A Return to Nature And Art Therapy

Here I am looking at the most amazing and largest owl I have ever seen. The gentleman holding the creature is a twenty-year volunteer of the Bird Sanctuary.

This is the shot Mr. Thyme got of the owl up close--is that not breathtaking?
I love eagles.
Then some birds with names I've forgotten. Oh well--still amazing.
Hello! This one I remember the volunteer telling us is one of three on the North American Continent. I believe it hails from Africa.
Mr. Thyme and I debated this little guy for a bit. I said it's a baby bison. He says elk. I said bison. He said elk. He just came walking along as we were driving through--the cute little baby bison.

Seriously. . . how incredible is that face?

Again. Peaceful, quiet and gigantic big wooly balls of fur. I love them!

My favorite places to be are either on a mountain, or in the middle of the woods. I grew up loving to explore nature. I'm no Annie Dillard, but studied her writings in school and those of other like-minded women who sought refuge from the world by connecting with all things "outside." I am someone who thrives in less populated areas of the planet. If I'm around concrete and pavement for say more than a few days in a row, I really begin to have a "reaction". Don't get me wrong, I want modern conveniences. . .within walking distance if I can. Right now, however, I am seeking to heal from the events of the past month by going outside. Putting it all behind me. Having some PTSD moments along the way, Mr. Thyme works with me as I gather strength for each day. This has been a roller coaster affair. This weekend being no exception. So nature it was.

Friday I was asked to return to the doctor for an examination of the "hives" and told this whole thing might take ten days or more to fully clear up. Wonderful. Meantime, he is holding back on prescribing more antibiotics for fear I may have another "reaction", and therefore, be unable to diagnose it properly until my current "reaction" subsides. For now, I must watch my wound, look for any changes, be diligent. (So each morning I go through "face patrol".) I told my doctor when he entered the exam room: You know I love you and you really did save my life, but I'd be cool if I never had to see you again. Okay? He gets it. I really am a bad patient.

And then there is my car--it had to go to the doctor on Friday, too. Some noise, some screeching when I drove coming from the back right tire area. So, maybe the breaks, maybe. I'm no mechanic. I hate car problems. It's like the worst thing waiting for the dreaded phone call. But wait you must.

With my state of mind where it is right now, cooking sort of takes a back seat. I don't really care to cook when I am. . . well, when I am in this state. It has a positive side: I will drop a few pounds for sure. I have made a few amazingly fast vegan dinners--requiring little prep, little clean up and really, as for taste--it was Mexican cuisine, so how bad can it be, right? None of the recipes were rocket science, but worked in a pinch.

I can tell it's time for art therapy. I love working with color. I have a purple and gold kitchen (with those really awful teal counter tops you see in my food shots, which were here when we moved in. I want to keep them so the next owner has to suffer through them as I have). I painted the kitchen myself. I have no fear of color--and honestly, the purple and gold work well in my kitchen. One color I am not a fan of is blue. I dislike blue on interior walls, it unsettles me--I don't know why. Personal preference or some childhood torture--my mother painted a lot, too. She once painted my bedroom red/white and blue--I am not a fan of this color combo to this day. So, when the mood strikes to paint my house--off to Home Depot I go. It's only paint. I have to have color around me. People in neutral homes: whites/beiges--nothing personal, but I don't get this. I would go crazy. Maybe neutrals are a phase and I just haven't reached my "whitewash" phase yet. (Thank god I married a patient man.) Maybe I've spent too much time on my gray or grey Diminishing Rib cardigan recently--(finally finished the SOB--I hate to speak so ill of a really long knitting project, but this one tried my last nerve--it really did).

Four years ago, I took up watercolor painting for the first time ever. I enrolled at the community college in adult continuing ed classes. I had a wonderful instructor. I stuck with her for a few years. I painted my dogs and wolves and one flower. I prefer portraits of animals. I really loved painting, but it sort of stressed me out, too. Probably that type-A stuff creeping in. But as with anything else in the "skill area", I have confidence issues that prevent me from just whipping out my watercolors and going to town here at home. I may have been conditioned this way by taking the instructor I had for so long--she was big on making corrections. I need to break free of this so I can paint at home. . . and with confidence. I'm taking a new watercolor class with a new instructor beginning this week. I'm not looking for a cure-all, but just something to pull me out of this rut of fear at getting my palette and brushes out.

Well, Saturday rolled around and my need to be "outside" and to heal some kicked in. Mr. Thyme and I have our fave places we frequent. But I get bored easily. So I went online and began to scour the many places we've not yet visited and--within like twenty minutes of home. (Plus I had some Whole Foods shopping I needed to do--a modern convenience.) Missouri is full of beautiful parks. And since tick season is not officially here yet, I feel much better walking "about" in the woods now vs. after the spring rains when every insect born illness and creepy, itchy leaf you touch could put you in Urgent Care the next day. Missouri is beautiful, but it is also host to many-a-horrible insects come summer.

We settled on a place called Lone Elk Park. It was the perfect pick. The park is also home to the World Bird Sanctuary. The bird sanctuary was, in a word: amazing. I am a backyard bird enthusiast. I love watching them. I feed them, I photograph them. Bird watching is a favorite pastime. I could have spent all afternoon looking at the birds, but then screaming parents with screaming children arrived and, that really is not my thing. And while certainly a family or two with well-behaved offspring arrived, the few who were not began to rain on my parade and cause me to have really bad thoughts about parenting and procreation. However, before this, Mr. Thyme got some amazing shots of several species of birds--seen above. So off we went to hike in the woods. It is, after all, a park known for its free-roaming bison and elk. We set out on foot on a three-mile loop called, Bison something or other. We, I should say, we followed a group of more experienced and well, confident-looking folks--keeping a respectful distance between us. Then, I had a gut feeling. I doubted we'd spot the bison. Plus that and the fact that I was getting cold and I worried I had just about used up all of my energy getting to the top of this so-called bison-viewing range. At which point I turned to Mr. Thyme and said, How would you feel about heading back down and taking a scenic drive? Of course he didn't mind! Turned out my hunch was right. You already know that answer from the photos. What incredible creatures. How can anyone possibly eat bison? I mean honestly. They are just a thing of utter beauty.


  1. Wow...cool pic of the owl. I love'm, owls:)
    I enjoy reading your posts so much, they always make me smile :)

  2. I love birds so much ... I don't know what it is. I esp love seeing birds of prey in the sky - it's just mesmerizing. Great therapy to go there! And I totally get your love of color! My home office is a sort of purple/lavender, and our bedroom is a Benjamin Moore historical colors burgundy! White/beige homes are depressing.

  3. Hi Kirsten! I am so glad I am able to bring a smile! I love to hear that! We couldn't get over that owl, it was so enormous and so beautiful! I think I may paint him!

  4. Hey Trixie! Ohhh, that Benjamin Moore historical burgandy sounds perfect! I have never shopped the Ben stores, maybe will stop by when my painting-need strikes. . . of course we share a love of purple/lavender--thank god or I would have worried!

  5. Oh, those eyes. Owls are truly amazing creatures. That's such a large owl in your photo! Here in southern California we have these adorable little burrowing owls. They are so small, and they still have those expressive eyes. Thank you for sharing all these photos, the bison are gorgeous as well.

  6. Hi Jeanne! Thanks so much for your comment! My husband gets the credit for the captured expression in the photo--he really had a wonderful time photographing the birds and bison. I would love to see the different birds from around the country--those little owls would, I'm sure, really be a thrill to watch.

  7. Kelly, I honestly want to thank you for conjuring up such a fantastic recipe! I love it and really cannot wait to share it with my family and friends in the future, I know it will be a crowd pleaser! :)

  8. Vegan Thyme is my favorite blog. It has been a week since you posted, I hope everything is ok.
    You are missed.

  9. Painting and the Outdoors, these sound like perfect remedies to me. I really hope these things help and that everything starts to clear up for you. The birds are beautiful, that's a wonderful owl pic and enjoy the cowlick of the last one ;) I'm not familiar with Annie Dillard, but will have to look into her. Who else would you suggest along those lines (writers)?

  10. Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing!

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