I went out for a short hike yesterday, to find a new preserve that had opened up nearby. Most of the trails are currently under construction and not open for public use, and consequently there really wasn’t much to see. However there was one spot…. a boardwalk that opened into to the lake, which was surrounded by a spread of dense water lilies, quietly floating in the late afternoon sun. It was really quite a sight. As I looked at the lily pads and the glistening reflections on the water, I thought what a silent, peaceful sanctuary that I have stumbled upon. ~Rita
Last week, my son and I went on yet another hike…. this time to a nature preserve not far from where we live. Surprisingly it was one we had never heard of. As we hiked the preserve, which ran along a beautiful creek, I thought about the woman the preserve was named after, Dr. Ora Phelps. Ora was born in the late 1800’s, a medical doctor by trade, who lived into her 90’s, and had climbed each of the 46 high peaks of the Adirondack mountains (each over 4,000 feet) TWICE during her lifetime. Quite an accomplishment! As I was walking, I found myself thinking of this incredibly strong woman with a passion for healing the sick, and such a connection to the outdoors… and was wishing that I could have known her. I would have liked to talk to a woman taking an unusual path in life for a female from her generation. Strong and independent, with a knowledge to heal people using her medical degree, and knowledge of a different kind as well I suppose. Having spent so much of her time outdoors I am guessing that Dr. Ora Phelps was also very much in touch with the healing power of this beautiful land I see before me.
This one’s for you, Ora. ~Rita
Before it got so frigidly cold, I went on a hike with my son to a trail called Saratoga North Woods here in upstate New York. It seemed like a harmless idea: he said it was a short trail, a couple of miles that was more like a stroll than an actual hike. Well, it did start as an easy trail but what we didn’t account for was some very icy spots that made the climb a little more difficult. That being said it was still pleasant and very pretty until…(of course there is an until because none of my hiking stories ever seem to end pleasantly)… until we got to two trail markers that were on opposite sides of a wide stream. Rock- hopping has never been a strong suit of mine but I can do it if it is not too rigorous. As I stood hesitantly on the last rock before jumping on to the embankment I was listening to my son say “C’mon Mom I know you can do it!!” and I quickly learned one thing : Don’t ever trust a kid cheering you on. Yes, you guessed it. Plop down in the water I went, quickly covered in mud. We finished the hike with me cold, wet, and cranky. (Sigh) But, I guess somehow in the end, even in unpleasant circumstances, beauty prevails. That scene with the water, snow, and rocks was etched in my mind, and when I got home I found myself in the studio painting it. Here is my rendition of “Saratoga North Woods.” ~Rita