7I9A0699IMG_4757 IMG_50107I9A07817I9A07987I9A07857I9A09147I9A0864DSCF1426DSCF14317I9A08987I9A09097I9A0919I was grabbing a coffee yesterday while in Twisp and wound up having a meaningful conversation about the Methow Valley, where it has come from, where it is headed to, and how forest fires play a roll in the going and coming of life here — and in all of the interior West, for that matter.  Fires seem to be the way of the future.

This is the second year in a row that the Methow has burned and while the valley is home to a brilliant community of mountain folk, it is largely economically fueled by tourism.  What will happen to this place when people stop coming because they think it’s no longer beautiful?  What will happen in years to come when summer is literally burned out from under our feet and we are forced to spend August and September mopping up after loss of trees, homes, lives, crops, livestock?  What will happen?  How do we cope?  How do we rebuild?  What have we learned?

I looked out as the mountains were burning last week and I thought, “It’s a little worse for wear, but it’s still ruggedly beautiful.  It will always be beautiful, bless it’s enduring, stony bones.”

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On base, Dan built a swing.  It’s a beautiful swing that hangs low and strong from a pair of locust trees.  Swinging on it is a kind of bliss built of a long, graceful glide that seems like it may never change direction and head back to where it started.  I was swinging on it late last night, searching the sky for stars, hoping their light might pierce through the smoke, and as I watched the trees shift and move beneath the weight of my movement I thought, “They like this.  The trees like this.  They like to have a job.”  I was guilty of downright romantic anthropomorphism in my suspended state — sweeping through thin air like the goddess of wind and stardust.  But it’s true, you know.  We’re just like the trees; counting the years in rings, spending the seasons, eventually ashes to ashes.

It was beautiful last night, swinging.  It was the first time I’ve felt moving air on my face, wind in my hair, in days.  I felt alive and clean.

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Yesterday, I missed a gathering for fire wives in the valley regarding dealing with stress levels and fear (I think that’s what it was about) because I was out fishing and because I didn’t know about it because no one told me about it.  I wish I would have known about it.

Last night, when I found out about it, I told my friend, “Well, you know, I don’t really feel stressed. I feel sad right now. My lungs feel black because of this doggone smoke. But I’m not worried about Robert on the line. I trust that no news is good news. I know he’ll make good decisions out there and that he’ll take care of his brothers; that’s all I can ask him to do. In his absence, I simply have to live fully.”

I’m fishing most mornings, because I can, and because it’s a meditation (casting out over the water).  It’s quiet.  I do my thinking there, hip deep in a prolonged baptism.  Each loop I throw out is a prayer, a forgiveness offered to myself for my own shortcomings, a hope for anger dissolved, gratitude for lessons learned, the stripping away of my fears.  The river is the coolest, flowing-est, loveliest, most consistent thing in the valley and the fish give me something extra to tether my faith to.

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On September 5th I have a group exhibit opening at the Confluence Gallery in Twisp.  I’m delighted.  This is the first exhibit opening I have ever been able to attend (I’ve had to miss everything in the past) wherein my work is part of the show.  You are all invited to attend.

Additionally, on September 19th and 20th, I am happy to announce that I will FINALLY be a part of the Methow Valley open studio tour.  I’ve wanted to be a part of this tour for years now but have never had a studio space that could be easily accessed by the public until this year.  I’ll be opening up my doors to the public, sharing my space, and naturally, I’ve been working on inventory for this event.  I should mention that the Methow Valley is home to an astounding array of incredible artists and it’s an honor to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of them for this studio tour.

Both the studio tour and exhibit opening come at a wonderful time when your support and visit to the Methow will mean the world to the community here.  Please feel free to attend, if you’re in the neighborhood, or not in the neighborhood!  I speak for the entire Methow when I say we’d love to see your shining faces.

 

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2015/08/27/10470/

Night Lights

7I9A0528 7I9A0534 7I9A0631It’s such an insane juxtaposition…but sometimes there is still beauty in the most terrible things.

Current view from the Airstream:

7I9A0626I can see flames.

7I9A0560 7I9A0567 7I9A0577 7I9A0578 7I9A0579 7I9A0581 7I9A0615 7I9A0619Sundown over the North Cascades and I wonder where he is.

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2015/08/19/10435/

Portrait Session Peek

I rarely do portrait sessions but I should do more since I tend to really enjoy the work.  Here are some favorites from a shoot I did a couple of nights ago for an interior designer friend of mine, here in the valley.  She’s a real beaut and tremendously talented, to boot.

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