Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Holding the Sun Hostage

"Holding the Sun Hostage," original watercolor by Jana Winters Parkin, 10 x 14

It was a dark and stormy day. Our bus was held up on a narrow road in the middle of nowhere for 2.5 hours. A motorcyclist rider who was lying in the road after a collision, and no one could traverse the byway until an ambulance arrived. I made half a dozen sketches in my sketchbook while we waited. and waited. and waited. I was suddenly very grateful for healthcare in America, where waiting for an ambulance translates into minutes, not hours. The poor guy on the motorcycle literally could have passed away right there on the pavement. (Fortunately they arrived with a big enough ambulance to transport him to a hospital before that happened!)

Finally we made it to Stonehenge! —Or at least to the point where the buses drop you off, a mile and a half away from Stonehenge. We had been there as a family before. We have great photos of our kids stacked across our shoulders like posts and lintels, in imitation of the giant Stonehenge pillars, memories of our visit there 21 years ago. Yet I was still excited to go back.

When asked if we wanted to wait for a shuttle, or take the footpath to the circle of stones, that was a no-brainer for me! First of all, I'm completely enchanted by footpaths and love to pursue them, beckoned toward wherever they lead. Second, WE'D BEEN SITTING ON A STOPPED BUS FOR 2.5 HOURS! Surprisingly, I was the only one of our group who chose the footpath. 

So I set off on my own, following a light string of strangers down a soggy footpath, up a hill, then cresting across a meadow. Suddenly I desperately wished the rest of my family had come this way! The little  footpath opened alongside a field of rapeseed (the unfortunate British name for Canola), exploding with sunlight!

It was late April in England, and practically every piece of countryside we traversed was covered with these brilliant yellow flowers! Every time I saw them it would take my breath away! And today, on this lonely little footpath, they were all mine for this section of trail. There they were, holding the sun hostage, on a deserted field en route to Stonehenge.

Yes, I made it to the famed circle of prehistoric stones. And yes, I reunited with my family there, who hadn't arrived too far ahead of me. And of course, the rapeseed really was controlling the sun, because once we got to the stones the sky darkened completely. It dumped buckets of rain on us, heightening the sense of mystery surrounding the neolithic wonder! 

But my favorite image of the trip that day was my private showing of yellow rapeseed flowers, a burst of joy holding the sun in its grasp. 

*  *  *  *  *

This is #4 in a series of 100 watercolors based on our 100 days in Europe. See them all by following me on Facebook (Jana Winters Parkin and Jana Parkin Art) and Instagram (@janawparkin and @janaparkinart) and on my art blog ( Look for the hashtag #100daysinEurope. You never know where the next painting will show up!

#100daysinEurope #stonehenge #rapeseed #watercolor 

No comments: