This is the worst stay-cation, meaning I can’t really leave my house for the smoke outside. Fires are currently raging across my slice of the west. On Tuesday the Royal Gorge blaze erupted while we were in Canon City. We went there on a lark. I am pleased to report that Canon City and its residents are now safe and that the Royal Gorge Bridge has been saved. Here is a view of the smoke plumes rising behind a Canon City mural.
Royal Gorge Fire Plumes Behind Canon City Mural
On the way back home, which was an arduously long journey, due to road closures and traffic, we neared the Black Forest Fire. Having my camera with me, and nothing more pressing to do, I took photos.
Smoke Plumes of Black Forest Fire Lit by Sunset
Another blaze flared up to the north of us last night. Friends have been affected. Wild fire is a natural part of any forest ecosystem. In fact controlled burns are often part of forest maintenance, so wildfires wont’ feed so ravenously on dead wood and dry undergrowth. It was a lovely wet spring (water is precious here) and lots of green sprang up in our normally dry climate, only to be scorched by the sun in a week of dry heat. We still don’t know how these fires have started, whether it was stray lightning or careless people with cigarette butts. I do still see people on Colorado highways throw burning cigarettes out of windows. Remember that one unthinking action can cost lives and homes.
I have heard the argument that people shouldn’t live in areas prone to natural disasters. This argument is infuriating because many areas are affected by hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires and mudslides. I cannot think of any area that is immune from a so called ‘act of God.’ If we followed the philosophy of only living in ‘safe’ areas, no part of our plant could be inhabited.
In the burn-scarred landscapes, months from now, new shoots will sprout. This is what I really want to photograph.
Winter, Dirty Woman Creek (mixed-media sculpture), among her compatriots at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake, Colorado.
I’ve been interested in sculpture since I was a girl, the modern, the classical – just loved the idea of being able to walk around an object, or in an object in some cases, that was inhabiting space in three dimensions. Not that I don’t like painting and drawing, but there is something magical about sculpture, something almost human. Sculpture is about texture, it’s what you can touch, more than what you can see; it is skin and bones. It only misses that breath of life that God gave Adam.
At my husband’s urging, I entered a contest to win entry into the Black White and Shades of Gray exhibit at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, a small gallery near where I live. I sent in a photo of this work and it became part of their exhibit. It was the only object of its type present; all the other works were exquisite pieces of pottery or amazing drawings and paintings. I was proud that it was different in tone and style than anything else present.
Art receptions can feel stuffy, but I did my best to have a good time. First off, I invited friends, then I introduced myself to all the other artists, who were mostly standing around quietly. I wanted to dispel the tension – to breathe life into the event also. Friendship among artists and poets is as important as the work itself, since that work is done mostly in isolation. We need each other, whether we like each others work or not.
I was very grateful to be included and look forward to making more sculptures, incorporating bones, light sources, fabric and other materials that strike my fancy. I’m always chasing that thrill I got the first time I held a skull in a private room of the Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. or the first time I saw a Giacometti or a Rodin. Energy pulses from the bone, from the piece. It can almost move, almost grow.