July 3rd was the anniversary of the health crisis that marked the beginning of the end of my mother’s life. On the morning of July 3, 2018, I woke up from a long luxurious dream about Mom. I dreamt that I took her on a short hike so that she could enjoy nature, even with her mobility issues. We drove to the top of a mountain, and I gently guided her down. It was the kind of dream that I savored for awhile after I woke up. It was only later in the day of July 3 that I realized that the dream happened on the anniversary of Mom’s stroke and fall. Maybe she was thanking me for helping her through the last six months of her life and for showing her a few things of beauty along the way.

On the other hand, “they” say that every character in a dream is some aspect of the dreamer. If this is so, the message is that I need to be gentle with myself when I take myself into nature. I am not the spry young hiker with great reflexes that I was even a decade ago, and my wounded knee is a reminder that I can still hike, but I need to be careful and slow down.

The watercolor that accompanies this post is of a photograph of Mom and me in 1977. I was excited that the 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge was over, and I could do a preliminary sketch with a pencil. I thought my results would be so much better. However, I saw that the direct watercolor system (using only watercolor and a brush—no drawing) lent itself to a looser look, so after my preliminary pencil sketch, I returned to my brushes alone. Discovering my inner watercolorist through this thirty day challenge has been a wonderful experience, and I look forward to doing more. In fact, my dining room table has become my semi-permanent watercolor station.