Standing at winter’s edge, budding trees show promise of spring. Gray skies have dominated and I long for the simplicity of sunshine. In my moment of weakness, I dream of summers in Montana. Remembering how desperate we were in April for the remaining 6 feet of snow to melt off, I have the same longing for this midwest winter to end.

As the water residue soaks into the soil, the aroma of dirt drifts through the air. My mind wanders to days of schlepping through deep puddles of snow runoff. Smells of summer approach. Yearning for hot summer sun and the emersion of cool mountain waters. I’m suddenly transported to my favorite swimming holes. Clear freshwater streams allow exploring everything beneath the surface. Wildlife and conservation were major components of my childhood. Living next to Yellowstone National Park we were taught to have great respect for nature and all elements in it. Within the YNP boundaries, my grandmother was my first example of conservation. She taught me to respect the preservation of Yellowstone. Everything should be left untouched. Any stick, rock or flower should remain in its exact position. This preservation allows generations through the years to observe and admire the incredible beauty of Yellowstone. 

There are specific areas of the park that allow you to immerse yourself into the elements. The Firehole River is fed by nearby geysers, warming the typically cold water to a lovely temperature for swimming. The river flows through tall grass fields, where the buffalo do actually roam. Eventually, the current of these warm waters reach more intense terrain, cascading over a drop off, creating a waterfall. At the base, rapids swiftly wrap itself around rugged cliffs until the final bend, smoothing itself into a calm, pool-like setting before the next set of falls. People congregate to this swimming hole. Being a local, we knew all the tricks to climbing over the cliffs, jumping into the rapids, how to avoid hitting rocks and the ultimate cliff jumping. My brother and sister were masters of the rapids and jumping off the cliffs. They taught me how to swim against the current to get upstream while crossing the river. 

To be honest, I was only brave enough to do cliff jumping a few times. It’s terrifying and I’m so scared of heights. However, I loved floating the rapids and riding the current to the calmer portion. In the pool area, I would explore the textures of underwater life. Beautiful shades of green, swaying seaweed captured the sunlight as it danced with the movement of the water.

Countless times, I stood at the waters edge, observing and reflecting on Mother Earth’s shear beauty. I created “Waters Edge” encompassing several different body’s of water from my childhood. A body of water brings me peace of mind. In this painting you can envision the portions of green as beautiful moss within reach beneath the waters surface. Greens and blues are combined with various colors you see while overlooking water. As light absorbs and reflects the summer sun, brighter colors transport me to carefree days spent at the waters edge.