Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Columbia Gorge Adventure

Honest, I've not fallen off the planet. Just been absorbed and busy planning/participating/recovering in life. So hopefully, with understanding in your spirits, we'll pick up in June, from where I left off!

Early June, my lil' family, Roland, Cody (the Golden Retriever) and I, decide to take a spin up and around the Columbia River Gorge. T'was a multipurpose trip: 1)both Roland and I have birthdays to celebrate and 2) I'm on a mission to discover a secondary plein air painting sight for my upcoming tandem-taught workshop with Elinor Peace Bailey in July.

This birthday is a "second birth" that I commemorate ... this year it is celebrating my 27th year 'clean and sober'. For those of you who didn't know this about me ... well, all I can say is, it's been an amazing trip. From where I was 27 years ago, into who I've become and further ... into all the possibilities open to me ... I've come to see life with less fear and more joy and trust. So, depicted on the left side of this journal spread are two loving and beautiful partial cards I received to remember that event. I continue to feel honored by the friends I've made along my path. I'm the one celebrating :)

After Roland and I trek to Portland, lodge, dine out to celebrate his birthday (yes, the belly-button one) and slumber, we are up to meander along the old Highway 30 along the Gorge. At one of the waterfalls, Roland picks a sweet white flower for me :) Soon we arrive at the "Vista House" that is one of the sites I'll work from in the workshop. We poke and prod around, seeking areas that could offer more privacy, quiet and reflection. But with no trees, and only small shaded areas evident, we hop in the car to find a more intimate experience for my participants. Within five minutes we come across a picnic area tucked away with the exact conditions I'd hoped for. I called the park service and made my reservations. Job DONE! So following a late lunch in Hood River we doddle along our route back to Portland.

Across the remainder of the journal page is probably my favorite scene, that, to me, reflects the deepest of meanings the Columbia Gorge carries for me. At the Bridge of the Gods at the Cascade Locks we pull in where frequently we come across Native Americans selling smoked salmon and cherries. That scene paralleled by the strong mural upon the supports of the bridge (of how life was before the White Man and then, how it became after the White Man) brings tears to my eyes. The imagined vision of the powerful river, so alive and vital to the Native way of life, contrasted by the current Native Americans pedaling here in the parking lot saddens me. I hope I've captured the beauty and power I sense in the memory of this area with my sketch. But really . . . can there ever be enough pigment and emotion to do that?

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