Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
William Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”
As soon as I was free from school Friday, I headed eastbound on I-20 for a 2 1/2 hour drive to the Tyler, Texas vicinity–a small town called Flint. There, in the facilities of Saint Mary Magdelene Catholic Church, I led an all-day Saturday watercolor workshop. The first painting posted above was the demo, with all participants observing and practicing the compositional pieces throughout the day: cloud-filled sky, barn, horizon foliage and ground texturing. When the day was done, each of us had a 9 x 12″ watercolor of a barn in a field.
Later that evening, my host and her husband took me to the shores of Lake Palestine just as the sun was setting. We had ten minutes to kick out a watercolor sketch as we sipped wine, and my attempt is posted below:
Throughout my combined five hours of driving, Friday afternoon and Sunday morning, I drank in the east Texas countryside and felt the shivers of joy I knew as a small boy growing up the first four years alone in Missouri. Actually, my brother didn’t really become an outdoor playmate until he was about four, so I guess I had eight years of the outdoors to myself growing up with no company except for a vivid imagination.
I drank in that ever-expanding universe that enveloped me as I played in my yard, the garden, and the neighboring pastureland. And while I drove this past weekend, I recalled my childhood questions: is there a person behind those clouds watching me, why are the distant hills blue, and why do trees so far away appear to be no larger than my hand? As I grew older, scientific explanations drove away most of the magic, but not the curiosity and attraction of this world.
The Wordsworth poem flooded my consciousness as I drove home early in the morning. I cannot describe the feeling of overhearing oneself reciting the portion posted above while driving alone through the countryside, but 8:17 Sunday morning marked a sublime feeling of “eudaimonia” as I recited the words aloud, and looked at the sprawling, affirming countryside outside my windsheld.
Thanks for reading.
I paint in order to discover.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.