Now I walk on hilly and rocky ground, with trenches and sparse growth. Then, it was also a desert, but a farmed, irrigated desert – flat ground growing alfalfa and cotton.
I remembered thinking how the green alfalfa seemed so unnatural against the desert landscape and mountains. But I loved the valley, I loved being able to see -in magnificent glory- the moon setting and the sun rising at the same time… the unsurpassed sunrises and sunsets in Arizona.
Although I didn’t paint many of the sunrises or sunsets, I painted many of the Chiricahuas (including when they were on fire), the desert, and some of the farm.
These paintings are of my morning walk on the farm, early, before it got too hot.
Always, always the beauty embraced me, and I acknowledged the Creator’s portrait expressed in His creation.
Always, always, during those days, were times of solitude and longing for His consolation and Person. I didn’t realize, then, how very close we are in Him when He seems absent. The pain of that seeming Absence is part of being in Him, part of the walk He takes us on… finding the absolute solitude is not solitude at all… There is no consolation apart from our God… and He gives what we need.
I was remembering those walks recently, the barnswallows circling over my head and dancing over fields collecting the dragonflies in season, gnats, flies or other insects that were so abundant in the irrigated areas. When we had grown corn, the sandhill cranes came by the hundreds during the migration and gleaned the harvested fields. No matter what we grew, the javelina were present, badgers, coyotes, snakes, great horned, pigmy and barn owls, deer, ravens and others. When the Chiricahuas were burning, many of the birds that normally stayed in the mountains came to the pecan trees and my feeder. So many varieties.
Although these paintings do not show all the animals, they were there. But I did not know that the animals talk to you yet… they were getting used to me on my routine in the midst of their routine. Mostly, though, they were walks with God.