Living the Dream

Cotter Bridge lampposts

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
Langston Hughes

My best friend told me a couple of weeks ago (upon learning that I would be engaged in art festivals and workshops heavily in April and May) that I was “living the dream.”  I didn’t realize when I heard those words that she was right–this is what I love doing, and the gift has been laid at my feet.

I have been too exhausted to blog over the past day or so, and am trying now, with a second wind, to catch up.  The two-day workshop in Cotter, Arkansas for the White River Artists finished yesterday, and I was sitting up in the night, watching the St. Louis Blues (my home team) play the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup playoffs, when the phone rang, and my dear friend Bill Barksdale was inviting me to go fishing in the morning.  Bill is an astonishing photographer, and I have pored over the shots he took of me in the White River years ago, including this one:

fishing the White River

He arrived at six this morning, and drove us to the Norfork River.  I hadn’t caught a trout in three years (disgusting fact), and this morning I landed three rainbows and lost another. I can’t describe the sensations I felt, stepping into the river again, and finally holding a trout in my wet hands.  We used barbless hooks, so there was little effort in removing them and releasing those beautiful creatures back into the wild.  Watching a released trout swim away also stirs my heart.  Bill just phoned awhile ago, and he’s coming back again in the morning.  Six o’clock.  Wish it was now!  Bill is one of the most accomplished fly fishermen I know, with an intimate knowledge of the local rivers here that he’s fished since he was a teenager.  He is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to understanding fly patterns and what works in these waters.  I always know I’m going to be successful with his guidance.

After spending some time driving around and enjoying the landscape, Bill and I joined his wife Sandy (whom I hadn’t seen in years) for lunch and I got to converse with these two friends I’ve missed greatly during this long gap.  Sandy is a watercolorist with a reputation spreading across Arkansas and Texas (and probably other areas as well).

When I returned to my hotel room, I felt too tired to perform my next required task–a 4:00 watercolor demo for the plein air artists who arrived today for the first day of the White River Plein Air event.  Once I met them and felt their gracious manner, however, I quickly got in the mood to paint and cranked out a watercolor sketch in about an hour (I’m not posting it, because I dislike it, even though they said nice things about the work).

Coming home, I sat outside my hotel room to gaze at the golden late-afternoon sunlight. Opening my journal to write, I looked up and saw the light playing off the pair of lamp posts at the entrance of the Cotter Bridge, and thought it so lovely that I unpacked my gear and did a watercolor sketch of them, because I had to. And as I sketched, I wondered what I had ever done to deserve moments such as this. The answer came quickly: Nothing. I had done nothing to deserve this; it was a Gift. And I deeply appreciate the Gift. I appreciate every invitation to Live the Dream.

Thanks for reading. Please, keep dreaming. Dreams keep us alive, keep us believing.


3 Responses to “Living the Dream”

  1. Margaret Parker Brown Says:

    It was a blessing to read your post, you convey so much that I felt like I was there looking over your shoulder experiencing your day with you. I haven’t been fishing in years and I can imagine how wonderful it was to go once again. Looking forward to more of your paintings and adventures.


  2. Xraypics Says:

    It was a lovely post – made me smile. Great to hear your words of wisdom once more, and BTW that’s a stunning photo of you in the river.


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