Monday, December 14, 2015

The Summer of Amazing Serendipity...

Fishing River Bridge


As many of you know, 2014 was rough for me...between two deaths in our family, one expected, one horribly not, plus travel, a mountain of work on the new book and my Sketchbook Skool stuff, I was drained and burnt out, just treading water trying to keep up.  I tried to kick back, take care of myself, listen to myself and what my body needed...and what my spirit did.

We got a new holistic doctor who explored some of the health issues (yes, stress and depression CAN mimic heart problems--they are, rather, aren't they?), and that put some anxiety to rest.  The elephant on my chest was named Grief, not angina.

I got an extension on my book deadline; that degree of Presence I just did not have, for business anyway.  And slowly, slowly, I began to find my way back.

It was an incredible summer and fall, milder than it has been in ages.  I'm not a summer person, after a bout with heat exhaustion some years ago, and heat and humidity can keep me indoors unless I'm up and out early.  This year, Mother Nature smiled, beckoning to me...


My darling knight of a husband has always been incredibly supportive of my need to make art, pointing out things to sketch, never complaining, either sketching with me (rarely) or reading and napping while I worked...he knows I am not myself if I'm not sketching and journaling.  I lose touch.

But still...you know how it is.  You don't want to bore or inconvenience someone who is NOT as into it.  You hurry.  You do quick sketches, unfinished sketches.

And somehow know you need more...

Well, I'd always loved our yearly trips to the Ozarks, where he would fish and fish for 3 or 4 days and I would sketch my brains out, at Bennett Springs...but that was once or twice a year.  The rest of the time I would do what I could...


This year, an amazing convergence of syncronicities happened.  The mild summer, yes...but also he discovered warm water Tenkara fly fishing. It's a Japanese style, very simple, very minimal, very elegant...and he had to try it out.

And LOVED it.  And I loved it!

There we were, every day almost, out there together, each doing what we loved most.  He fished--he says that is as close to Zen as he gets, and he can concentrate for hours--and I made art, day after glorious day after amazing day, in the part of nature I love best, near trees and water and wildlife.

I always seem to see a deer when I most need one.


Summer faded into fall and the wonderful weather held.  And he fished.  And I sketched and journaled.

And healed. 

Cooley Lake, one of my heart homes.

Exploring a new brush at Lawson Lake

Painting on a gravel bar in the Fishing River, a couple of blocks from home...


More from that gravel bar...

Tryst Falls and himself fishing...

Oak tree at Lawson Lake

Mayflies, Smithville Lake

Great Blue Heron, Smithville Lake


Smithville Lake, Lawson Lake, Missouri River, Tryst Falls, Cooley Lake, Rocky Hollow, Watkins Mill, Fishing River, all within an easy drive...all beautiful.  All balm to my spirit.

These are only a few of the sketches from our magical season...

Old tobacco barn across from Fountain Bluffs, off Old 210 Highway...


It is December, now, and somehow there are still days we are able to get out there...

And wonderfully enough, he tells his fishing buddies that he has THE Best Wife Ever...because every day it's at all feasible, I'm likely to say "You wanna go fishin'??"

My gratitude knows no bounds.

32 comments:

  1. This sounds so delightful. . . peaceful. . . restful. My husband is as avid a golfer as yours is a fisherman. I want to become a plein air sketcher as opposed to staying cooped up in my studio. Your work is an inspiration to me. I look forward to your posts. Thought you should know.

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    1. Means a lot to go along with you on this year's journey, Kate. I think the new Tenkara Fly Fishing is such a discovery and blessing for you both. Your story leaves me feeling so warm and inspired and hopeful. Thank you.

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    2. I am so glad he discovered it! Not to mention all the lovely fish dinners we've had...

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  2. What a beautiful post. Love is such a blessing - love of spouse, love of nature, love of one's passion. Thank you Kate. Happy Holidays!

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  3. Wonderful Summer & Fall . You are an inspiration to so many people. Thank you for sharing ideas and words of wisdom with us. May the new year be a blessed one for you and yours.

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  4. Beautifully expressed Cathy. We had a tough year too--three deaths, my dad, husband's mom and uncle. I agree that being able to sketch brings tranquility and healing. May you have a blessed 2016. Can't wait for your new book!

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  5. My sympathies, Annie, I know what a lot that is to deal with.

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  6. Happy for you -looks like a great year, journey and relationship! :)

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  7. Oh, I'm so glad you had a better year--both of you! Just made me smile to read this and see all your beautiful artwork. :)

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  8. Wonderful post, so full of love, tenderness and beauty ! All the best to the two of you ! You deserve it !

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  9. The light you caught in the water under the bridge at the top of the post is amazing. Maybe you caught more than reflected light in that water - maybe you caught your own life perfectly reflecting all that is good. Gorgeous painting/sketches. So glad your "winter" has passed into a new season and you are stronger to handle what weather may stir up in your new season. Being thankful for what you have is key and you sure do honor that - even in that little clump of grass on the rocks. Nature is so awesome. Thank you for sharing these amazing glimpses.

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  10. Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments. I feel very blest.

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  11. This post is so encouraging to me. I can completely relate to what you say about not wanting to bore or inconvenience someone else and so doing only hurried or unfinished sketches, even when one's husband is incredibly supportive and patient and willing to read to pass the time. And yet, that deep need to connect with nature, oneself, and God is still there, not quite satisfied, leaving the soul a bit tattered and weary. Your post gives me hope. Thank you so much.

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  12. We are both wondering what we'll do when winter finally arrives! No fishing the past three days, oh noooo... :D

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    1. Ah, may more wondrous blessings arrive with winter.

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  13. How marvellous when two hobbies meld so beautifully. You must be very lucky to live where you have that river so close by, it looks very peaceful indeed. Hope 2016 is a better year for you.

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  14. Your work is superior. I totally enjoyed enjoyed seeing your beautiful sketches. The simplicity and colors in Cooley Lake took my breath away.
    Sorry to hear that times have been really hard. I understand only too well. Sounds like you are back on track, and with a hubby as neat as yours then all is back positive, and the book will magically be created in the flow of your healed spirit.

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  15. This is such a warm and centered letter. I am thrilled for the fishing discovery. Hoping you find a winter passion as well. Now that you have cleared some time and will recognize it when you see it. One tiny note, I believe you intended this to refer to 2015 and not 2014. I love your messages, here is to all good in the new year. Hugs, Rachel

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    1. Hi, Rachel...no, it was 2014 that was awful, 2015 has been sooo much better. Thank you so much!

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  16. What a wonderful, uplifting post! I'm so happy for both of you. You've created some fantastic memories over the last summer and fall and I'm sure you'll find a way to make more this (hopefully mild) winter.

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  17. This was such a deep pleasure to read, dear friend. I had followed along as each trip took place and as the joy of Joseph's new passion evolved, but to have all those experiences and sketches collected here is powerful and eloquent. May the new year serve you as well and as rewardingly as this year has done.

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    1. Dear heart, thank you. This post has been building--but we were too busy fishing and sketching to get it collected and down! There are literally dozens more images...what a wondrous fine year.

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  18. And thank you so much all for your wonderful comments!

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  19. Your sketches are soul-soothing, Kate. Thank you for sharing them. How wonderful that you and your husband could spend so much time together out in nature, doing what you each love. I'm glad you're healing, and I hope 2016 brings you even more.

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  20. Ack! I wish I knew why my comments tend to disappear here. I comment, click Publish, and a little message appears saying my comment was posted...I even see it posted. But the next time I visit the page, it's gone. This has happened a handful of times. Oh, well, I hope you get this comment, Kate, and know that I really enjoyed this post. :-)

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    1. Susan, I have no idea! Sorry! I'm glad you enjoyed it...

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  21. Oops, I meant I get a message saying my comment will be visible after approval...and then I usually see it posted for a short time before it disappears.

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