Sunday, June 29, 2008
Bullfrogs, Jackrabbits, Muskrats and Prairie Dogs
The road was closed where I had hoped to paint this morning. I wandered around for a bit and thus missed the early light. Not wanting to get completely skunked, I finally just stopped somewhere and set up to paint a simple scene at one of the numerous "potholes", the little ponds and mini-lakes that dot the wildlife refuge. It took me a couple of minutes to puzzle the sound I was hearing; I finally figured out that it was large bullfrogs in a croaking chorus echoing off the basalt formations. On the trail I startled a young jackrabbit and a muskrat, the latter making a cute "oh no!" sound before it disappeared into the mossy depths of the pond. I could hear the occasional prairie dog whistle, checking my whereabouts to see if it was safe to venture out. Small fish were meandering in the pond, jumping for breakfast mosquitos, not really disappointing the big black and little neon blue dragonflies flying figure eights above since there are plenty of mosquitos to go around. Even though the pond is shallow, the clear water and the dark rock lining make it look deeper and inviting like a black bottomed swimming pool. It was already getting hot by 7am -- today will be a scorcher. The warm sun intensifies the fragrance of the sagebrush and reminds me to watch the ground for slithering motion as I hike back to the car. It isn't a very good study, that's what I get for losing patience in trying to find a location.