• Susie Zol


I love to get out in nature, especially to go hiking! I recently returned from a trip to Zion National Park in Utah and mother nature didn't disappoint! In the evenings as I rested my legs, I wrote about the day and the writing soon turned to analogies of life and lessons learned on the trail.

Sitting with the blank page before me I imagine I am standing at the trailhead. So many paths, all different directions, how do I know which way to go? I look around to see which way feels right. Downhill sure looks easier than uphill. Smooth sand underfoot would be more comfortable than maneuvering around rocks and stones. A cleared path versus an overgrown path. From experience I'm hesitant to give in to such easy and obvious choices. Who knows what's just around the corner, it could turn bad and I'll have to backtrack. So, just by looking, I don't have the clearest vision, but what if I close my eyes, get quiet in my mind and listen. Then, maybe I will hear the whisper in my soul... this is the way.

As our group starts out on a hike, I say "Let’s each go as far as we can, then turn back and meet back at the start". I thought that statement would let others off the hook for turning back if I wanted to forge ahead. As it turns out, I turned back in the middle of the pack and others went farther than me. That was a good lesson for me. I assumed I would be going the farthest and didn't want others to feel pressured, but I was reminded that I’m not always in the lead.

Out in nature, I connect with my inner self on such a deep level. I relinquish control easily to the elements with every step.

No matter what I read, hear, see or do, no one knows my exact path except me. Sometimes, I don't think I do because my ego is in the way. When I go deeper and remove it and it’s effect on me, I see a beautiful horizon every time. When I know where I'm going, it’s easier to stay on the path. My inner sense of direction brings clarity and creates a road map.

And while I hike, sometimes I'm thinking of my paintings. When I think about them, I write about them.

With every painting, there’s an inner sense of wanting to understand, a desire for an “a-ha” moment, or at least a glimpse of some kind of belonging. That’s a lot of what’s going on in my head when I’m painting. And yet, even with a painting that I’m head over heels in love with, a painting that is moving and beautiful and filled with glowing colors. Even in that, there is still an unknowing, a need to search for more, to uncover or discover another layer.

And so, as one painting is finished, another blank canvas is already on my easel.

'Let The Day Begin'

36"h x 24"w

acrylic on canvas