Monday, April 24, 2017 at 8:06AM
Scott A. Stultz

Dawn broke cool and cloudless yesterday despite a forecast of rain. The chilly air was fresh and remarkably free of pollen under a royal blue sky as we took a light breakfast of fruit and yogurt with our tea and coffee out on the brick patio. As perfect as only a Sunday morning in the spring can be. A morning not to be squandered indoors.

We set off on a drive with no clear destination, impulsively following cues that caught our eyes as we motored across the rolling farmscape and wooded hills in southern Lancaster county. Eventually we came across a narrow road marked by a sign warning that a bridge ahead was closed. We pulled off, parked, and emerged from the car to continue on foot.

Time stopped. No cars, no overhead jets, only the soft burble of the creek as we walked along a crooked country road lined with blooming wildflowers luminescent against the dark woods. We followed Little Conestoga Creek downstream, passing a decaying steel bridge. About a mile further, we came upon a stone farmhouse with a sagging old barn and attached sheds at the confluence of the creek and the Conestoga River, where the road ended at a lane with a closed gate winding off into the woods. 

Pausing for a few minutes to sit under an enormous sycamore to do a pencil and watercolor sketch, as much as anything else an excuse to tarry and drink in the loveliness of this out of the way spot. A fisherman waded in the creek behind me, casting with a flyrod through the sparkling air.

We talk about exploring faraway places - traveling to Iceland to experience its harsh beauty and spare landscape. Japan to seek out the old culture with its preserved settings. Oaxaca to discover for ourselves its ancient ruins. But on this lovely April morning, it was more than sufficient to be immersed in the beauty of this dwindling Pennsylvania countryside, so close to home.

along Little Conestoga Creek, 8 x 6.25, graphite pencil and watercolor


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