Monday, May 27, 2013

Hard Walking

My first date with Karen included a hand-in-hand walk along the icy shores of Cook Inlet at the northern margin of Anchorage, Alaska.  Clad in our down-filled parkas, a chance to photograph the waning winter sun from a nearby point provided an excuse to get better acquainted.

When I had called Karen, I envisioned a leisurely stroll as we explored each others lives and interests.  The sunset provided the framework for our rendezvous.   Wrong.  It was all I could do to keep up with this energic “filly” as she set off to prove she could keep up with me.  Pauses to take photos of living room-sized icebergs that peppered the mudflats provided the best excuses to catch my breath.  We never made it to the point, but we did satisfy the real point of the outing -- to begin to get to know one another.

That day stands in stark contrast with our afternoon at the beach this past week.  After hauling firewood (refugees from past building projects) down to the shoreline, my male ego conceded to Karen’s suggestion that we use some dry grass and twigs for kindling instead of the damp boards I was about to split.  As the first wisps of smoke rose into the clear skies, and a few calorie-laden multi-grain chips filled our bellies, Karen disappeared down the beach with her camera.  Meanwhile I honed in on a pile of rocks conveniently dumped on the shoreline by glaciers when both of our long-forgotten ancestors still lived on another continent. 

My digestive juices were already working on my hot dog and I was totally engrossed in painting that pile of rocks, when Karen reappeared.  Still in another world I was vaguely aware of her proximity as she vanquished her hot dog.  A  faint “yoo hoo” pulled me back into the present.  I turned to see a distant Karen waving and then disappear behind a pile of driftwood logs.  Sometime later, far down the crescent-shaped shoreline, I spotted something that in the distance, appeared the size of a pencil point.  Karen, perhaps, or a piece of driftwood.  A few minutes later it was gone.  Nope, not driftwood.

I was packing up my paints when my exhausted wife reappeared.  “For the first time, I feel like I’m getting old.” she said.  “That was hard walking.” 

That’s how I felt trying to keep up with Karen on our first date.

Somewhere in the distance I am painting in plein air, but you're going to need binoculars to see me.

Ochre-colored rocks brought to our Island shores by glaciers many years ago contrast with more recently delivered driftwood.

                              The shell of a recently molted Dungeness Crab.

                               The title of this one should be pretty obvious.

I'll temporarily call this plein air painting, Glacial Delivery, but that will change.  Karen and I agree it needs something more.  Maybe shorebirds, maybe a family of gnomes on a picnic and then we'll see what we want to name it.


Di said...

This is wonderful reading, and wonderful photography! So well written, makes mye day :). Regards to the two of you, take care, have a great day :).

Cindi said...

It was the perfect weather for painting in plein air! I took a break from making prints, matting prints, and doing other arty things to kayak up Petersburg Creek with friends. Now I have a lot more to do, but am feeling like I just want a warm shower and to crawl into bed! !

Susan Christensen said...

Sweet memory, Don.
The grasses tucked around your rocks absolutely glow.
enjoy this sunny day!

Don and Karen Cornelius Artwork said...

Thanks, Di, Cindy and Sus: This blog is a fun way to bring back long almost forgotten memories.

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