It was fun and a complete surprise when my sister emailed me this afternoon to let me know that Donna Drozda carved tiles are being shared this weekend at 'Peninsula Python Days'...this bit of news has given me the chance to reminisce:
In 2003 and again in 2005 I had the honor of being selected as Artist in Residence for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the CVNPA Environmental Education Center. A stunning experience that gave me the opportunity to live and work, for weeks each time, in a comfortable old farmhouse (with a choice of studio spaces) feet away from a rushing river, nestled at the base of a steep and forested ravine.
Each day at dusk dozens of Turkey Vultures (one of my very favorite birds, their Latin name is Catharses Aura...as in 'cleans the aura' ...how great is that!) gathered to roost in the pine grove by the covered bridge a few hundred feet from my door.
Most evenings as the sun set I would dash down the path, binoculars in hand and stand enraptured staring up into the maze of pine boughs silhouetted against the darkening sky. One after another these huge birds flew in ready to roost for the night. As they flapped down into place on their chosen branch they would invariably knock someone else out of their space and a wild beating of 4 foot wing spans would ensue as one by one, in a comical domino effect, they fell from the highest branches down into the lower limbs. The sound of this was primal and ancient and magnificent. It would go on and on and on past nighfall and still I did not want to wind my way back to my door.
In addition to this landing fiasco it seemed they would fall asleep shortly after landing and then proceed to slip from their branch with, again, a raucous rattling of wings. I felt transported evening after evening observing their odd antics.
Throughout the night White Tail Deer roamed beneath the old gnarled sculptural cherry trees in the side yard. I'd often extinguish all lights and then lean against the frame of the expansive front room window, sketchbook in hand, quickly drawing their graceful movements as they grazed in the moonlight. At times there would be up to ten or more large ungulates within inches of the plate glass illuminated by the soft lunar glow.
I have great and grateful memories of weeks on end living alone in this preserved and protected forest.
What an irreplacable treasure we have in our National Park system. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is 33,000 acres of mixed hardwood forests, rushing rivers, working organic farms, and the historic Erie Canal Towpath restored now as a hike and bike path extending for more than 30 miles through the valley...all in the backyard of both Akron and Cleveland, Ohio.
Here's the copy and a link of all the events...this weekend...
Nature Notecard Art
From 11 am to 3 pm at Park Place, use carved tiles created by Cuyahoga Valley National Park Artist-in-Residence Donna Drozda to create your own make-it and take-it nature themed notecard.
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