Drawing the War Memorial Tower at the summit of Mount Greylock this morning requires some investigation. I circle the tower numerous times to learn how the morning light rests on its tall yet rounded form. Once deciding on a particular angle, I begin the walk to and from the tower in a line. Will I draw the tower from immediately beneath or from afar? Will I lie on the ground, or sit on the stone ledge? Not until I finally bring out the pastels and begin the drawing, do visitors understand my nonsensical wandering about the tower. Alas, the best place to draw happens to be in some clover-covered grass. This of course means I will be drawing in the midst of bees (who love clover). But hadn’t I decided this was the BEST angle to draw from? Hadn’t Joseph Mallord William Turner strapped himself to the mast of a boat to experience the fiercity of a storm before painting it? Okay, not quite the same, but regardless, I stay put, bees flitting about my head, swirling in and out of my drawing space. We commune for hours, the bees and me, losing all sense of time, as tall windows reflect the blueness of the sky and it occurs to me that I have forgotten to apply sunscreen.
Today is basically a ’close your eyes and put your finger on the map to decide where you will hike and draw’ kind of day. The Overlook trail is the winner, and I decide to hike there based on my assumption that there will in fact be an overlook. I find the trailhead and begin my 1 1/2 mile hike to find the perfect vista to draw. Silently I mutter about the heat and the big bag of drawing materials I am lugging in, until I am reminded of the thru-hikers carrying forty pounds of survival gear from Georgia to Maine. I quit complaining. After an hour of walking, I meet up with an elderly gentleman carrying a bucket of blue paint and a brush. At first, I think ”Oh, a fellow painter in search of a view!” then realize he is repainting trail markers on the trees. He says to me, “There ain’t no overlook here, the overlook is overgrown”, so I hang my head and hike back to where I began. It is two hours into my search for a view, but I decide to tredge onward. I decide on the Stony Ledge trail, a six mile round trip hike. There is no risk involved here, the destination is a proven one. The walk is easy and the view is extraordinary. I look down into what is known as The Hopper, a glorious lush green valley. I have run out of water to drink and watch longingly as a couple pours their dog a large bowl of water nearby. I finish the drawing in four hours, and love every minute of the process. An additional bonus – I have burned off the blueberry pancakes I ate this morning, too.