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March 13, 2023

Neil called me one beautiful fall day many years ago after he had seen my work at a gallery. he wanted to commission me to paint his favorite spot - hidden pond, and would i like to see this magical place with him? we joked about my going into the woods with a stranger to see a pond, but i agreed to go. i got to his house and there he was with emily (his beloved) dog, and another man and his dog. my two big dogs were home, and still, i walked off into the woods with these strangers. i somehow knew then, as i know now, there is not a kinder, gentler guide than neil, and when we reached hidden pond, splashed with rich reds and oranges i'd never before seen, i cried in awe. i am crying now with gratitude for having known neil. he shared those woods with me many times, and his meals, and his friends, for which i will always be grateful. i will miss him.

- Marlene Wiedenbaum