Into the Woods

PTH Art

Another beautiful Fall day in Central Oregon.  Isabella and I headed out to do a little exploring, nothing dangerous or even very adventurous, but I though we’d try some new trails.  After all the years I’ve lived in Bend, I have not spent much time roaming around Phil’s Trail Head, so I don’t really know the lay of the land.  In fact, a few years ago, I did get quite lost, twice in one year.

Here’s my excuse, for getting lost that is.  We left one bright sunny morning from the parking lot and headed west on Kent’s trail. After walking several miles I noticed was getting a little tired and decided to head back to the car.  Not wanting to see the same scenery twice in one day, I headed south, I thought,  with good intentions of catching Phil’s trail which was, logically, “right over there.”  Ha!  Not only was it not “right over there,” but the clouds rolled in and, directionally speaking, and I was sunk.  Galumphing over pine needles, cones and various other beautiful objects that make up the forest floor, I wasn’t even able to decide what was up hill (Skinner’s or maybe Eugene) or down hill (Bend or maybe LaPine).

Somewhere in a science or physiology class I had learned that humans have a small deposit of lead or another metal material that sits just above the bridge of the nose in the lower part of the forehead.  It was believed that that piece of metal worked as a internal compass assisting us in the general navigation of life.   Well, guess what?  I didn’t get one of those.  Knowing there had to be a trail somewhere fairly close, I carried on. At least an hour later, alas the hallucinations began.  Just ahead, I came upon signs of life.  There it was, the Galveston/14th street turn circle with the  Big Red Chicken sitting right in front of me.  Something wasn’t right though.  Things were all distorted.  The chicken before me had shrunk.  Must be Galveston’s baby, the Little Red Chicken.  At closer range it was still a Little Red Chicken.  I touched it.  “What are you doing out here, Little Chicken,” I ask it?  Are you real?

About then a bicyclist came around yon corner.  Thank God.  He was real and a normal man size. He stopped, as did the others behind him.  Pulling myself together mustering the most sane voice I could come up with I ask if “they” knew where the parking lot was.  Pointing down the trail, the same direction their bikes were headed, one guy said, “That way.”  “I knew that,” I smiled.  “Um, how far?”  About an hour on foot. They must have checked out my leg length, or lack there, of when they came up with my ETA.

That was one long day. Oh, did I mention the part where I’d left my water in the car?  How smart is that?  Several months later, when I was smarter, I repeated the same scenario.  I’ll spare myself the details.  I hadn’t really thought of those “lost years” until yesterday, in full sun, including shadows and all the directional cues necessary to activate my internal compass, after walking longer than I thought my return trip to the car would take, and on a well used trail, a sinking feeling re-emerged.  Really? No, I am not lost.  Just keep going.   I did. That was good advise, as soon I came to a surprise, to me, art installation pictured below.  I know a biscillion Bend-its and tourist have passed this place a biscillion times…and know it’s less than a mile to the  PTH parking lot.  Please don’t make fun of me.  OK?  So I’m old-er.  I do this kind of stuff.

As for art, I’m proud of the place I live in and the many opportunities that are available to display art throughout our town…and forests.  The “Little Red Chicken” was a fantastic surprise, right out there in the woods all by its little red self.  And the tinkling of the cog wheels moving in the breeze, well, I found that installation a simple and telling display of the hearts of the folks who maintain Phil’s trials and the bike clubs who are a strong presence…ie, the Skyliner’s Road update.  May “ART” prevail.  Some say it will save the world.

More art at PTH
Chimes in the woods at PTH
Isabella, Come on.  We’re not lost

September 2016

Fall Colors Arriving.
Fall Colors Arriving

The Aspen in the yard, and most of the surrounding forest, are turning all shades of yellow.

I’ve been having a bit of fun in my studio with yellows, burnt siennas, deep sap green, and other beautiful mysteries of life.  I will post them on my blog only.  You are welcome to visit.  It’s simple: suskjersaa.com.

A Poem, Some Paint, and Nature

Today neighbors are preparing for colder days and our much anticipated deep snowfall.  Each year as chain saws buzz and axes crack against rounds of Pine and Fir, I can hear families chatting and laughing as wood is carried to its dry, winter shelter.   I’m grateful for this time of year and all the Falls that have gone before.

Imbedded in the painting of the leaves below is the following poem.  It’s an all-time seasonal favorite of mine passed on to me by a friend.  So sorry not to credit the author, but whomever she is I say, “thank you.”  (If anyone can identify her, please put her name in the reply box at the end of this post. Thanks.)

falling leaves card
Hanging On

IMG_3618Slowly,

She celebrated the sacrament of letting go.  

Then orange, yellow and red, Finally she let go of her brown.  

Shedding her last leaf she watched its journey to the ground.  

She stood in silence  wearing the color of emptiness

  Her branches wondering how do you give shadow with so much gone.

She stood empty and silent stripped bare leaning against the winter sky.  

She began her vigil of trust.

Leaves and Paint
Leaves and Paint

And then the sacrament of waiting began.