The good earth
Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 8:58AM
Scott A. Stultz

I spent the first week of fall this year in a rustic camp at the edge of a quiet peninsula on Penobscot Bay. Immersed among the rich early autumn scenery, a once fancy 1958 Buick Estate Wagon that I'd first spotted hidden in a roadside tangle of tall summer lupine 20 years before, emerged out of the dusk as we drove by on our way to dinner in Blue Hill. The undergrowth had been mown down and what was left of the saplings were now mature birch, their leaves just turning. Mosquitoes, black flies, and the limitations of vacationing with young children had excused me from interpreting my fascination in drawing form in times past, but over the years I thought that someday I should take a crack at it. Stopping for another look, I thought that again.

1958 Buick Estate Wagon

The week went by. Every day was gloriously full of the outdoors, and sitting next to a rural highway staring at a rotting hulk of General Motors folly was low on the list of what to do. And I did plenty of other sketches and watercolors. 

The next to final day of our visit, the morning greeted us with a chilly rain. Ina needed access to internet and copy services for an upcoming work engagement, and I realized that regardless the weather, her route to town would take her past that old car. There wouldn't be a better time.

So after breakfast I found myself hunched in a folding camp chair by the road, watercolor pad and palette balanced on my lap, holding an umbrella over my head, concentrating grimly on my self assigned task. Trying to depict the now bullet shattered windshield, faded and mottled paint, the advancing rust, the smashed out grille. A challenging subject under less than ideal conditions. I fumbled with brushes and paints. Cursed explosively when a big dump truck whooshed by and blew the umbrella out of my hand. Still, I managed to get a legible impression before Ina pulled up in the Volvo to take me back to our cabin.

watercolor, 12" x 9"

We live in a time of ugly and turbulent politics. It's easy to get caught up in anger or disillusionment. But when I think about that old Buick being broken back down into the good earth from which every part of it was fabricated, I am reassured by the knowledge that larger and inevitable forces will prevail.


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