Friday, November 17, 2006

Bohemians in the Woods

Big Sur is located approximately 150 miles south of San Francisco and 300 miles north of Los Angeles. It refers to a 90-mile stretch of rugged and awesomely beautiful coastline where there is a dramatic meeting of land and sea.
My artist friend Ken and I meet at Fernwood, a rustic enclave situated along a stream among the redwood trees. We rent a tent built on a platform in the woods. There is no electricity but it has beds with mattress. In the afternoon we paint together, at a roadside outcropping with a view of the spectacular coastline. The light is pristine, temperature balmy, and there is barely any wind. Soon after that sublime outing, rain falls through the night and all the next day, thwarting our plans for art making. Nonetheless, we are happy bohemians, together in the forest, walking in the mist, talking, philosophizing, laughing, and hanging out at the lodge with an odd array of characters that look to be remnants of hippies from long ago.
Two days later, leaving Big Sur, I drive through miles of twisting coastal roadway, hearing the surf but not able to see the ocean because of dense fog. I stop in San Luis Obispo where Ken lives, and we paint together by Morro Bay. Arriving in Santa Barbara around nightfall, it seems my parent’s house has not changed a bit in the two years since I last visited. It is good sitting with them for dinner at the familiar table, with my mother’s old fashion cooking to fill my belly.

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