Every time I adventure through the woods and limestone landscapes of the Rockwood Conservation Area, I have to remind myself that I’m not walking through Middle-earth, though it’s often difficult, as it was this past Wednesday. Having spent the front end of the week fretting over a variety of projects, Mary Beth (partner and fellow sojourner) recommended a break involving sun and space. So, after grabbing my camera, we headed deep into a part of the conservation area that we’d never explored before, and it proved otherworldly. With the sun shining perhaps more crisply than I’d ever noticed before, pine needle-strewn paths seemed to appear, glowing rouge. Lichen-covered rock faces shimmered like emerald veins of ore, and brilliant green mosses surreally sang along cliffs that could be mistaken for ancient battlements.
I’ve taken hundreds of pictures at Rockwood Conservation Area, and I’ll likely take hundreds more. Yet where I typically select images to combine and tweak into the style of completed artwork that I normally do, I thought I’d post a few images from that day as straight-up photos, cropped but otherwise untouched as… well, testimony to a plain fact—that although the fantasies of fiction can be incredible worlds, there are real-life worlds just as incredible. There are other lands. And I think that’s what I’m going to call my studio now—Otherland Studios—because, in addition to encountering the conservation area in a way I previously hadn’t, a tremendous friend reminded me of something important this morning in a Facebook post. To paraphrase, though life may lead in a direction one hadn’t imagined going, to forego such paths is to miss out on new worlds just waiting to be discovered.
So it’s to Otherland that I go now—to the works and discoveries waiting in Otherland Studios—and in this adventure, I thank everyone who joins the journey or already has.