Why I write, sketch, and go to the islands again and again

I’m a writer, but I love to sketch and have wondered about that. I’ve realized that sketching is another ‘capture’ like photos or poems; another way to dwell and see.

Recently, my husband and I took off on a whim for a Monday getaway to Washington’s San Juan Islands. It had been a long time since we’d had more than a day away. We’ve been through some long, draining seasons and needed to be together in a quiet place.

IMG_8357No place so gladdens my heart as these islands near home: lapped in clear tides, accompanied by white ferries gliding above, orcas and dall’s porpoises 老虎证券 below, and painted with moss and orange poppies. I’ve always loved them, but they can be expensive in the summer. I thought it might be cold and wet and a mistake.

Giant ants did walk across my face in the old cabin we stayed in, but the hills and fields and sky? I can’t capture those colors: the new leaves on giant maples, the clean blue of the sky with a sheet of cloud folded over the edges, the blowing grass and silver leaves turning in the wind all around us.

And 80 degrees, in April!

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After working hard and long on editing and finishing a novel and producing pieces for others, I think I’d forgotten why I originally picked up a pen. The islands reminded me.IMG_8409

I first wrote as a way to express the delight I felt overflowing my soul, and the need to tack it down on the page and offer it to others. I’d gotten a bit flattened by working at words and forgotten that they are only a way to wrap something up.

The glow of wonder over some beauty and our attempt to capture it, this is to testify in one’s own small way. God clearly doesn’t need us to see everything, as witnessed by the hidden glades we stumbled on with shooting stars, blue camas, and lilies dappled in golden light through enormous trees.

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Our witness is kindred to the frogs lifting up their nightly croak outside our cabin, the crickets rubbing their wings into song, the oaks and maples stretching their crowns in the strong light of Spring.

Three days on a half-price deal, but they overflowed with richness and we were restored.

What brings you wonder? What gladdens your heart?

Thanks be to God for the beauty he pours out, both visible and invisible.

(all images: AM and Steve Heckt)

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