One Saturday afternoon we hike to one of our favorite places, a round rise called Indian Hill. We like to go to the south side of the hilltop where we can see for miles across the hazy valley. The placid Smoky Hill River curls through the valley floor on its way to the Kansas, to the Mississippi. Cropland squares stretch into the distance below us.
But today we don’t have the hill to ourselves. At the summit, an artist sits on a three-legged stool, his paintbox on the ground at his side. On his low easel is a painting of our valley. But where we see browns, greens, and golds, he paints purples, turquoises, and pinks. To speak would break the spell, so we watch in silence, a faint smell of paint on the prairie breeze as he works.
with the artist’s strokes
appears a painted landscape
a new way to see
S. J. Perry
S. J. Perry’s work has appeared in Inlandia: A Literary Journey, The Journal of Radical Wonder, Cholla Needles, Last Leaves, and elsewhere. He grew up in Kansas, where he studied at Emporia State University and the University of Kansas. A retired high school English teacher, he has lived in Southern California’s San Gorgonio Pass since 1985.
The Ekphrastic Review
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