I listened to a news item yesterday about a tribe in the Amazon that had no words for time - nothing for hour, day, week, year, etc., so they don't know how old they are, at least on our terms. When they recognize they've passed into and out of particular stages of life, they take on a new name and pass the old name down to someone younger. I was parked next to a quiet place in the forest while listening to this. I set my mind to wondering about how life would be different in the absence of each of my senses. I realized right away that, for me, loss of the visual would hurt the most, but had to acknowledge that something could be gained. If I didn't give up in discouragement, I would likely nurture the other senses. As I am now typing before sunrise, I am acutely aware of the songbird chorus outside my window, and I think the auditory sense ranks second. But when I was parked in the woods, I was enjoying the fragrance of Buckbrush. It was that time in the afternoon when their fragrance seems to erupt. At that time, I would have put the olfactory sense in second place.
All of these musings had the effect of making me appreciate the sensual pleasures available to anyone who wanders in the natural environment. When my wife came home with some new art materials for me to try, I was primed for celebrating color. I created the above test page just before bed time. I am excited to have discovered a brand of watercolor pencils that cost about 1/4 the ones I had been using. They performed well, with and without the water brush treatment. The pigments were not quite as intense, but I needed to tone down my flowers anyway. My tanager looks a little too fat, and it's a copy of another artist's watercolor whose painting was far superior to mine. But, I must say, I just loved looking at all the colors. Making color charts might be my new rainy day therapy.
My first class in Adventures in Nature Journaling starts Saturday, June 4. E.mail me or call FRC for details.