Elusive bronze frog
I try to snap a picture
As you jump away
Elusive bronze frog
I try to snap a picture
As you jump away
I have decided that life is like tubing on the river. The scenery always changes and everything beyond the bank is what we have no control over. On the water if the water is deep I float along and enjoy the ride while Friends, family and strangers float with me or past me. The water can be swift and hard to see through or so calm I can see to the bottom. There is the occasional snake or alligator which can be a bit scary, but not always bad. Sometimes the water is shallow enough that I can touch the bottom with my toe or foot and I can change my speed or direction. Then there are those times when my bottom begins to drag and that can mean only one thing. Sandbar. The only thing to do in that situation is to stand up, pick up the inner tube and wade to the other side of the sandbar, throw down the inner tube, get in and start again. Start floating down river surrounded by beauty, family, friends and those who aren’t yet known as family or friend. Floating while remembering what has passed, enjoying the moment and looking forward to the future.
As I was walking under and past the banana plants the other day I happened to see this green tree frog on one of the leaves. I stopped and snapped several photos and this is my favorite.
I have added a new painting to my bedroom. It is not a new painting by any means, but it is new to my bedroom. You see my TV died and to fill the void left by the removed TV I put one of my paintings in its place. It is a painting of a portion of White Sands National Monument.
I had driven out to Ruidoso, New Mexico for a sculpting seminar taught by Darlis Lamb. I was in my intrepid, 6 cylinder Jeep Cherokee. I loved that vehicle. On the way to Ruidoso I stopped along the way. When driving north on 285 I saw a billboard for Carlsbad Caverns and after time and mileage calculations I decided, yes I could stop if I cut across on 306 to 62. The scenery on 306 reminded me of scenes from “The Milagro Bean Field War” movie. Carlsbad Caverns was fabulous and I especially loved the cave swallows flying in and out.
Back on 62 to 285 and up to Roswell where I saw no space aliens or flying saucers, but couldn’t stop because of the unscheduled Carlsbad Caverns stop. I headed west to Ruidoso on 70. Rain had started to fall and I was having to go slower. I passed through places called Picacho, Tinnie, Hondo and San Patricio. The scenery, even in the rain, was beautiful.
I reached my destination and spent the next several days sculpting, eating, shopping and checking out the local scenery. I bought fresh cherry cider, shared it with my sculpting friends and bought more to bring home. I saw paintings by Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth, their children and N.C. Wyeth. Then the time came to load up the jeep and head for home.
My plan was to go to Three Rivers Petroglyphs, but I changed my mind and decided to travel to Cloudcroft. Of course I took back roads. I left Ruidoso heading south and I turned onto 244. I turned off the radio and rolled down the windows so I could hear the sounds and smell the fragrances of the area. The drive was beautiful and at one point a hawk was flying low enough to be level with the side window. It was summer so everything was green and the sky was brilliant blue. My route took me into Cloudcroft where I stopped. I walked around visiting the general store and then a weaver and blacksmith. The weaver and blacksmith were in the same building and both equally interesting.
I was back in the jeep and headed west on 82. The view was spectacular. I was at around 8,000 feet looking down on the Tularosa Valley. With each twist and turn the scenery changed. Then like a shimmering piece of mother-of-pearl that was floating in a blue haze I saw White Sands National Monument. Oh my gosh, was my first thought and then I thought “I have to find a place to turn around.” I used a truck runaway ramp as my place to U-turn and head back up to the edge. I parked on the side of the road and pre-
focused my film camera. Then praying for no oncoming traffic I headed back down the mountain. Rounding a corner driving with camera perched on the door, I still had my window open, snap-drive-snap-drive then snap. After deciding it was just too dangerous to drive and shoot photos I continued down to 54 and then onto 70.
I paid for my ticket and received park literature and proceeded to drive into White Sands National Monument. As I drove deeper into the park I in my jeep felt like a tiny pebble in a giant Zen garden. The park brochure showed designated stops where I would get out and take pictures. It was fascinating. Plants grew in curves at the edge of dunes where water had once washed along. Yuccas stood with their spikes a sharp contrast to the rolling dunes. At one point in the drive I passed picnic tables and people with beach towels spread out on the sand where they sunbathed.
I drove on and the deeper in I drove the less vegetation until there were just dunes. The wind was blowing just enough to be comfortable and make the sand on the pavement swirl about. I stopped again and took more photos. Then I decided to climb onto the roof of my jeep and take more photos. As I stood there I turned 360 degrees looking at the dunes that surrounded me. Out past the dunes were the Sacramento Mountains to the east and the San Andres Mountains to the west. They circled the park like a dark blue green band. The sky was amazing in that close to the earth it was a light cerulean blue that gradually changed to a dark French ultramarine blue. The blue was so intense. Well, I decided that my car wasn’t tall enough so, I climbed a dune next to where I was parked. Once I reached the top I was again awestruck by the beauty. I was standing at the crest taking more pictures and stepped a little too far to one side, the soft side. I went down and began to tumble head over heels like a loosed wheel off a bicycle. Oddly enough my hand and camera were the center of rotations, so I didn’t mess up the camera during my tumble down the dune. I was unceremoniously dumped a few feet in front of my jeep. In the park brochure they say you are not to remove any sand, so there I was shaking sand out of my hair, cloths and shoes before I got back into the jeep and drove out of the park.
After arriving home and settling back into my routine I had my photos developed and worked up a sketch for one of several paintings of White Sands National Monument. Now I sit in bed after a long day and look at the painting that is like a window that looks out at what I consider beautiful scenery. I find it calming in a Zen sort of way, but I can’t help but smile too at the many memories that painting represents.