I spent a few hours on a springtime trail cleanup at Kane Woods Conservation Area in Scott Township near where I live.
Let me correct that. I intended to volunteer for trail clean up, but I ended up running barefoot along the cool packed dirt of the trails, climbing in and out of the trickling stream, planning future art outings and taking photos of the woods in nearly full leaf on a warm, sunny Spring afternoon.
This led to my first attempt at making a little video using my tiny digital camera which has this feature. The sound of the water rippling by in the unnamed stream that runs from top to bottom of the property, the birds in the woods, the light sound of the breezes, all inspired me to try something I’d been intending: place my digital camera on a nice rock in the middle of the stream, turn it on to “videotape”, and film a scene that I was enjoying immensely and wanted to share with others, hence “Peaceful Sights and Sounds“. There’s no plot, no other action than the stream moving and the tree branches swaying. It’s posted on my website since I can’t post video on this blog yet.
Being off in the woods and fields is my restorative, just walking on the earth up and down hills, letting the varieties of colors and shapes and shadows and light slip past my gaze as I walk. Photographing and painting it allows me to stop and deeply study and enjoy a chosen spot, then share it with others in whatever work I bring back.
The Kane Woods Conservation Area is a place I’ve known since I was a child, before it was conserved and trails were established, but my lifetime of visiting and that of others is what inspired Scott Conservancy to consider the site worth working for.
I wrote about my memories at the Kane Woods Conservation Area for the Scott Conservancy newsletter last summer in “Sweet and Sour for Summer“, describing the similarities and differences between raspberry and poison ivy leaves in early spring so that visitors to the site could distinguish them and avoid their first dose of poison ivy. When I was growing up a pony lived at the beginning of the trail who got very regular visits from me and the biggest thrill was that I got to ride that pony about twice each year.
My brother accompanied me on this Sunday clean up effort, and as we passed the foundation of the barn where Pepper had lived, he asked, “Didn’t Pepper used to live here?” I wasn’t even aware he knew about Pepper! Forty years later, it was a memory we could share that we never knew we had in common.