The last day in paradise. How does one spend it wisely? I have a melancholy feeling that tomorrow morning we will leave this wonderful place, this cooler weather, a pace that is slow and unmeasured, to return to our normal lives, well normal is a relative term. It is hard on this last day to not let in the thoughts that might crowd my brain with the “things I gotta do when I get home”. I make determined efforts to keep them at bay and enjoy the moment. Those “things” will have to wait until I get back because that is all that they can do anyway. C’est la vie.
We woke late this morning having spent a late post dinner night on the front porch/deck with our friends here, once again in the rhythms of the shake of the martini makings. We talked as if we had been friends for life, despite our total time together only the 5 days from last year’s workshop and now this year’s. That lack of history was of no matter to the ease at which we all felt and chatted.
They told us a story of a bat invasion recently to their house which caused them great anxiety, set them up for having to have 2 separate sets of of very painful rabies shots, and the eradication of these flying blood suckers that was a real horror show. The bats, 36 was the count, had found a chink in their chimney and set up camp there with frequently forays into their house, and worse their bedroom (reason for of the rabies shots). It was in their telling of this epic battle that would make “Caddy Shack”’s gopher problem pale and insignificant. We were in stitches at their recount of this tale. I really don’t remember laughing so hard or so well. My jaws hurt this morning.
We said farewells this morning to them, and to most who had been participants in the workshop. One couple remained and Mark worked with the wife on various post camera/computer stuff. I spent time trying to finish a pastel of my shepherd, Heidi. I was getting kind of stuck on some things with it so I thought it a good time to spray varnish on the other 3 pastels I had done this week.
One was a full figure of the new foal from this year, another was a heavy massive black bull, and the last was a profile head shot of the foal, my best. I had not worked pastels since probably high school so the relearning curve was steep but my results were so pleasing to me. Rarely do I ever get a painting or drawing as close to what I have wanted or have envisioned in my brain as well as I felt I got these three. They are quite possibly the best things I have ever done. Mark photographed them for me for making future limited edition prints of them. Then I laid them out to spray them with a protective varnish. Bad plan.
Well, the plan was ok. One does have to protect the chalky finish from smearing, but I was using a new varnish, one I was not familiar with. It buggered them, badly, for the most part ruined. The varnish spray made the lighter tones sink into a muddled mid tone losing the original snap and vibrance. Once done, no undoing. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut at this end result, just sick. Thank god Mark had just photographed them and their images can be recreated. In this fiasco I have learned a monster of a hard lesson, know your material, what it will do, and practice on scraps. I also have learned that if I just devote time to it, my drawing and painting improves exponentially with each effort. That was thankfully, encouraging.
Photographic lessons for the day, done, we set out for some moving water and found the Big Snowbird Creek our destination. We found a shady spot there with a massive picnic table to eat our lunch and watch the water go by, a camp site not yet claimed by the weekend campers who were moving in and setting up home bases at the other spots.
Lunches, heck all the meals, are fabulous here at Snowbird. The fact that they pack them up for you, sack lunch style, or in a backpack with a thingy to keep it cool, is so neat. Today mine was a wrapped concoction of humus, calamata olives, cucumber slices, lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, oh, and feta cheese. I also had a slice of one of the best dill pickles on the planet, and a few chips. Mark had their signature spicy pimento cheese sandwich. We washed this yum down with a basic shiraz and then made it over closer to the water.
We had fished here last year and the water was down about 6 inches from then, but clear, pristine and cold. There were very large stones on this geologically relatively young stream and we climbed out onto them into the middle of the flow and we sat. I put the leftover of the wine in the cool water, wedged between two stones. Mark took a couple of shots with his camera while I sat in the sun, 74 degrees, with my feet in the rushing water.
I watched the patterns of the paths the water took as it advanced towards me, split to go around my rock, and then passed on to parts unknown. I wondered the odds of any of these water molecules passing by ever making the rounds back down this very stretch of water. Odds are probably next to zero chances but in the realm of eternal time, it is possible. At least I like to think so. I wondered how many more times I will sit upon this rock or others like it and enjoy the peace the water gives, and its cooler temps.
Another dinner here tonight, gifts from a super chef, I will be looking towards having the trout on my last night, but I might be swayed. I am trying to soak in the last of these wonderful breezes, and the relaxation that has overcome me here. Tomorrow we venture south, homeward bound. Before we get all the way home we will have a stop in Birmingham to attend Mark’s high school reunion, see his former classmates and friends, spend the night, and then head to Pintlala on Sunday morning.
I do look forward to seeing the horses and all my pups. The report I have gotten from home is that Heidi is in serious sulk mode at my departure and has not eaten in days. I imagine she has lost quite a number of pounds, which really won’t hurt since she had gained 25 in the past year. I just hope Jack has not eaten her share and gained back all that he had lost. My fantasy is that this wonderful weather will get in our car and travel back home with us and stay so I can start riding my horses again in comfort. Nice fantasy.
It has been very good to be away. It has been great to be here. This lodge is such a special place and the man who built it so many years ago, who felt the magic and peaceful energy of this site, was wise to have done such a wonderful job not messing it up in building here. Instead he built a gift to those who come here and share it. It is nice that visitors can come and make their lives be still, at least for the few days they are here.
Now off to shower, pack, enjoy a glass of wine before my trout dinner, and toast to the end of a fabulous and much needed vacation.