The Four Seasons

sketch of tree by David Borden
(c) 2013 David Borden
I sat on the grassy bluff under the Four Season's Hotel on Lady Bird Lake.  The hotel bustled with people in town for SXSW.  They drank long-necks and clumped under the shade of the oak trees talking seriously.  Most of them wore black T-shirts and skinny jeans.  Anyone over the age of forty had dyed their hair jet-black instead of daring to stand out against the pervasive youth culture.

I watched the sun shimmer on the afternoon river for a long time and wondered how life's river had brought me here.  The clear blue winter sky had already yielded to the coming summer haze.  A few locals lounged on the grass reading or napping.

Down near the hike and bike trail, I couldn't take my eyes off a tree, gnarled and crooked and still slumbering from winter.  After I finished drawing it.  I lay back on the cool grass for a time.  While sprawled on my side, propped at the elbow; I noticed that the tree had hints of purple at its extremities and a mild infusion of burnt sienna throughout.  What before looked gray, revealed something more.  I opened my tin of pencils and began adding color. The tin of pencils slid down the hill on the cool grass.

"Crap," I said.  I could see the tin speeding away like a sled on a fine bed of snow, heading straight for a young woman, maybe college-aged.  It came to rest right next to her.  "Crap," I said again.

I reluctantly got up to retrieve the tin.  I figured the woman would think I was attempting to meet her with this stupid subterfuge.

I imagined her inner dialogue:  "What is this guy thinking?  He looks old enough to be my father.  Oh, God, here he comes.  He thinks he's so cool.... the Bohemian artist, trying to be so anti-hipster in his non-black T-shirt.  I bet he's a dentist or a community college bureaucrat.  Ew."

I snatched up the tin of pencils, snapped it closed, and trudged back up the hill to my perch.  I finished my sketch and repacked my bag.  I strolled off toward my car under the warm sun.  March, and it already felt like late spring.

#fourseasons #austin #spring #sketching #spring #tree #March #drawing

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