Spring 2007 was probably the most amazing and difficult times of my life. I was living at a palace just to the south of Edinburgh, Scotland with the Wisconsin in Scotland program. This palace was built in the 1700’s for one of the dukes, and is located in the center of Dalkeith County Park. The park is 2,817 acres, comprising 5 let farms (with lots of hairy coos, sheep, etc.), and 564 acres of woodlands on the North Esk River. There were hundreds of miles of walking trails, nice pastures with trees that have been a Druid sacred site since 1100-1200 (and yes, the trees are that old).
I had just discovered soil science existed, was working with a charismatic Scotsman (who I am working on a book project with now), had an amazing British Gothic Novels course, and an anthropology course that I kept falling asleep in. My 78 page paper on soil visual structure was complete, and I got to do my first professional presentation to scientists.
I also happened to meet one of my best friends here, and we went on long, ambling walks around the property in the woods. (Both of us were camp staffers at the time).
But, sometime when the daffodils were out, I got the email that my adopted mother (I lived with her family during college) was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Here I was, both living on the top of the world, and being dragged through this awkward quagmire of emotions, lot of them had to do with the fact that I couldn’t actually DO anything, or provide any kind of emotional support to the people who meant so much to me.
So, I picked up the habit of running through the woods, or walking with friends. The professors and I were very good friends (yea, I am THAT kind of nerd). The music professor (whom I didn’t have) would often walk with me all around the property. She was afraid of cows…
But as the spring wore on, it got closer and closer to the time that I was to go home. This is when the beautiful purple flowers started to grow in the under-story. The time around dawn and dusk were very impressive, as sun rays came down, creating vibrant light and backgrounds through the trees. I found myself walking and running through the fragrant fields thinking about the future, and some of the unfair circumstances in life. These walks, friendships, and hardships, were the inspiration behind this pastel paintings. I really like how the light and trees interplay with the flowers, and the subtle coloration in the sky.
It is dedicated to my adopted mother, who gracefully lost her fight with cancer a little over a year ago after five years. I miss her encouragement, strength, and grace.