Wednesday, July 22, 2009


This morning I walked around the mountain behind my house. I used to do this several times a week with my dogs, but then somehow, I got out of the habit. And now one of my dogs is not able to take such a long and strenuous hike. So I have started again, going alone usually. And I must admit, it’s a little easier since I can enjoy the sights and smells and sounds without worrying about where the dogs are or what they are doing. And I can move at my own pace.

As I headed up the first climb and approached a curve, I was startled by a deer running across the path in front of me. I stopped, and then two others ran out and followed the first into the woods on the other side. I could hear them, their hooves trampling the leaves and dead sticks on the forest floor. I peered into the depth of the trees and saw movement and just a glimpse of those beautiful soft-brown bodies. They move so quickly.

I continued up the hill and turned to go around the mountain, enjoying the morning air before it became heated with the sun and the humid temperatures of a North Carolina summer. I’d hoped to see the deer again, knowing full well that I wouldn’t. They don’t like to be seen. I thought of one of my favorite artists… Franz Marc. Do you know him? He painted in the early 20th century, alongside the likes of Kandinsky and Klee and August Macke. He favored strong color and animals... that’s why he’s one of my favorites. But his style captures them so well in all their beauty and play and oft-hidden lives. There’s much to see in his work, and you often have to look closely to find the animals and the details. Unfortunately Marc was caught in the horrible fray of battle during World War I and was killed at age 36. What a waste! But of course… that’s what war is… a horrible waste and devastation of life and earth. So many artists, past and present, show that awful despair and disaster in their work. Marc did.

You can check out a brief bio on Wikipedia:

And also see his paintings here, where they offer reproductions of his work:

As I approached the downhill part of my hike, I noticed a box turtle sitting on the path. I’ve seen plenty of them on the country roads where I live, and each time I stop my car and move them to safety. It breaks my heart when these gentle beings don’t make it, so I do my part to help them. Today, I was so pleased to find one in its true element, and I stopped and sat near it and enjoyed its quiet nature and spirit. We had a little chat, I guess you’d say. He was a nice slow balance to the swift-moving deer at the beginning of my hike.

It’s a good way to start the day… this hike in the solitude of the mountain… a chance to reflect and meditate and slowly bring on the work and life that is ahead.

You can view my art and animal paintings at