Meeting my Anonymous Friend

In my post, Gifts from an Unknown Artist, I described the artful arrangement of natural items along a wooded path I like to walk.  Each time I walk along the river, someone has come before me, arranging limbs artistically, ornamenting a bare branch with pine cones or petals, or draping a flower or branch of berries over a stump.

On a recent walk, I stopped to photograph a red rosebud on a stump surrounded by a heart shaped arrangement of bark.  A passing dog walker said he had just seen the woman who creates this art.  Later, while noticing another of her creations, a different dog walker said the artist was up ahead on the path, and,  “If you hurry, you might catch up with her.”

I wasn’t sure I wanted to catch up with her.  Over the past year, I had intuited a great deal about this person and her work.  What if I didn’t like her?  What if she turned out to be shallow and was doing these things for a joke?  I didn’t want to risk disappointment.

Well, now I knew this artist was indeed a woman, and I had been certain of that. Although I thought it could be a hormonal teenager, I was sure most of the time that the artist was a woman in her forties.  I saw her as someone who had design in her blood; she couldn’t help arranging beautiful things wherever she went.  Did I want to know if I was mistaken?

I wanted to slow down to avoid meeting this person, but I was walking with a friend who was anxious to meet the artist.  We came around a stand of trees to find a woman in her forties.  We greeted her and spoke for a bit.  Except for looking far different than I had imagined, her personality was pretty much as I had imagined.  Meeting her turned out to be a good experience and I was able to express appreciation for her creations.

As she talked to us, her gaze was drawn here and there to the trees, stumps, leaves and branches.  She seemed to be sizing up design elements.  As soon as we left her, she was arranging branches and pinecones.  I guess she is a compulsive designer.

I was not so happy to learn that one of the dog walkers in the area enjoys knocking over this woman’s artistic arrangements.  He thinks they are a menace to his dog.  Really?  I wonder what kind of dog’s well being is threatened by a rosebud on a stump.

Asked about this, the woodland design artist shrugged as if to say, “Not my concern.”   Obviously the anti-artist is not keeping up with her creations, as something new is revealed each time I walk that path.

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