By Christy Walcott
Since meeting my husband, Andy, I have attended countless antique car shows. Don’t get me wrong, classic autos are intriguing from their unique designs to history filled with character, however, a girl can get antsy at times.
A good friend let me in on a little secret one exceptionally steamy June day on the pavement. Shelly was a regular on the car show circuit and asked me to help her look for letters one day after we had walked the perfectly parked exhibition several times.
We’ve all seen words spelled out with images and Shelly had quite an alphabet going from her time at car shows. This concept had “Andy’s Christmas present” written all over it, so I gleefully joined in. You can spend hours staring at parts and mechanisms and overlook the intricacies of the actual design. Be on the lookout for a specific shape or letter and it opens your eyes to a new world!
Needless to say, Andy’s Christmas gift was a huge success. The following autumn, I found myself searching for a decoration to go above my desk at work. I wanted something personal; something that would reveal my personality and serve as a conversation starter.
I started taking longer walks, venturing out on new trails with my trusty camera, always looking for a jagged twig or bowed branch that resembled a letter I was in need of. At first, I was deliberate in what I was searching for but soon found myself seeking out ANY letters, finding ones I had no immediate use for, but would save for future projects. The less structured I made it, the more I found. And they were everywhere: in the leaves strewn across the pathway, branches high above, even a perfect “O” in the eye of a largemouth bass I caught in the reeds.
My new-found obsession soon trickled away from only naturally formed letters and I started looking at the everyday objects that accompanied me on these outings. After fighting two crawlers into a wriggling “R,” I took a closer look at my artificial bait and decided they could help me out as well.
I ended up using more man-made letters to complete my project, however, they were all discovered while I was out in nature- fishing, hiking, just enjoying the waning sun. The inspiration still came from the scent of fallen leaves and crisp air blowing my line further into the thinning reeds along Opal Lake. I walked away from October with an alphabet to be proud of (and Christmas presents for just about every nature lover on my list!).
For those of us who already have umpteen scenic landscape photos and entire albums of meticulous flora and fauna close ups, finding letters is a way to see your favorite places in an entirely new perspective. Take a closer look and see what nature has to say.