This is the place…

David Austins in Springtime

Where horses graze in green or golden pastures, and cottonwood branches nod gently in the breeze;

Where tiny frogs serenade us from their springtime habitat in the creek;

Where standing on Glacier Point overlooking Yosemite Valley and the Sierra Nevada wilderness seems oh, so close to the top of the world;

And where the air is cleaner, the heavens bluer, and stars glimmer so brightly I want to stay outside with eyes wide open into the wee hours, gazing at the splendor of the night sky.


As a hawk soars just over my head I can hear the “swoo-oosh, swoo-oosh” of its wings. Transfixed, I watch as it glides above the treetops, across the creek and over the hills on the other side.

In moving here ten years ago we traded central heat/air for a wood stove and evaporative cooler. Congested freeways were replaced with winding country roads.

Walking with our dog through town one day, a tourist at the gift shop asked:

You actually get to live in this beautiful place?


And I get to write about this beautiful place.

In my newspaper column and weekly feature stories, I mostly cover regional events, places of interest, history, and of course, Yosemite National Park. Being that the foothill communities rely heavily on tourism, my articles give Central Valley readers incentive for taking a short drive to spend a day (or two or three) in our neck of the woods.

In addition to visiting some of the most scenic spots in the country, I also interview gifted artists and artisans of the Sierra locale. At times I follow them around and watch them work:

Good friend and Mariposa icon, Charlie Phillips—known for his award-winning photography;

Michael Frye’s photographic portraits of Yosemite’s landscape take my breath away;

Paintings by Penny Otwell and Vicky Thomas naturally lift the spirits;

Fused glass art by Helen Willoughby-Peck is not only beautiful but impressive;

The patient and devoted stitching of local quilters brings warmth to body and soul;

My newest friends from this week’s excursion to Columbia and Sonora: Ron & Rosemary Sawyer, owners of Rosemary’s Roses (garden and nursery), and Sylvia A. Roberts (author and historian, Gold Rush Black Heritage).

And so much more… beaded jewelry, watercolors, sculptures, pottery, metal art, painted rocks and carved gourds, handmade musical instruments, lavish gardens tended with care…

Being made in the Creator’s image after all, so many among His creation inherited His natural ingenuity and giftedness. And whenever I’m privileged to watch an artist at work, I am reminded of my Father’s artistry and His goodness in sharing that part of Himself with us. It’s something He continually reveals to me as I discover more about the locale surrounding our country home.


(First photo courtesy of Rosemary Sawyer; second photo courtesy of Dan Croft)