Stepping Away

It has been two months since I last wrote on these pages. I considered labeling this post as “Running Out Of Words”, but the truth is I haven’t. I think maybe I was too sad to share, or that what I felt was far too personal. As I mentioned in a previous blog this was never intended to be such a personal and revealing account of my life. I began it in a search for self fulfillment, a way of forcing myself to tend to my own needs after a lifetime of being everything for everyone else. It has also had unintended consequences, one of those being that some people who read what I write think they know me. Yes, there have been very deep heartfelt thoughts on these pages, and a very personal glimpse into my life, but there is much more to me than what you might read and assume. I also discovered that there are two people “looking” for me on a website that reveals people who are searching for you. I have no way of knowing if it is as I suspect a sales pitch to get me to purchase “Protection”, or if someone has garnered enough information from the web to decide to look further. Either way it creeps me out. One of the names is of a woman, the other a man. I looked them up. The male exists, has a Facebook page, and I have no idea who he is or why he would look me up. Like I said, creepy. The female lives in Florida, and until recently I knew no one living there. That one is unnerving for me, especially in these days of identity theft.

As for my sadness, four months have passed since my Dad passed. There is still an aching hole that will take some time to heal. I think I realize that it never will, because it’s right next to the one that has been there for eight years, the one created by losing my Mom. That post would be titled, “Running Out Of Words”, because sometimes it hurts too much to be crafted into a coherent sentence.

People say, “Life moves on.” and it does. I’m going to be a grandmother. The immense joy that the news brought to my heart is again difficult to put into words. I will of course unfortunately have to be a grandma from the other side of the country, but these days of social media make that a much easier pill to swallow, and I can guarantee that my daughter and son in law will get to know the postman very personally.

Finally there is this, the much promised return to what this was all meant to be about…art. Our dear friends and former Chicago neighbors are themselves relatively new grandparents. Their new joy lives even further than mine, he resides in New Zealand. Our daughters grew up together, and will now be moms within a year of each other. Life does move on. While looking at Facebook I came across a photo on Nicole’s page that stirred something in me that hasn’t been there in some time. It is a photo of her baby and his father. The baby is beyond adorable, the word (as weird as it is) that comes to my mind is “scrumptious”. He is so damn cute I could eat him up, but it was John, and the look of love and tenderness that really spoke to me. I’ve never met John, but that photo speaks volumes, and it gave me something I needed, a reason to paint. Congratulations to Nicole and to John, and thank you for giving me the inspiration I so desperately needed. (It will FINALLY make its way to you. Promised weeks ago, but I found myself hearing the call of “not good enough” yet again. Having to remind myself that it’s not meant to be a Xerox copy, but a piece of art. I’m sending it today in order to shut off the voice in my head before I ruin it!)

In full disclosure I need the art police here to demand that I put down the brush. I’ve retouched this painting six times since I started photographing it…sick, just sick…

So, a return to art, and a return to writing. The first hurdle is behind me. I know it won’t be the only one, but it feels good to begin again. My life moving on.

for nicky

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OK, I admit it. I took the photo of the painting no less than a dozen times. Why? Because I started finding fault with it and “fixing” it. Memo to the voice in my head…SHUT UP! Oh no, I hearing it again….I need to fill in John’s beard a little, fix the baby’s hairline, darken the ear on one side, ….help!

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Unanswerable Loss

DoubleTwo months. That’s how long it has been since I’ve sat before this computer and shared my thoughts, my life. One month. That’s how long it has been since I lost my Dad. I’ve been busy. We closed on our home the 7th of April, and made two trips to Chicago to see my Dad. Well, one to see him, and one to bury him. The truth is that I’ve been avoiding myself, avoiding this blog, because I wasn’t ready. Grief is a funny thing. It’s never the same for two people. I’ve written a lot about why people are who they are, and how experiences shape them. Grief has a way of pointing out the differences. Some take action and busy themselves to the tasks at hand, while others let grief surround them like a blanket held tight, waiting for comfort, but finding none. There are those who begin the desperate search to find answers, to question God, to layer the guilty “should haves”, “would haves”, and tear themselves apart. For me there is no anger. In our Dad’s final days we were all praying that he be released from his pain, and that he might be able to rejoin our Mother. Her loss was one he had never recovered from. Once those prayers were answered we were all left feeling the pain and emptiness that only death can deliver. For me there was additional sadness. Despite making two trips to Chicago in the weeks prior to his death, I had planned to go and be there for his final days. I had a flight scheduled for a Monday, he died the Friday before. The harsh reality of not living near family is that there are times when the distance causes one to feel like they aren’t quite part of things. Birthdays, graduations, the gradual growth of a child, are all things you witness from afar, and when someone you love falls ill it brings tremendous feelings of helplessness. With my Dad it was complicated further by our move. I wasn’t free to spend as much time with him as I would have liked. When our Mother died (forgive me if I have written of this before), Dad told me he couldn’t go to sleep. For more than fifty years the love of his life had been at his side, and now the bed was empty, there was no one to say goodnight to. My heart broke for him. He had always said that loneliness was the worst disease. I began to call him every night. I spoke about it at his funeral. In almost eight years I missed only a handful of nights, and when I knew in advance that I wouldn’t be able to make that call I asked someone else, usually my daughter, to make the call for me. Eventually those calls increased to every morning, and several throughout the day. I took every call he made. I wanted him to feel secure in knowing that someone would always be there. I would check the television schedule every day looking for his other great love, soccer. I would call with movies, history programs, anything to fill his empty days. There were times when we had great conversation. We would talk politics, religion, family history, and in particular movies. There were also difficult conversations. There were times when I sat here strangling the phone in frustration. Calls when he was angry at his loss, at his loneliness, and his bewilderment at God for taking “his Mary” first, and leaving him lost. Now I am the one feeling a little lost. For nearly eight years the first thing I did every morning was pick up the phone, and again every night, a call so he could hear the voice of someone he loved before he went to sleep. He isn’t lonely anymore, but I am. There is an emptiness in both the beginning and end of my day. I couldn’t call him in the final weeks before his death. I relied on my sisters to put the phone to his ear. On the morning that he died I told him I loved him and that it was time to let go. I told him it was time to go to Mommy and to his Big Mommy (his grandmother whom he adored). I had no way to know that would be our last call. He died about two hours later. Yesterday I called one of my sisters. I was the one feeling lost and lonely; I was the one who needed to hear the voice of someone I love. On the morning that my Dad passed away I was driving to the local mall. I’m sure everyone knows of the horrible drought here in Southern California, but that morning it was raining, raining hard. As I was driving my thoughts were on my Dad. I had only two hours before been telling him to let go. I thought to myself that the way it was raining reminded me of Ireland, and of course that reminded me of my Dad. I pulled into a parking space and said aloud, “These aren’t tears of sorrow; they are tears of joy, a good one is coming home.” I stepped out of my truck and my phone rang. It was my sister calling me to tell me that our father just died. Maybe in some way I knew. Maybe all of those phone calls gave us a connection that transcends this world. Dad if there was a direct line to Heaven I’d call you right now, but I know you are with Mom right where you need to be. I love you both, and I miss the sound of your voice.

Following The Thread

Believe in yourself. That has been my journey in the almost year since I started my blog. I didn’t begin with that as the intent. I actually don’t think I had anything in particular in mind when I began, only inspired to start a 365 day project, I forged ahead. Today I was reading through posts of some of the blogs I follow and throughout I began to see a thread that connects us all. Self doubt, and far too many that mentioned fear of rejection. Are we so programmed from birth to fit in that we fear that what we do, what we create, doesn’t fit? I looked through some art today as well. Some of it I didn’t care for. Does that make it bad art? I used to argue with my son about music taste. There was a time when he was quick to condemn music he didn’t like, he criticized others for liking what he didn’t. I always held to the argument that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just because I don’t like a song doesn’t make it a bad song. After reading through the posts this morning I looked at some of my own, both art and writing. I realized that I was in many ways rejecting myself. I almost wrote a comment today to someone else, but then I saved it for myself. A little bit of advice that I was about to lay on another struggling artist, that is until I realized that there was some wisdom there for me. “There will be those who love your voice, as much as there are those who won’t.” I need to believe in my work, to stand by what I do, to understand that rejection is nothing more than the opinion of someone else.

There is a little story behind this piece. I spent the entire evening working on something in clay that broke as I was painting it. I had no project for today. Dan suggested putting up the broken pieces. I couldn’t. I grabbed a couple of things, not sure what to do. I painted a little on a mirror. Not feeling it. A board. Nope. I began to play with my pearl Martha Stewart paints on a small canvas.  Brushing on, wiping off, brushing again, not sure where to go, and then a break though. Break Through will be the name of this piece. I was pulling paint away and began to see something. I was talking to my Dad earlier. Another snowstorm in Chicago. I had been thinking about Spring trying to break through the snow and ice, and here it was in front of me.  Ice and snow, and color, that is Chicago in the Spring.  Memories of the purple crocus popping through the retreating snow.3 1 14

 

 

 

 

 

Can You Spell W-I-M-P?

I finally took some time tonight to really sit and think about art for a minute, not craft (sorry fairies, you are art in your own special way, but….) I just haven’ t have the time. I’m still working towards Saturday’s show, and of course etsy sales, but I am craving the smell of oils, and even the frustration of the quick dry time of acrylic. I do however still have my watercolors. To be honest I am couch bound, old medical crap rearing its ugly head, so I am forced away from my workshop (formerly known as my dining room). It gave me the luxury of really thinking about what I wanted to paint tonight. Before I talk about the work and it’s inspiration I need to poke a little fun at myself. Regular readers know by now that I grew up in Chicago, the “Windy City”, and although that name actually came about not from the wind, but rather some boastful politicians and a World’s Fair, it really is windy there. When I was in college I found myself battling the wind as it caught the edge of my very large portfolio and spun me around. As I write this we are watching Monday Night Football, Chicago Bears vs the Dallas Cowboys. (The Bears annihilated the Cowboys in case you were wondering) I just checked the temperature, it’s eight,that’s eight degrees, and that doesn’t include the wind chill. Earlier today I was talking to my sister in Chicago and she said it was cold there. I said, “I know, it’s cold here too.” A light bulb went on, that’s when I said to her, “You’re probably about forty degrees cooler there aren’t you?” It was 50 here, yes 50, it was 10 there. It’s really, truly official, I am a “Wus” (is that a real word?), anyway…I was so cold earlier today that I was actually shivering, and it’s 50. I remember when I moved to California and made fun of all the “locals” who wore sweaters when it was 60. We had to run out for a doctor appointment earlier, when I felt the cold and the wind I announced to Dan that I can never live in Chicago again. I love Chicago, and I would of course have to amend the “never living there again” statement were I ever to be able to afford that downtown loft I’ve always longed for. Even then I would live in my loft for spring and summer only. I am so acclimated to the warmth of Southern California that I can no longer handle the cold. Yes, Wimp, that’s me.

It was very windy here today. (Really, not just because I’m a wimp)  When I thought about what I wanted to do tonight I remembered a photo that Dan had on his iPad. It was a man, a lone figure struggling in the wind. it became my project for tonight. It seemed appropriate considering how cold I am. I’m wrapped in my giant terry cloth robe, and sitting with the heating pad, and drinking hot chocolate… Hey, it’s 43!12 9

 

Rekindling A Memory

 

I have wonderful memories of Chicago at Christmas, both from my own childhood, as well as my children’s. My favorite activity was always looking at the holiday windows of Marshall Field’s. There were other stores that had displays, but Field’s was always the best. We didn’t go down every year when I was a kid, but we did do it enough that I remember it well. With my own children I made it a yearly event. We would bundle up against the cold Chicago wind, and walk down State Street looking at the windows, hearing the Christmas Carols played overhead. Marvelous mechanical puppets moving on tracks working a little Holiday magic. Afterwards we would take the kids to the seventh floor to the Crystal Palace for ice cream. Yes, ice cream. Despite the cold and the wind, and often times snow, the day wasn’t complete without ice cream. The Crystal Palace was made to look like an old-time ice cream parlor. The hot fudge was delicious. (Recipe anyone?) Unfortunately, as it seems it is the way of the world these days, Marshall Field’s is gone. It is now Macy’s to the great horror of many of us who remember just how special a trip to Marshall Field’s was. The Crystal Palace is gone as well. I haven’t lived in Chicago for a little over ten years. I don’t know whether or not Macy’s has continued the tradition of the windows. I hope so. What led me down memory lane today? My fairies. I know you are probably sick of them about now, but what started out as a fairly simple ornament many, many years ago, has evolved into art for me. I still make the ornaments, but they are much more elaborate than in the beginning. In the last few weeks as I’ve been creating them I have been taking them a step further. I’ve been creating little vignettes. The artist fairy with her branch easel, the teacher with the real tree bark chalkboard, the sewing fairy sitting on her spool of thread with her “toothpick needle”. Today I took it even further. I had two pieces of Manzanita wood branches. It’s a beautiful shrub or small tree, the branches are really interesting, twisted, gnarly, very sculptural. I actually purchased them to use in displaying the fairies a few years ago, but I never used them. I’ve been eying them for a few weeks now. I had an idea that came to fruition today. My “Fairy Playground”, a vignette of fairies at play. The elf riding the bird, the mother and her baby in his seed pod stroller, the white fairy on her swing of flowery vines, and the blue fairy and her elfin pal picking berries. I’m not sure if the pictures will convey just how enchanting it is. When I was finished and sat back to look at my handiwork I was reminded of Marshall Field’s marvelous windows. My elves and fairies don’t move, they aren’t puppets, but there is definitely something magical about them. The backdrop is my work, a painting I created when I was nineteen.  So tonight again, fairies.IMG_2666

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Blustery Day

There’s an old song with a line that states, “It never rains in Southern California.” For the most part that’s true, but every now and then we have a day like today, a rainy, overcast, windy, and wet day, and I couldn’t be happier. That might sound strange to some, but for someone like me who grew up in Chicago, it’s a little taste of home. I’ve been in California long enough to be considered a Californian, but I’ll always be a Chicagoan at heart. I love the beautiful weather here in Temecula, but I really miss the change of seasons. There is something so magical about the first Spring day when it is warm enough to crack open a window. In Chicago that could be at forty degrees. Trust me, when it has been near freezing for months on end, forty is practically tropical. There is also that first day of Fall when the wind is just crisp enough to call for a sweater, or the quiet pristine beauty of freshly fallen Winter snow. I miss all of it. Yes, it is wonderful to not have to scrape the ice off my windshield, or to dig out a parking space, but there is something about the cycle of the seasons that appeals to me. Maybe because in a way we all live our lives in a cycle of seasons. I love the rebirth of Spring, and the maturity of Fall. There is an anticipation of the seasons that is lacking here. A few years ago when we were back visiting my parents, my kids were enthralled by a good old-fashioned thunder and lightning storm. I have memories from my childhood of standing in the garden during a Summer rain, when the air was warm and the rain water was cool on my skin. When I was a little girl there was a blizzard in Chicago, twenty-three inches of snow fell. I remember the snow over my head, and the games we played. My sisters and I built a house in the snow. We made a couch, a table, and I think even a television. I remember the thrill of running across the fence that had been covered by snow into the neighbor’s yard. Mrs. Hackel wasn’t very nice to us, and we thought we were so daring to run into that garden. Brian, my son, was devastated to discover upon moving to California that he was losing his “Snow Days”, bad weather free days built into the school calendar. Maybe it’s because I’ve been here in California for ten years that I can wax so poetic about those bad weather days. All I know is that when I have a day like today,  a day when you want to cuddle up inside with something warm to drink, and a good book or a movie, I feel nostalgic.

I had company tonight, and a rather busy day. As always looking through photos from something to paint, I came across a photo from my phone of one of my cats. I was trying to photograph Riley, and she became very curious. She put her face right up to the phone. Riley in watercolor and pencil. Riley is a Chicagoan too.IMG_1669

 

Torn Between Two Loves

I was finally able to grab that elusive moment to paint this evening. We have spent most of this week holed up in my Dad’s house. Today we ventured into our old neighborhood after dropping my Dad off with his friends, and I came away inspired. I wrote the other night about Temecula, and missing home.  So here’s where I change my mind. I grew up in the heart of the city, and there is something about being in the thick of it once again that makes me feel alive. Chicago is such a mixed bag of nationalities, we were driving down Lawrence Avenue today past the Greek bakery across from the Vietnamese bakery, having just dropped my Dad off at the Irish Heritage Center, at every bus stop there are people of obvious racial or national diversity. I absolutely love that. We drove by a home that I owned at one time, it’s for sale, and I’d buy it back tomorrow. The neighborhood has only gotten better since I left. We drove down residential streets where wild flower gardens were lush with overgrowth, no home owners association to tell the home owner that their aesthetic doesn’t “fit in”. Streets so narrow that one car has to pull over to let the other pass, and the sound of the El train rumbling from the next block. I love being in the rush of people, catching snippets of passing conversations, feeling part of the community. I have to admit it, I’m really torn between Temecula and Chicago, and then there is Paris….life is just too short, and costs too much! The area in Chicago that we were in today is a neighborhood named Lincoln Square. It is a very old neighborhood, at one time primarily German. There is still very European feel to the neighborhood, one of the really fantastic old German restaurants, and Merz Apothecary, which has been in business since 1875, still one of my favorite places. With all of that said, tonight a watercolor inspired by my old neighborhood. A European street scene.image

The Power Of Perspective

If you’ve read my blog you know that perspective is my nemesis, but that is artistic perspective.  There is the other perspective, the kind I try to use in my daily life, the kind I use when I want to stop myself from being judgmental, when I try to put myself in the shoes of someone else.

Today was a tough one. I posted last week about my Dad having an accident, and although he is out of the hospital things are not well. When you are weeks away from your eighty-first birthday and sustain a concussion it really takes its toll on your brain. Dad has been with my sister for a few days and while he has moments where he seems his old self, more often than not he is confused. I am still hopeful that he will regain some of his memory and cognizance. What worries me as well is the rest of my family. I have three sisters, each with our own families and health issues. The stress and burden of caring for an aging loved one can take its toll. It isn’t about not loving someone, there is a great deal of that, but just how much it can break down communication between siblings, between couples, destroy families. I talked to my sister earlier this evening and told her how I felt. We all need to be respectful of each others lives and needs. Two of the girls are carrying the weight of what is happening to our Dad. I live hundreds of miles away. Yes, I can sympathize, I can and do make phone calls for them, but the reality is that it is their lives that are affected. I have said often in the last few days that it is easy for me to suggest something because I am here, and they are there. I told both women today that I don’t want this to come between us, most of our family is in Ireland so there is just us. If we want to truly honor what our father and our mother would want, then we need to stick together. Everyone needs to recognize that what is important to one isn’t important to another. Perspective is a powerful thing. When we as the individual suffer we see it only through the prism of our own lives. When we feel pain, it is no more or no less than what someone else might feel, but it is our pain, and for that it should be respected. In situations such as the one we find ourselves in now it is easy to look at someone else and think that something is trivial, or less important that our “stuff”. It’s not. I want to make sure that throughout this process that no one of us feels alone, singled out, or less valued. Relationships can be damaged beyond repair with a single sentence. I love my Dad, but I love my sisters as well. I would like to get beyond this and be able to look back, say we did our best, but that more importantly, we remain as sisters, as friends. Tomorrow my Dad is back in the hospital for a test that could lead to a pacemaker. Wishes for good karma, and prayers are appreciated.

I don’t have the finished “up-cycled” cabinet door to post as of yet. I am putting multiple coats of the Martha Stewart chalk paint on it. I had done two yesterday, but upon closer inspection earlier today I sanded the corners down and redid the paint. It is a project that I am hoping to sell and want it to be perfect.

What I did accomplish today is a watercolor. We spent part of our afternoon in the Temecula Valley Cheese Shop, one of my favorite places. The owner is a friend, and was kind enough to spend time with us as we consider opening a place of our own. We had some wine, and a plate of cheese. It was a little respite from my worried and troubled mind. Inspired by our afternoon, I did a painting of a cheese plate that I put together. Too bad I can’t share.8 14

 

Join The Club

I unfortunately didn’t even get visitation with my oils today. We made a trip into LA for business and it ate up most of our day. Three hours to drive eighty-four miles. Traffic was moving so slow that we were in danger of becoming intimately acquainted with the people in the adjoining vehicles. MS DOT  E  would disappear by either falling behind in traffic, or suddenly moving quickly ahead. I began to develop a strange affection for her, it was like seeing an old friend when we were unexpectedly next to each other in traffic. Of course I’m sure she barely noticed us…fickle.

What is this club I have asked you to join? Actually, it’s more like a movement to give identity to all those unfinished projects out there in the world. Projects like my orphaned art. The club has only a few members at this point in time. The current members all lived in the same apartment building on Artesian Ave. in Chicago. Essentially it consists of my family, Dan, our kids, myself, and our downstairs neighbors. We lived in what’s known as a three-flat, we were the top floor, our friends on the second floor, and finally our landlords on the first floor. The landlady was a lovely woman, spoke several languages, and was married to Misha. Misha is responsible for the movement. We lived in that apartment for six years, and in all of that time I don’t think any of us quite figured out what Misha did. What we did know is what he didn’t do. Actually it was more what he didn’t finish. He began to trim the bushes in the front of the building, he got half way across and stopped. Not for a break, or an hour for lunch, or a day. He stopped, FOREVER. The bushes remained that way. Christmas decor put up later (I mean after Christmas), and not taken down until much, much later. My favorite is the hallway. It was off-white, and then Misha began to paint it a very bright yellow-green. He painted the main hall, up the stairs past his apartment door, and then up the next flight past the second floor, and then…and then…nothing, he stopped. He stopped mid roll. A vibrant steak of green promise on the wall reaching for us, but sadly it remained there for more than a year. We had a party for our son, Brian, our guests passing the half-finished hallway with the green streak.  A year later we were having another party for Brian, and the hallway remained half painted. We had of course inquired during the year to see if it would be finished anytime soon. Empty promises were made. Finally Dan went down and confronted Misha. The night before Brian’s party, at around eight, we could hear Misha out there in the hall mumbling and painting. I’m ashamed to say we were on the other side of our front door laughing. I think he may have been up all night. To this day when we have an unfinished project it is called a “Misha”. When we see our former neighbors/friends we feel the bond that only the Misha experience can bring (Well, there are also “Uncle Clyde pants”, but that is a story for another time). I have given an identity to my unfinished work! It shall hereby be known as “Misha”. Have a half-finished project you have been meaning to get to? Its a Misha! I invite you to join the movement.

So little time, but a promise is a promise. A tiny painting (about 5×7) of a not so tiny subject. A watercolor pig, because Dan liked the photo.

Our Secret Garden

Have you ever discovered what for you is a magical place? A place that you feel drawn to, somewhere that you would love to spend time at each and every day? We had a place like that in Illinois. Before we moved here to California we lived about 40 miles north of Chicago. We had moved to the village of Lindenhurst in 1998. To be honest I hated it. I grew up in the city, and I loved it. I love Chicago for all the reasons most people do, the architecture, the great restaurants, and the amazing museums, but I also love the diversity of people, the grittiness, the Michigan Avenue crowds, and the sounds of the El train running overhead. Lindenhurst was boring to me, the only salvation was Milburn, a sprinkling of historically marked Victorian homes that were down the street from us. We had been living in Lindenhurst for a year or two and had often driven by a sign that said McDonald Woods Forest Preserve, about a half mile from our house. We hadn’t bothered to stop. Lindenhurst borders farm country, there were fields of high grasses, row upon row of beautiful tall trees, and fields of corn all around us. We couldn’t see from the road what was in the preserve, tall grasses blocked he view. I don’t remember what prompted us to finally go there, but when we went it was a revelation. We chose the path going left, a gentle, sloping road that curved around a bend. Fields of flowers on either side of us, Queen Anne’s Lace, Echinacea, Black-Eyed Susan, and so much more, as far as we could see. Towards the bend, graceful Oak and Pine trees offering shade in the summer heat. We rounded the bend to find a beautiful pond, framed by grasses and Pussy Willow.  We would eventually discover that on some days if we were lucky, Egrets would be standing at attention by the water’s edge. The pond on our right, and to our left? An open field, small bushes, grasses, and more flowers, and the sounds of nature rustling in the breeze. Birds, butterflies, and bees flying about enjoying the bounty of nature. We continued along the path, soon we found ourselves in a grove of tall trees, a noticeable drop in temperature as the trees offered shade, a sun dappled vista of green and silver leaves, and moss-covered fallen limbs. We came again to a clearing, where the path led to a small wooden bridge that spanned the far end of the pond, and to our left two beautiful swans floating just yards from where we stood. Here the pond is edged with Weeping Willows, and all around us, everywhere there is land, there are flowers. We continued our walk through yet another canopy of trees, and finally out again in the open fields of flowers where our path ended, rejoining the place where we began. All in all a little over a two-mile path. From that day on we walked in those woods often, revisiting McDonald Woods many, many times. We have returned there on our visits home, and never tire of seeing the beauty there. If the opportunity should present itself, and you find yourself in the Northeast corner of Illinois, drive north on Route 45 to Deep Lake Road, turn left, and drive about a mile up the road. It’s on your left. Our magical place, someplace I wish we could get to more often.

Tonight a painting in watercolor from McDonald Woods.

 

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