Night Scenes

There’s something magical about being outside at night, and I often step out for a minute or two before I head to bed. One of the things I love about the shorter days of winter is walking in the dark, either in the morning or evening. I feel hidden, and since I walk without a flashlight, I can see without being seen if there are other people out and about.

I also love the night sky and could gaze for hours. Trees silhouetted against the brightness of the moon or the depth of a dark sky; moonlight casting strong shadows at times or bathing all in a soft glow at other times. Constellations telling a story for all to see.

When the moon is full I think about how people all around the world are stopping to look, ponder, and marvel. As I gaze, I’m filled with wonder at God’s creation and I feel a connection with people who have paused to appreciate it throughout time.


Last weekend I was in Colorado for a dog trainers’ seminar— a fabulous time of listening, watching, thinking, processing and networking. I can already see differences in how I handle client dogs and what kind of response I get from them. An excellent seminar!

Here are some of my “notes” from the demos:

Being in a group of people, no matter how nice they are and how fun the time, always wears me out, and painting is a wonderful stress reducer for me. In the evenings and after the seminar was over I spent time painting, sometimes in my room and sometimes outside looking at the gorgeous Rocky Mountains in the distance. I love the colors of Colorado and am eager to go back and spend more time absorbing the beauty and painting it as best I can to bring home memories in my sketchbook.

Plein Air Watercolors

I’ve been doing plein air watercolor sketches recently; the weather is perfect for being outside, and I love to have a visual record of the sights and colors. Often, looking at my sketches takes me right back to the time I painted them, reminding me of dinner on the river with Stephen, or a pleasant stop along the Taconic Parkway, or a day painting by a pond with a friend.

Here are a couple of sketches of a pond in Goffstown, New Hampshire. A friend and I spent much of last Wednesday painting there, chatting with each other and with the boaters who came and went.

On my way home from New Hampshire, I stopped at a parking area on the Taconic Parkway where there’s a view of the Catskills. It was a clear day and the mountains stood out wonderfully in the distance.

Stephen and I like to eat at Mariner’s on the Hudson, where we sit on the dock and look out over the Hudson River. I paint the view or Steve tosses bread to the ducks, Canada Geese, and huge carp so that I can paint them. A couple of weeks ago we saw an eel there for the first time. It was about a foot long, and it kept swimming into the carps’ mouths so that it’s first four or five inches were all the way inside the carps’ mouths. That was kind of weird to watch.

Lap Time

Bituminous nestles in my lap, furry head in the crook of my elbow, his green eyes gazing unblinkingly at me for a minute or two, then closing in trusting sleep. I gaze back, trying to absorb a lifetime’s worth of the joy and love I receive from Bituminous, and attempting not to dwell on his increasing age and poor health.

I don’t really know how to describe what this cat does for me, but somehow he calms me deep inside, reminds me of some of the basics of my faith (trust lived out in practical, real-life actions), and fills me with a warm, happy feeling.

I try to read my book, normally gripping and hard to set aside, but when Bituminous opens his eyes every few minutes I have to put the book aside and look in my cat’s eyes. He’s deaf and doesn’t understand much English; I’m human and don’t speak Cat, but we both speak the language of connection, and whenever those eyes open, we engage in rich communion.

A Morning Track

A Morning Track


the field stretches on and on,

grass blades arcing gracefully

tipped by clear crystal drops.

A breeze brushes my face,

the sun warms my back,

bird song fills the air.

I pause, I breathe, I am…

I scan the distant trees,

searching for two points

to etch a line

in my mind and through the field.

Walking that line, I absorb

the rustling of rodents,

the silk of spider’s web,

the damp of dew.

I walk, I look, I enjoy…

Later, Milo leading,

we retrace my steps,

following the green path

through the dewy field.

Milo pauses, sniffs,

moves ahead with vigor,

excited to find the scent

and lead me along.

He stops, looks back,

a grin on his face,

a glove at his feet.

We have finished the track.

I smile, I laugh, I rejoice!