Among my favorite garden relics is an ornately-carved concrete birdbath that I’ve lugged around since we bought our first house in 1992. Originally one of a matched pair, the blue-green finish and detailing that caught my eye so long ago is now faded and chipped, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the feathery hordes that descend daily to splash in the pitted, shallow reservoir — a reservoir that I regularly replenish during my early-morning meanderings.
Sharing space and resources with other living creatures has enriched my life beyond measure — and it pleases me to know that this particular vessel has refreshed and sustained countless birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals in three Kentucky counties over just as many decades. Keeping it clean and full of fresh water seems a small price to pay for the joy it brings to us all.
When the recent hot spell forced me indoors, I picked up my paintbrush to distract from the withering heat and humidity. A palette of cool blues and greens seemed the perfect choice to pay homage to my beloved birdbath and the lively sparrows cavorting in it on that sweltering afternoon. The painting is small (about 5‑by‑8 inches) and was done quickly — but the pleasure in making it was immense.
With summer bearing down on us all, I hope you’ll try a creative indoor activity that refreshes and engages you. Watercolor is a fun and easy medium that anyone can enjoy. The trick is to relax and let go, immerse yourself in the process without attachment to outcome. Experiment. Play.
It’s summertime, after all — let’s splash!