Thursday, 24 January 2013

Wrinkles! What Wrinkles?

This morning I considered whether to run in the open air, to brace the cold and the wind, or to take the alternative and head to the gym in the warmth of the car. At they gym I could run in shorts and running vest in the warmth of the place. Outside I would have to wear thicker heavier running gear.

As I ran I found my heart uplifted almost mile by mile. First I watched the soaring buzzard as it scanned the fields below looking for its breakfast. Then I startled two deer, they stopped to watch me as I ran off in the other direction, no danger to them. Of more danger was the fox that ran alongside me sheltered by the bushes . 

Then sitting on the fencepost I saw the little Red Kite , it seemed maybe he had already had success in the hunting stakes. He looked at peace with the world, and did not flinch a muscle as I ran past. 

Next I watched the fresh pieces of wood drop from the tree and had to stop for a moment to look up and watch the Lesser Speckled Woodpecker at work high in the boughs.

Six and a half miles and I was home, warm from my exertion and ready to face my day.

The alternative, had I chosen to go to the gym would have been to run the same miles , but all I would see was my own face in the mirror in front of me as I pounded out the miles going nowhere. 

The mirror is never a pretty sight at the best of times.  The older we get the more we become conscious of age catching up.  

While out running, I am that 18 year old who loved playing music and dancing. I am the 25 year old minister who was told one day by his dear old organist that he was the boy who would never grow old. I am the  older man who stood at the top of the mountain and rejoiced in managing to run the whole way there without stopping. 

In the mirror I see the wrinkles of age, the pattern I have woven over the years with the life I have lived. 

Now had I ran on the treadmill I might now have been thinking about going for a haircut. Having run outside I am still that young man and I am going off to paint. 

I am what life has made me. I am not at all ashamed of the pattern I have woven. I have not allowed the blind tattooist to set his agenda. I have not let accident shape me or mould me . The wrinkles I see tell there story. 

The artist paints. We either paint a thing of beauty or we start again. The pattern of our life we are equally in control of, we do not paint without thought, we should not go through life thoughtlessly , letting accident dictate. No matter our age we are still in control. Whether we produce a an ugly thing or are a joy to be with is our sole responsibility. 

Wrinkles!!!! What wrinkles I no wrinkles. Do you??????

This is the very initial stages of what I hope will be a Pen and Ink of  Mont St Michele  in France. This is a place I love.  This is a complex subject and I may yet have to abandon but I give you this the first stage. 

Today I hope to go over the pencil marks and begin to add some shading. I am already aware that I have a few errors to sort, but having started in pencil I can do that. 

I hope my friends who read this have a lovely day. This is the day I spend time with my friends in the afternoon. We call ourselves, “The Last of the Summer Wine.” Those who live in the UK will know exactly what that means. 


  1. True, age is in our minds, we can feel as many years as we can feel, wrinkles or not !
    The sketch is going to be beautiful n I look forward to to completion

  2. Good morning, Ralph, I stay away from mirrors also! At best we attempt to be our own conductor in living this life given to us, but I never discount the accidental of life. Like the older lady you met on the bus as a young lad who, by chance, turned your life around and made you realize there could be more than being a meat cutter. Life is "vertu" and "fortuna", the mettle of the person AND the good luck they encounter. Both.

  3. Hi Ralph, I've been a little absent from blog land. I like your outlook on life. Brave the cold and be inspired by nature... What's wrong with that? Here at -6 F (-21c) I'd have trouble braving the cold. Good thing my imagination can take me places!

    The last of the summer wine... Such a lovely, beautiful image it instills in me. A reminder of the relaxed scenes set outdoors around the circular stone table in A Very Good Year. One of my visually favorite movies. And you're drawing France... It's all connected and makes perfect sense to me. Have a good day and thanks for putting such lovely thoughts in my head.

  4. I hope it was a lot warmer where you are than it is here in Northamptonshire when you went for your spiritual run.
    Looking forward to seeing your picture completed Ralph. Enjoy the weekend, Annette

  5. I don't look in the mirror too often but I never like what I see when I do. Anyway, Ralph, I love your reasons for running outside. Glad you chose to wear the warm clothes; look what you would have missed too. Love the pen work you've been doing of late. My style of art for sure.

  6. Such wonderful reasons for choosing to run outdoors. I admit that I would have chosen the treadmill so I could read as I walked—well, that and the fact that it's so cold here in New York!

    I had a big birthday last year, but I don't feel my age, and I suppose that's what counts most of all.

    Have a wonderful weekend!