Breathing

I walk into the dark woods
under the evening clouds
to sit on a log.

The woods begin breathing oxygen
and we menace each other
as the owls leave
their tight camouflage to hunt
and the moon chases the sun
over the edge of the neighborhood.

Darkness is soft at least.

On the way home the crows cackle.
The sound of shopping carts and aluminum cans
sharpen the silence as the sun fades
little by little.

Independent Artists

11 Independent women artists have teamed up to share our work and thank our supporters. Artists, in order of appearance: Binta Thérèse, Carrie Tasman, Diana Ryan, Darlene Klister (Firelight Designs), Jennifer Lommers, Marianne Post, Sharon King, Alexandra Schaefers, Jan Maitland, Jan Roberts-Dominguez, and Louise Magno (Natural Moments Studio). Find links to us here: https://linktr.ee/independentartistso…

Jennifer Lommers made this amazing video. She is a full-time artist and this is one of the many things she’s doing to keep her art going through the pandemic, normally she would be at a lot of art fairs over the summer! I’m really honored to be included!

Nearness of Wings

A hawk flies into a tall pine
followed by an angry crow.
A towhee screes across the street
while I walk down the hill
from the neighborhood
into the woods
where everything is filling in
with new shades of green.

The mallards are in the creek
where I stop to sketch the trees.
It’s an uneventful session today,
drawing impatiently in the woods.

When I cross the road
from the trail head to go home
I feel my last chance
slipping away from me.

I walk under the freeway
and hear a Red-winged Blackbird
for the first time here.

Did they just move in to this swale
built between I-5 and Barbur
when the cattails
became tall enough to perch on?

It’s such a tiny piece of wetlands
abbreviated by the street
that leads back to my dry wall cube.
A townhouse that is suddenly more
than an address on an avenue.
It is a place just north of the swale
and west of the creek
in the nearness of wings.

Working for Equality

It’s important to support equality with our dollars as well as our votes and voices so I’m sharing an online list of Black-owned Etsy shops. This list helps black artists and craft people stand out; it did not take me long to find a couple pieces I loved and purchased.

Also, this article is my favorite resource to answer the question for white people of, “What can I do about racism” There are a lot of good ones, this is just the one I found the most helpful.

We all have to find things to do to create equality even if we aren’t activists. My actions are to educate myself and write letters to politicians asking them to support Black Lives Matter and voicing my opinion about more specific issues like defunding the police. If you want to know more feel free to message me.



Gentleness of Rain.

watercolor illustration of a person walking down a rainy spring street by Alexandra Schaefers

A rainstorm comes in just as I leave for an early morning walk. My heavy cotton trench coat soaks through at the shoulders in the chorus of rain plunking through the trees and onto the ground.  

As I burrow through the streets littered with flower petals and teeming with spring’s growth I wonder why I’ve been so diligently timing my walks during sun breaks or overcast moments. 

Yesterday I walked to the office over the freeway under the gray clouds after several days of sunshine but I couldn’t remember what season it was for a long moment.

I don’t know the cause of these disconnects but today is my day to tend to chores and rest and walking in the soft deluge settles me into the goodness of ordinary tasks. 

The neighborhood houses are dark still but each one holds at least one human’s heart. A person sleeping, making coffee perhaps—safe and dry under their roof while their dreams slip out to catch the clear light as they bounce off the asphalt with the rain.

When I return home I hang my coat in the garage to drip dry, leave my hat by the gas fireplace then sit by the window in damp hair and pajama pants soaked below the knee to re-calibrate to the gentleness of rain.

This One Thing

No one is on the street.

When the sun lights up the air before me it is alive with pollen and dust which settles into the cracks of the asphalt like a golden mend.

I find a log by the creek, eat a couple pieces of toast from a paper sack in my pocket, then paint the forest. The sun shifts the colors as I work. Green and gold trees emerge from black shadows.

When my hands are cold I pack up my paint and walk into the woods where some earnestness finds me in the early angled light. As if all my life my body wanted this one thing: to wake at dawn—to paint trees.

And all this time I’ve been making a nice breakfast instead.

Underpass

The streets are quiet as I walk to the creek. I hurry through the ugly underpass, remembering a time when I loved the city and its grey places of decay.

In the woods, the sun lights up the bends of the creek where I sit on a log and draw two trees.

It’s not the forest’s fault I forgot how to love an urban eyesore.

On the way home a crow is in the underpass throwing his ingracious voice into the amplified cavern. I take a moment to consider the stately cement columns caught in the sideways light, then startle when a shadow slips along the street from the sidewalk above.

Who better than a loud crow to revive the glamour of an ugly underpass?