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multiple missives from North Cascades National Park
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odaraia
Here are several days worth in reverse with the most recent journal entry first.

10.20.2006
I finished the print edition today, took it to the post office and with Cindy’s help, artwork installed today. Cindy came up to Newhalem and we discussed some dates for me to present a slide talk and workshop in Sedro Woolley. I think if I do those two, the talk at Concrete and one in Seattle, it will be fun. She took me farther up the road to the lake overlook, which I hadn’t seen in years. It was cool but not windy--a stunningly beautiful day. I saw where the slide had been a couple of years ago--and the kind of wound the highway dept. made to prevent further slides: the rock is sheared for hundreds of feet (hi). I have to come another day to photograph because the light wasn’t right on the wall. I will try to upload a version eventually here or on my site. It is shocking! the kind of image no photograph can do justice to. Then we went to the institute’s environmental learning center also terra incognita for me since it was opened a couple of years ago. It’s a dramatic facility and much bigger than I had understood--they have housing and a dining hall for their courses. Since the facilities had been so indifferent when we’d taken the writing course, at a small converted farm, these new digs are most impressive. This visit made me realize how really limited my life has been the past few years since the fall, and how much more I have to do to regain mobility; even though I’m no longer in pain, I don’t have the same stamina I used to have. Don’t know when I’m going to upload this journal. It took eight hours to download one half of one episode of To the Point. So I cancelled it. Will try to add to the journal in the morning. So are roads becoming a theme of the stay?

10.19.2006
It took me two days to get back to the park: more unfinished car buying business, loading the car with artwork to hang at the visitor’s center and buying food. I slept very well last night: Jim and I ate dinner early and both crashed. Lots more energy today, but have to install tomorrow instead of today. And need to finish and mail the print. Stopped by park headquarters in Sedro Wooley to leave postcards and mailing lists for Charles Beall who just received a promotion. Met with Cindy Bjorklund, with whom I had taken a writing workshop at the institute several years ago. She had taken Joan Ross’s class there this summer.

10.18.2006
What a crazy visit back to Seattle this has been! On Tuesday while working, I met an interesting woman Tuesday who teaches environmental and women’s studies on line–she had been visiting her son who lives in Korea, just got off the plane. I asked her about Korean drama. She said her son and his wife put the children to bed to be ready at 8pm to watch their favorite daily soap. Lots of stuff about gender and class, just like Dae Jang Geum, which I’ve nearly seen all the episodes. I told her about it. She said that it’s still a very homogenous society and she and her children were seriously noticeable walking down the street.
I also spoke with a young couple, a sculptor and partner who had completed the summer season as rafting guides in Alaska, now driving and living in their truck. They said Alaska is really cool: the mountains just go right into the sea, and there’s no way to build roads. How much roads impact a place! Also since Bush got reelected in 2004, their friends at Grand Canyon had funding cut. It’s revolting how comprehensive their rip off of public funding is. Shared softoleum kitchen table technology. I think this is a good way to interact with art making visitors since it’s such a portable medium and it’s NOT WATERCOLOR.
Drove home to go to a concert of the Kirov orchestra--got stuck in Belltown traffic--40 minutes to go 10 blocks. I was so grateful the car is hybrid, like the buses, and that I didn’t have to pee. Even the Everett route wasn’t as congested as it usually is. Jim said the Rolling Stones and Dave Matthews band were at the Kingdome (or whatever they call that Paul Allen stadium now). I was so stressed from downtown--people were running red lights, very agressive driving and near gridlock. What is the mayor thinking of encouraging more cars? And the concert was nuts: aggressive pianist--almost manic, certainly a new definition of fortissimo (should have known when the piano tuner was out there when I came to sit down in the hall). I liked the orchestra and wished we would have heard them play Prokofiev or something like Vaughn Williams or Honneger. Jim says, “why do we always have to hear Russian orchestras play Russian composers?” The Shostakovich was a very emotionally manipulative piece. I fell for it, but now I’m not sure I liked it.

10.16.2006
The print is going well, but the chine colle aspect with low tech is messier than I wanted. I’ll title it “The Science of Decomposition.” The words:

paper birch
in my garden
carbon cycle is COMPOST
in the forest

I went to the post office in Marblemount today to return the recalled Apple laptop batteries and posted a few postcards. The hours are shorter than in the city. It’s a new building with plenty of PO boxes.
The cabin is great. Unfortunately, there is construction around it so the road is wide enough for the super large motor homes that dominate camping these days. Are they diesel? Semis? What is it about road building that is so destructive?
The rain up here is beautiful: I walked around the campground in an interpretive tree loop and remembered dropping Robin off for camp.

10.15.2006
Feeling better. I met people at the visitor’s center today, a woman who will be teaching children at the mountain school at the North Cascades institute: she and her partner were checking out the park and we discussed how great to introduce kids to wilderness. I told her about how Robin and Matt hadn’t been able to agree on a camping experience for this summer: both had camped at Lake Ross, Robin with the institute’s canoe camp for several summers, and Matt through the scouts.
Each stubbornly clung to his own vision and experience so they never agreed on how to proceed. Low impact versus scouting imperialism. At the same time, scouting is a prime access to wilderness for many young people with few resources. I hope the mountain school becomes a viable alternative around here. Robin met Madeline, who’s also going to Evergreen and taking Russian culture, etc. up here at canoe camp. The kids climbed Desolation Peak a few years ago, but I don’t think they yet understand the literary significance of it. I’ve pointed out Snyder to Robin and I hope he gets it someday. I remember when Synder came to Santa Cruz and read at Cowell College (was it in 1971?) during a thunderstorm. I think I will try to get Robin and Jim to do Thanksgiving up here.

10.14.2006
Feeling poorly. I worked on a postcard mailing about the residency and how to access information about my activities through my website and my email. Yesterday, Charles Beall, the park administrator in charge of my presence here, helped me set up my communications. The internet access is dial up. It will be hard to upload or download this and the news.

10.13.2006
I set up the studio space in the park visitor’s center. The center is off the highway and not obvious. Why is it here? There is a beautiful view which can be seen from the board walk. Instead of building large roads across the Skagit River to access this view, officials chose this project. The center is modest in comparison with the majestic lodges of Glacier, especially the Kirtland Cutter one, but the beautiful stone work and the fireplace with metalwork inspire a kind of intimacy. There are huge glass windows and I have terrific light to work in during the day. I’m working on a small print edition to send to an exchange at Simon Fraser University: endangered species/endangered printmaking. For me the theme is compost--how I connect to the planet, that processes, life, geologic are constantly transforming matter into something else.

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