Last weekend, my fiancé Sam and I went for a hike at Evansburg State Park. It had been a long week and we were both in frustrated moods. I was hoping sometime outside in the nice weather would help clear our heads. Somehow, I managed to get Sam to leave the house with me. I actually couldn’t believe it. Usually, after a crap week, he just likes to be left alone (understandably) to do something for himself.
We decided to follow a new trail this time around to look at a different part of the stream. Now, this “trail” was obviously made by visitors to the park and not an actual state made trail. So after a few minutes of slipping, sliding and trying to keep the dog from knocking me over we made it to the bottom.
As I was coming around the corner, annoyed with the dog and cranky in general, Sam said, “Chelsea, shush, look.”
That’s when (after a few seconds of “what are you trying to shush me for”) I saw this:
It was a Great Blue heron, standing in the stream, looking for fish and clams. He instantly took my breath away. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for awhile now and have spent countless summers hiking. Never have I seen a Great Blue in person. In all honesty, I didn’t even know a bird that big lived in my backyard. Evansburg is a 15 minute drive from my house.
I started to take a few pictures, before he flew a little further down the stream from us. Then Sam and I just spent some time watching him. It ended up being the first ten minutes all week I felt truly relaxed. My mind finally stopped racing back and forth between the million and one concerns I had. Instead, I just watched this magnificent creature. I knew right then I’d have to draw him. The camera on my phone, although good (thanks LG V10), still didn’t capture the beauty of this bird.
He had the most fascinating shades of blue, grey and black in feathers. The Great Blue’s legs were the wonderful mucky color you get from standing in streams. Then, there is that stunning orange color to their eyes. I was, and still am, beyond grateful he decided to stick around and lets us catch a few minutes with him. Seeing this Great Blue helped to change my entire weekend. He reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for, even amidst the struggles.
And so that is how the the inspiration for Project 14 came to me: