Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 11

me. I’ve learned that a bad drawing,
as the drawings accumulate, recedes
into insignificance, just the way all
but the worst bad days do, as life
continues. I feel a lot freer now, when
I pick up my pencil, to just go ahead
and try something. I linger over some
drawings – I’ve worked on a few for
hours – but most are completed in
less than an hour, some in a few
minutes.
Most day’s gifts are simple: a full
moon in a black sky on Jan. 27; snowdrops blooming in the yard on Feb.
13; setting out vegetable seedlings
on St. Patrick’s Day. On March 19,
seeing the female red-bellied woodpecker who had come alone to the
deck for sunflower seed all winter followed by a handsome suitor. On
March 27, “bright green grass
emerging from snow – spring peeking through.” On April 8, my first big
butterfly day; on the 16th, a male
ruby-throated hummingbird at my
feeder. Some involve companions,
human and otherwise: lunch with
friends; friends helping out with
house renovations. Our community’s
Bandana Club get-togethers: a night
of music at Joan and Roy’s, a potluck
at the community center, an expedition to a flea market. On April 13, I
welcomed the reappearance of the

black snake who resides in my garden
shed; the next day I enjoyed time
spent with my friend Judy cleaning up
the Orchard’s butterfly garden.
There are days that contain so
many gifts I have trouble deciding
which one to illustrate. My February 5
walk yielded “an embarrassment of
riches: frog chorus (excited chatter),
two frogs up from the mud, salamanders, and frogs’ eggs! Overhead:
three circling redtails, one turkey vulture.” My drawing was of the little
pond I like to stop by at. It’s a lousy
drawing, but looking at it my heart
remembers how it leapt when I saw
the gelatinous clumps of eggs. Spring
was coming!
Discovering some days’ gifts isn’t
easy. What’s to celebrate (or draw) on
what feels like the 40th consecutive
drizzly, gray winter day? What’s the
gift on the anniversary of Graham’s
death, or the day I had to have my cat
Fiona euthanized? I found I didn’t
want to gloss over those bone-deep
sorrows, but to honor those who’d
run out of their gift of days. My drawing for March 20: a portrait of Fiona
based on a photo I’d taken of her two
weeks earlier, when I had no inkling
I’d soon lose her. (I had to skip that
page for a week or two, so I could
bear looking at the photograph long

enough to make the portrait accurate. It took hours and it made me
weepy. But it also made me laugh,
thinking about our difference of
opinion as to whether my life’s work
involved letting her onto the back
porch, and a few minutes later, letting her back in.) For March 24th, I
drew the way I imagined Graham’s
gravestone would look in the snow,
from my memory of the spring afternoon we buried his ashes. The gift?
“All the years shared.”
An unexpected dividend of the
project is the pleasure I take in deciding how to represent each day’s gift. I
don’t try to make two facing drawings work together. If their styles are
wildly different, well, so are a
70-degree day followed by a snowstorm. I now appreciate how hard it is
to draw birds, even with field guide
illustrations for reference, and how
fun it is to draw maps. I’m heartened
to have filled the first of the year’s
books, and be nearly a third of the
way through the second. Can I keep
it up? I don’t know. But I do know
that it’s all been worth it. Because,
unlike those written journals, I like
looking back through these little
books, at the gifts each day has
afforded me. They’re no less valuable
for being utterly ordinary. 

JULY/AUGUST 2013 | 11



Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013
Table of Contents
Digital Help Guide
Letters
From the Editor
From the Farm
Worth a Click
Creature Feature
Great Home Buys
Country Roads
The Hike
Mountain Report
Festivals and Events
The Best of the Mountains 2013
25 Years of Covers: Your Favorites
Ghost Town in the Sky Rises from the Dead to Live Again
Blossoms and Buddies: The Photoessay
25 Gen X and Gen Y-ers Changing Our Mountains for the Better
Beer! A Tasting Tour of Notable Microbrews in the Mountains
Then & Now: A Photo Tour
Chefs of the Mountains, Part III
Cabin in the Woods
Flavors
Mountain Garden
The Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Letters
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Festivals and Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Best of the Mountains 2013
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 25 Years of Covers: Your Favorites
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Ghost Town in the Sky Rises from the Dead to Live Again
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Blossoms and Buddies: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 25 Gen X and Gen Y-ers Changing Our Mountains for the Better
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Beer! A Tasting Tour of Notable Microbrews in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Then & Now: A Photo Tour
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 75
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 76
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 77
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 78
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 79
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Chefs of the Mountains, Part III
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 81
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 82
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 83
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 84
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 85
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cabin in the Woods
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 87
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 88
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 89
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Flavors
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 91
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 93
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 94
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 95
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 96
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 97
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE8
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 99
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover4
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