It Can’t be all Work and No Play

You know, it can’t be all work and no play. Take this past Memorial Day weekend for instance. True, I stretched it into 4 1/2 days but things are really slow for us in the gallery over holiday weekends like this one so I opted to slip out of town a little early. Thursday afternoon to be exact.

Pulled our trailer up on the Uncompahgre Plateau to our favorite spot and set up for the duration. Out came the camp chairs, the firewood, dutch ovens and a few dog bones…for the dogs, not me.

My sister Mary was visiting and Kathy’s brother and his wife came down from Whitewater. It was a family affair as were most Memorial Day gatherings this unofficial start of summer. While the wind blew on Friday, the rest of the weekend was picture perfect. I hope you got out to enjoy it.

For me, there isn’t any better time spent than that around a campfire. A lot of life’s important decisions are made sitting around this time honored gathering place. Often silence is golden while one’s gaze is lost in the orange hot embers. One’s troubled thoughts drift away with the smoke in the air and are replaced with contentment.

Just down from our secret spot is a little sloping park with a creek flowing through it. Snow fields were retreating into the shadows of the dark timber on the West side and bright rivulets of water from the snow melt tricked through the emerging green.

There’s an old spring with a rusted water trough harking back to days of old. The scene was picture perfect and needed to be painted, which I did. In fact it turned out so well that it may be one of my favorites. It might be hard to beat.

Aside from sketching the members of our party while we lounged one day, that was it for my artistic endeavors. I’m embarrassed to say that the remainder of the time was spent soaking up the sun around the campfire.

In the back of my mind I fought the nagging feeling that I was slacking off. This was confirmed when I got back to civilization yesterday afternoon and my FaceBook pages were filled with the accomplishments of my contemporaries.That’s OK. My time was well spent.

One of the highlights of our camping adventures has been the development of our Dutch Oven cooking over the years and this last outing was no exception. We had homemade bread, the best chicken and dumplings on the planet, lemon zest blueberry breakfast cake and orange glazed chicken.

Did I mention the homemade chocolate ice cream or blue berry hotcakes, chicken shish kabobs or boiled coffee? All over the open fire, except for the ice cream of course, either in dutch ovens or on the grill over wood. We eat pretty good out there in the woods I will admit.

Earlier in the month since we last visited, I got the canoe out on a lake. I don’t have the words to express how serene that morning was. The wind had blown for three days and the last day we awoke to calm. The lake was literally like glass. While I’m not an avid paddler I do enjoy it from time to time on calm waters. I have two friends who have done some river canoeing and want to take me down the Green River for a couple of days. I’d really like to do that. I think I can pack a little watercolor kit for the trip.

This is just to prove that I do work out there. It can’t be all work and no play however.

I’ve got a busy month of June on the horizon so it was nice to get charged up for the work ahead. I have three plein air events lined up back to back starting in Los Gatos in the Bay Area, one in Utah on the way back and finally in Meeker ending with the 4th of July. I’m so pleased that Kathy has joined me and will hold the fort down in my absence. She has become a very capable asset.

If you happen to find yourself in any of those areas, do stop by and say hello.

I’ll post from the road next time. Until then stay safe and may the good Lord smile down on you from time to time.