Ian's Challenge - June

June’s painting is called “The Flatbrook”. It is a watercolor I painted of a trout stream in western New Jersey. It is an unassuming stream that flows through the Roy Wildlife Management Area. A 2090-acre park, adjoining Stokes State Forest, in Sussex County is run as a hunting, fishing and hiking recreation area. It is as pristine as it gets for a trout habitat just a little less than two hours from New York City.

It is where learned the art of fly-fishing, where I learned to hunt, and where I came to understand that reality is relative to where you are.

It was there I witnessed glimpses of a world far removed from my daily life. It was my “Secret Garden”. There were many instances I can recall about this special place. But a few stand out.

I remember watching a Great Horned Owl spring from a tree limb and take flight. It’s wings spread out like massive oars, it flew inaudibly through the trees, somehow avoiding them, until it disappeared into the distance.

Deer would cross the stream just feet from where I fished. Startled, yet intrigued, I felt blessed for them trusting me enough to cross so close to me.

Sighting trout dashing, darting, and leaping to feed on insects was a joyous event. I never tire of it.

Sometimes a thundering summer rain shower washed away the heat and refreshed the parched ground I walked on. The trees raised their arms to the sky in praise.

One humbling event I will never forget was standing in a field of cut corn watching grace come down from the heavens in the form of snow coating everything within view. It drifted like feathers around me. I have never felt so loved.

One day I shall revisit this place again with an unhindered soul.

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