Sunday, June 10, 2012

Longing for Bodie Island

 For a while now I've been longing for a free morning to go to my favorite sketching location, Bodie Island. (pronounced like body) 
Still feeling a bit suffocated from too many demands to make others happy, I know I'll be able to settle in by the creek for a couple of hours and get my head together. I'll get lost in sketching the ever-present kingfisher, low flying ibis, the cormorant spreading his wings to dry and the fish that swim in a flurry, back and forth under the bridge to the sound and back. And they will expect nothing of me nor I of them - just varied life forms sharing the same space for a bit of peaceful contemplation with consideration on both parts.

Bodie Island is my "go to" place, my meditation room, my sanctuary. It takes on a different appearance depending on the weather, time of day and time of year of course, yet it is always familiar, like a good friend I haven't seen for awhile. This location appears in many of my whimsical paintings, and the plein air watercolors I have done in the past live in a drawer in the spare bedroom because quite frankly, I don't know what to do with them. You see for me, it's not about the finished painting but more about the emotional experience and the process of learning what goes on in this small space of air, water and land. By frequenting a favorite spot you become a close friend, noticing subtle changes and learning the life cycle of it's inhabitants.

I've painted and sketched these scenes in hot, humid temperatures and on cold, winter days when a stiff north wind fought for control of my paper. I've turned my eyes west towards the mainland, south towards Pea Island and most often east towards the sea. And each New Year's Day I end up spending part of it here on Bodie Island, reflecting on the year past and the one to come usually meeting another person or two lost in thought as I am. I can't think of a better place to welcome in the new year. 

So finally, this past week, the time had arrived. My sketching friend and I decided to drive down to Bodie Island to spend the morning exploring and drawing, then we'd planned to go to lunch and talk shop. I was full of anticipation, wondering what would be waiting for us. We parked the car, slung our packs across our backs and headed to the trail. And within the first couple of steps we were covered with hundreds of hungry mosquitoes from all the standing water leftover from the last storm. Even with the strong northeast wind, they managed a few quick bites before we escaped back to our vehicle. We ended up sketching the sand dunes across the street at Coquina Beach. (And lunch was She Crab soup with Mahi Mahi fish and chips.)

But Bodie Island still waits for me, and when I do get there it will be exactly what I need.

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