I haven’t written since July. I’ve reached a point where I would rather live my life than write about it. But I do enjoy perusing my old online journal entries. Life gets so busy looking forward that I forget to look back once in a while. And if I don’t write it down, there is nothing to look back on. What do we really have after all? A few pictures stored on a hard drive, or up on social media. Some old paid bills in box. And some toys….perhaps a new camera or a rope and some climbing hardware. Memories? Those last for a while, but even those fade away into the noise of a busy life.
The highlights of my summer, at least as I can best remember them were the long hikes I took with Sue and sometimes our daughter Lisa. Sue and I did long overnight backpacks (10 miles) out to Ptarmigan Ridge up on Mt. Baker, where I painted both Baker and Shuksan.
Earlier, Lisa, Sue and I climbed the Tooth. That was a vivid reminder of why I don’t alpine climb anymore. The cascade rock is highly fractured compared to cragging on quality granite close to the road. As we stood around on top taking pictures, I was not at all sure we could make it down safely. There were huge loose rocks strewn all over the ledges we had just climbed up, and that was exactly what we had to rappel over.
But we made it down fine and didn’t knock any rocks down on the parties climbing up in the late afternoon light. At the base of the climbing I looked out over the mile long boulder field and sighed. We had to boulder hop through everyone of those boulders, some the size of large cars. And after that it was 2 miles down the car, in the dark.
Sue and I also backpacked out to Elephant Rock on the coast. I wasn’t able to do a good painting out there, but it was fun hanging out. I sewed a really nice backpack that allows me to carry both painting and backpacking gear. Its a copy of an old Lowe Expedition, but double the size. A friend of mine said it would sell for $900 if I wanted to get into the business, which I don’t.
On my fall break I wasn’t able to go to Squamish due to rain squalls. By the second week it was better, and I should have chanced it, but chose instead to head for Smith, followed a week later by the City…where we got rained out after 2 days of climbing. Should’a gone to Squamish, where it had dried up. It was ironic to be calling my wife from the City in the pouring rain. I actually had verizon service in site 26 sitting in my car, in a major downpour complete with lighting. She told me it was perfect at Squamish, whose rain I had tried to escape by driving 11 hours to Idaho. But that’s the nature of a road trip: you make guesses and hope for the best.
Today I have a beautiful turban squash set up in my still life box. Paintings are one of the few things I’ve found that last forever. These things could easily outlast me. I like to think I am adding beauty to the world with these little paintings. Or, at least to my world. Someday I may take them to a gallery, but for now I like the experience of creating them. Most of my paintings are actually fairly bad, but I enjoy the process of creation, and the end result really doesn’t matter. It’s a very satisfying way to spend time. So I think I’m done here. I’m going to shut this macbook and start painting.