Summer Scenes

After a Gardeners of Peace visit to the politician’s garden, I’m changing her moniker to head gardener for the Gops.

We other three wandered around admiring everything. From the head gardener’s Craftsman cottage, a walkway under flowering dogwood trees leads to flowerful perennial beds – tall lilies lean out, small blossoms spread below. Plump plants of lavender border a handsome arbor near orderly vegetables, ripening raspberries, and a charming chicken house. It’s a picturesque scene.

Then we came upon a “secret space” – a glade hidden by trees, real geraniums, and a carpet of perfect grass. This green room was furnished with a hammock, and a picnic table laid with colorful tablecloth and tea treats: lemonade and iced tea to mix or not, deviled eggs in a deviled egg dish (no untoward jiggling off the plate), spicy cucumbers, bite-size chunks of ripe watermelon, a bowl full of cherries, crusty real bread, and gorgeous scones and jam!

A chance to catch up in a glorious summer setting. We talked trips mostly – and the librarian, being fond of details, asked me about travelling and painting, how did I do that?

“Because of my painting kit,” I thought later driving home – a seven-inch by eight-inch zippered pouch of rip-stop nylon. Small and light, it contains a tiny, simple studio for a watercolor painter: a pocket-size box of paints with the original pans of pigment pried out and replaced by squeezes of tube watercolor. The paint box came with a little take-apart brush (the brush stores in the handle), and I added one with a better point. On the faded and worn cardboard cover of the box is a watercolor scene – a classic English painting, surely by Winston Churchill or Prince Charles.

Mostly I work in my journal on a trip – but the kit contains cut pieces of hot press paper and a tiny drawing pad. Tape from a small roll can turn a folded-over piece of paper into a letter to mail. The cut-off end of a square plastic juice bottle holds just enough water for painting, and tissues from a tiny carton blot an overloaded brush. Colored pencil stubs are handy when water is not available, and color is called for.

The little kit holds a lot of memories of places – adding color to drawings on mountain trips, in airplanes – or sitting up in the early morning with cup of tea in a hotel bed. Even when not accurate, little paintings, colored drawings say something different than photos. They represent moments of concentrating, the moments of effort I cherish.

I didn’t have the kit with me, but would have liked to linger in the head gardener’s glade to capture some part of her summery scene.

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