From my sketchbook: conte, pastel, and walnut ink drawing
The rock shelter is well-hidden on the steep east-facing bluff, just below the oak savanna. The landowners led me there, along a narrow path overhung with shrubs and tree branches. It was afternoon, and the shelter was in shadow, seeming deep and mysterious as I learned that archaeologists had found evidence of use to at least 3,000 years ago. I can’t describe what it felt to stand there, thinking about the people who used this shelter as a place of survival.
I went back on my own a few days later, this time in the morning when I knew the light would filter in through the forest. I sat quietly amidst the soft crumbling rock and dirt and old leaves from the surrounding forest, even stretching out on the soft floor. The shelter was beautiful, composed of organically shaped dolomites with a low-hung ceiling, and colors ranging from black and grey to tans and reds. The morning light scattered patches of bright white on the shelter’s roughly formed wall. Mostly, however, I thought about the past, and the people that huddled here for warmth from the wind and cold, from the driving rains and snows. Perhaps animal skins hung across the entrance, and a fire burned through the long nights. What did they feel and think? We’ll never know, but being there, and absorbing the moments with a deep intensity, served to merge the present with the past for a bit, if only in my imagination.