the grass in the fall.
Today I sat on my deck yet again, enjoying the warmth, despite a bit of drizzling rain, and the Chickadees joined me almost immediately, with one even landing on the handle of my paintbrush as I was painting with it! Another Chickadee hovered a couple of inches in front of my face, as if studying me. It is an amazing feeling to be trusted by a tiny wild bird!