The sun was shining, the bird watchers were birding, the hikers walking on the boardwalk above the river delta. And at the twin barns, both the parents and the swallows were feeding their young. Every time I’ve reached this point on the path where the picnic tables are shaded by grand old trees, there are groups of parents with preschoolers charging around the trees in utter abandonment as parents try to herd them back to the snack table. “Caitlyn, do you want strawberry or cherry? Goldfish or breakfast bar?” The response is to ignore the question no matter how many times it’s repeated.
The twin barns, historically speaking dairy barns, are colossal and I’ve tried sketching them at least one other time, but the scale of them defeated me. So this time I thought I’d focus instead on selected parts and give myself a break placing myself with the tree in front of the barn. And the benefit of this was to attract the strawberry treat-avoiders into the sketch!
Another lucky stroke was the appearance of a squirrel, literally at my feet, within seconds of my unwrapping a nut-studded energy bar treat of my own. He/she was a highly sophisticated beggar with a wide range of beguiling techniques to achieve his purpose, including standing on his back legs and lifting paws in supplication. Since I was too hungry to share, all he got for his tricks was an accidentally dropped nut, which he immediately dispatched. Later he was thrown an apple core by a more generous Ineke, and that led to a scuffle with his squirrel partner who wanted some of the bounty.
Poor guy. All his efforts got him was one small nut and a cameo spot in my sketchbook.
The little kids left with their parents and a group of second graders appeared with their teachers and guide. “A quick rest before we continue!” the adults declared, as the kids were trying to figure out how to climb the trees. No snacks for them though. Instead they given the warning “Remember, no climbing the trees!
Meanwhile my sketch buddies were busy Not avoiding the barns and doing a great job of it.