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En Plein Air

DSC08452 This term (French, “open air” or “in full air”) is normally used to describe artists painting or drawing outdoors, rendering what they’re seeing at a particular moment in their medium of choice. I wonder if we couldn’t all consider ourselves “plein air artists” when we’re out in the woods and meadows taking in the fragrance of spring, the constantly emerging and changing colors and shapes of flowers and plants. I say we could. I definitely say we should. The act of truly seeing is a creative act, whether we try to recreate what we’re observing or not.

I particularly love the translation “in full air,” since oh my, isn’t the air just terribly, achingly full in spring? There is a woods here in my town, a ten-minute drive from my house. (I know, I am incredibly lucky.) Lately, I’ve been taking extra long walks with my dogs there, since it’s just so beautiful right now and since I can. I can! Again, very lucky. We take the less traveled trail along the creek and then we cross the creek by scrambling down a bank, winding up in the most remote part of the woods, where again we have our choice of trails to follow.  Since it’s spring and new wildflowers are popping up daily and opening up to greet the full air, we climb the big hill, where flowers are plentiful and where we see no one else. I do love people but I also very much LOVE having the woods to just me and my dogs.


I am overwhelmed right now with gratitude. A little bit baffled, even, at my good fortune. For I have the time, the ability and the freedom to do this, morning after morning. Many do not. I do not take this lightly. I realize that at 7:00 or 7:30 a.m., the other cars are taking their owners to jobs. Indoors. Possibly jobs they do not even like. I’m quite certain that many, if not most of them have much better incomes than I do–but I’m quite sure, too, that I am the lucky one. I don’t need many of the things that money can buy. I’m hoping my car, at 180,000 miles, will give me 100,000 more. I don’t mind finding out. My house will be paid for in a few more (10??) years, if I am lucky (which I am). I thank Franklin Delano Roosevelt for helping me live more securely at this stage of life. I thank my sister (my CPA), for making sure I paid in. I am lucky all the way around.

DSC08572My gratitude lately has been immense. I feel personally blessed by the revolution of this glorious thing that is Spring. I know it’s not actually here for my benefit–but in a way, it is. I benefit from it. I am healed by it. I marvel at it–right here within my grasp. Free of charge. Amazing. Glorious. Spring is a creative act. And if we partake in it, we are creators, too.    

1 thought on “En Plein Air

  1. “Seeing is an act of creation.” Thomas Walther, photo collector

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