I drew this pencil sketch of a white daffodil, on a piece of land in the Carolina mountains on the morning of April 28, 2008. In the background is a large, old white pine that is diseased and dying. The delicate, fragile petals of the flower playing before the decaying, brittle pine—the contrast of concept and textures—told me a story.
Daffodils, pencil sketch 28, April 2008
One day, I will paint a lovely tempera for you.
Looking at the drawing now, I am there, sketching by the fish pond, draped in the dewy light. Sunlight streams through the trees in the cool, spring air—feels happy on my face. Music floats upstairs from the barn. We’ll run errands in town soon. Life is blossoming all around me, renewed in me. Millions of heartbeats pulse in the breeze that silently stirs the young leaves.
The steep, gravel drive beside me slopes down through black walnut trees, and over a trickling stream to meet the road. The UPS driver said the road to this place is the prettiest one in Mitchell county. From the top of the hill by the church, you can see Roan Mountain and Mt. Mitchell. I’ve painted on many back roads in this tri-county area, and I’m in accordance with him.
I wonder who named this road. I think they had a sense of humor. Nate, a neighbor, told me that it once was an old wagon road. Said there used to be a house on the curve across the driveway from the property. It must have been a tiny house, because the land falls sharply away from the roadside. Down below are castle-like granite boulders protecting a small stream, giving it a fairy tale setting.
The neighbors are some of the nicest folks I know. One of them, Jay, used to mow around the driveway, and the sides of the road way up to the church. When he died of a sudden heart attack that winter, his daughter carried on with his work. An unbroken act of love.
I see a lot of smiles acting on that road, shining in summer gardens, apple blossoms and apple butter, and autumn fires. Critters too. Goats, horses, deer, wild turkeys and these little guys that always make me smile when I see them scampering alongside the road. Here is a charcoal sketch of a bunny.
Bunny rabbit, charcoal sketch
Life on this road may not be grand or glorious. It’s delightfully unpretentious and real. Where people do for each other.
Many friends, many memories of happy hours, many faces. . .so many. For all that, only the smiling face of a single flower, binds my heart to the land, yonder on that road in the Carolina mountains.
Aside: When my Facebook Studio page reaches 200 Likes, I’ll give a sketch in appreciation.