I long to be a plein air painter,
carrying my easel in a case on my back,
my tools of creation upon and within me.
I would wander about, as artists do,
searching for the just-right spot.
(Artists have a good eye for that.)
I would be a part of and apart from the landscape,
and passers-by would steal glances at my work,
peering around my floppy hat to see
my skillful use of shadow in the cathedral of leaves
shielding the path from the bright sun,
a background of cerulean sky beyond them;
and my magical capture of movement on still canvas,
yellow-brown leaves fluttering down to the rocky path.
I would use my palette knife with skill,
mixing deep blue-gray-blacks for the heron’s wing,
tucked and resting round against his unmoved form.
Oh, to be a plein air painter!
I sometimes wear a floppy hat, and I wander, as artists do,
a part and yet still apart,
my tools of creation invisible, even, it seems, to me.
The passers-by pass by, and nothing more, unaware
of my search for a spot, for the just-right words.
(Writers are supposed to be good at that.)
The cool air in the cathedral startles me awake; is it
the cold chill of separation? or a welcome cold cloth on fevered brow?
In both, my soul sees through, to the big and beneficent sky beyond.
The falling leaves beckon to me playfully, Lighten up!
daring me to mourn – on such a day! – the passing of warm summer;
they dance down silently, triumphant confetti in a returning victory parade.
The dark-eyed heron meets my gaze wordlessly, defiant and challenging
in the silent language of the painter.
He seems to know what the passers-by do not.
Untucking his head, he straightens up, reaching out to forever,
with only the whisper of a whoosh, he takes flight,
becoming one with the cerulean sky.
Come, he dares me, into the plein air.
Just as you are.