The eye of the storm is where it is most calm. Although calamity rages about me, empires are crumbling, economies eroding, tumult rocks this world and people starve, yet I am at peace. I did what I could today for peace. I enjoyed what we have left, and tried to inspire others to do what they can. Some did more than I today, some did less. But, I did what I was able.

The universe saw fit to take care of me for another day. Perhaps tomorrow not, but today I still breathe. I hope to make the most of tomorrows breaths.

Today I ran a different route and was longing to set up my easel to paint one of the vistas. But, I felt the prompting to continue on a bit further at each prospect. The sky buoyed fluffy white clouds, and the blue was clean and clear from yesterday’s rain. It is the one thing that I always fail remember about Oregon…how green it is.

I approached a clearing where some men with drums where attempting syncopated rhythms with varying amounts of success. Some children, as if painted by Sorolla himself, were playing in the river with a gaggle of geese. Then I saw them, fellow painters, plein aire types.

Sally and Don had already set up and were nearly finished with the days work when I approached and asked if might join their merry band. They were delightful company and despite this interloper’s neophyte status in the world of painting, they were ever the gracious hosts. Don a seasoned painter gave me some pointers about painting out of doors. His generosity was kind and not wasted upon me. Soon we were joined by another painter, and then another; soon a whole mess of people started to gather round to look, observe, and talk.

One such person was Margareta. When she heard of my peace pilgrimage she informed me that she has been working for peace for 45 years. She worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s office for peace. I was in awe of a woman who had worked so tirelessly for peace these many years. She has spent as many decades in the cause of peace as I have spent months. That realization provided a bit of perspective and humility for me. Even her hat proclaimed Peace!

She was well aware of the Peace Pilgrim, and had read her book numerous times. She admired my painting, and as such I informed her that it was hers. A chilly wind rose up over the water, and I had to start running as my teeth began to chatter, but I did so desperately want to continue my conversation with her. She was so sweet too, as she offered me money and a floor to sleep on should I need it. Her generous spirit was indomitable.

I said my goodbyes, and ran on to warm up. Soon I came upon a rose garden which I could smell before I could see; the flower’s perfume and fragrances being stimulated by the wind. I set my stool and made my camp before a lone rose. This was to be my first time attempting a pastel drawing out of doors; another test of my potential conscripted art supplies.

Pastels, having passed the test, allowed my concerns to gravitate to other matters such as, “to whom” I might give it? Truth be told, finished pastels don’t travel well. The universe hearing my plea, delivered Leticia and her family to my aid. Literally as the final strokes were being applied, the future recipient stood behind me with admiration for the work. In broken Spanish, I explained my trip and the purpose of the painting to the legatee, and she received it with open arms for it…and for me.

Be at peace my friends for this moment right now is all you and I have. How will we use it? This is it. This is your life. Are we who we want to be?

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