Friday, October 27, 2006

Fall Reflection

I wore heavy eye-liner last night under my Scream costume. It's been over a year since I've even applied make-up. I'm noticing patterns or developing them since moving to Escalante full-time. Our guests are booking fall and springtime reservations for La Luz Desert Retreat months or a year in advance. Sometimes the weather isn't as predictable. Last October the rains came at the end of the month. This October the warm Indian summer is happening now. I'm still shaving my legs so I can wear shorts in the daytime. Frost hasn't softened the outside pumpkins. I am waking up before sunrise and witness the sky change colors.

Our garden has gone from bare ground to a jungle of produce. The remaining dry corn stalks rustle in the breeze, scaring up some thoughts of the upcoming Day of the Dead, Halloween, evening. We have more local friends to celebrate seasonal closures.

We've explored new wild areas where no trails exist, places we want to remain untrampled by the masses, territories where I've wondered if anyone else has dared (or want) to venture. There is 1.7 million acres of National Monument to roam and few identifiable trails for tourists to explore. Only the brave and foolish get off the well-marked paths. Not knowing where you are can lead to discovering who you are--one with all.

When I leave the city of Escalante, I'm excited to purchase luxuries, see a movie, eat someone else's cooking, see new sights. The crowds and the tainted air can be challenging to tolerate. I come back home with my goodies and no cosmetics.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Escalante Arts Festival

Last week we had three artists, painters, who stayed at our desert retreat, competing in the Plein Air competition here in Escalante. Bruce was particularly excited, since he was a winner in last year's contest. The other two women recognized the painter of my framed artwork in their bedroom. Anticipation sparked the house as they scuttled about preparing for painting outside. Plein Air means painting out-of-doors.

The first two days were rainy in the mornings but the sun burst out in the afternoons. Our group chose a location off the Burr Trail in Boulder. Peggy, a watercolorist, painted her paint brushes stuck in a tree trunk. Oils were the medium of choice for Bruce and Lee to color their blank canvases. I loved how Lee captured the vastness, all the way to the Henry Mountains.

We had major rain storms the rest of the week. Our guests persevered and painted under the eaves of La Luz. Clouds became focal points as well as the view from La Luz. Peggy drew a detailed picture of our garden and watercolored over her detailed drawing. These are painters who create art in any circumstance.

The artists had to choose one of their new paintings to enter the competition by last Friday. Lee selected her cloudy Full Moon picture, Bruce his landscape of slickrock, and Peggy entered her paintbrushes. The Gala and silent auction was Saturday night. The artists voted for their favorite painting and the local choice was announced that night. The appetizers and drinks were devoured during the intense bidding on esteemed paintings. Peggy won a Honorable Mention award and sold her framed picture for a fist full of money. Lee and Bruce left with promises of returning next year, no matter the conditions.

I want to give special thanks to Peggy for giving me the "unfinished" painting of our garden. It's artwork to me.

Rocquette, my dog, wants the artists to come back too.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Weight of Comfort

When I'm backpacking in the wilderness there are certain extravagances I must have. The weight factor is a consideration I take into account when choosing and hauling my personal pleasures. Thus a small pack is preferred due to less weight that can be carried. I always have space for my chair that encases my sleeping pad; the ounces are worth the back support. Lately we've been using a GPS unit and debated whether the decreased anxiety out weighed the bulk. I have since made room in my pack for the unit, easing our anxiety.
A mind-candy type of paperback book is another necessity. Once in camp, I've often wondered, "now what?" I kick back in my chair, delve into my mystery, and sip a cocktail from my lexan plastic bottle. Another luxury I bring is hard alcohol: tequila, whiskey, vodka, or rum. More bang for the buck. If a lexan is used it won't absorb the smell from the booze.
These are weighty matters as one decides how to luxuriate in the wild.