Western Findings – No. 5

Ironically, my husband was uncomfortable with the lack of creature comforts in our hotels. He didn’t seem to be bothered about a possible encounter with a bear or about the fatality that had just occurred in Yellowstone by the hands of a grizzly. Soon enough, we were on the road to spend time at another historic hotel, Lake McDonald Lodge. We had to travel around part of the southern periphery of Glacier via Two Medicine as the Highway to the Sun Road was still impassable or buried by snow. Two hotels were lacking air conditioning, television, internet, and reception for cellular phones. Moreover, these hotels have antiquated, cramped bathrooms. I wasn’t bothered because I relished the peace and serenity. One can’t help but focus on nature.

Our room in Lake McDonald Lodge was on the highest floor and faced the lake. Immediately after I entered the room, I heard a beautiful serenade coming from the opened screen door at our balcony. Happily, a small bird would visit and sing in the eaves of the roof or on the railing. I was captivated by the friendliness and beauty of this bird. The next day we rented a row boat. The lake was still, the sun was bright, and the mountains stood in their glory. We were alone on the lake, away from the shore for an hour. Sporadically our little, 5 inch, winged friend would encircle the boat at very a close range, dip to drink and fly away. Perhaps, the bird was making sure we were alright. I sensed endearment. When we returned to the room, I couldn’t wait to consult my manuals and identify this bird. Voila! A male Violet-green Swallow has become my newest fascination. I have a beautiful photo for reference of his striking, contrasting, colored feathers, and can’t wait to paint him. Since the Violet-green Swallow mainly appears in Western North America, I intend on donating a print of this future painting for The Marynell Heringer Women’s Golf Tournament (in honor of my husband’s late aunt) next summer in Billings, Montana.