Working with the earth has always been a love of mine. It is my connection to nature that is strong. When I graduated art college and could not immediately find prosperity as an artist, I began a landscaping company which thrived. Eventually, after 11 years, I was able to sell the business and find my way as a full time painter. Landscape painting has been my greatest success.
Life has a beautiful way of evolving, presenting us with new avenues for creativity and fulfillment as we venture through its various stages.
I reached my seventies, and my wife Amy and I acquired a home near Oaxaca, Mexico. It is a grand adobe hacienda on a big hillside property with varieties of trees, shrubs, cactus, and plenty of potential for improvement. My attention is drawn towards the raw beauty of nature and the intrinsic allure of architecture. Here, at our house in the pueblo of San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, near Oaxaca, Mexico the stage is set for working with the earth, plants, and structures.
I typically begin the day working outdoors. Plants always need care. We made a patio, remade a cistern, repaired a porch roof that had earthquake damage with tiles needing replacing. Now I am constructing stone stairs in front of our home.
While the physical labor required to shape stone stairs may be demanding, I find solace and gratification in the process. Far from viewing it as toil, I perceive it as a dance with the earth; a collaborative effort between my hands and the materials at disposal. Sweat and aching muscles serve as tangible reminders of dedication and passion. I am surprised how much, after work each day, I ache from mixing concrete, pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with stones, laboring under a hot Mexican sun . . . Anyway, it is something I did many years ago and have not forgotten my landscaping skills.
In the golden years of life, our passions can take on new dimensions, weaving together diverse threads from our past and present. My love for painting, writing, and photography has found a companion in devotion to working with the earth, plants, and architecture. Amidst the picturesque landscapes of Oaxaca, I have immersed myself in the creation of stone stairs, where each step signifies not only toil but also his unyielding passion and love for our surroundings.
Last night a great storm came. First thunder and lightning, then rain, tremendous wind and hail the size of golfballs. It lasted almost an hour. A big potted plant came crashing down on the roof patio. Water came in the house in several areas⏤mostly from the storm hitting windows and seeping inside. The wind bent over trees and shrubs, ripping off limbs. The hail tore through leaves. It was violent nature.