Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A perfect weekend

I purposely left the SLR at home for the weekend so I could experience the time directly.
Still, I try to carry the elph in my pocket all the time and I'm glad I did...

I’m always a pretty happy person, but sometimes my life is just so sweet as to be almost embarrassing. Yet it’s made of small pleasures. Take this example of a how I spent a recent weekend.

Last Saturday (ten days ago) I had to drive up to the Catskills to pick retreive my and Drake’s work from our show up there. On the way there, I stopped in Sleepy Hollow for some serious running at the arcadian Rockefeller Estates—twelve miles through mist-shrouded fields and forests, followed by as huge brunch at the Horseman Diner. How could I go anywhere else?

The next two hours in the car were beautiful and got better and better as I wound through the heart of the Catskills. J-Dalt pointed reminded me the other day that for a parent, few pleasures rival a solo drive through beautiful countryside. Spoken like a true Californian but as true in the Hudson Valley as in Napa. The art was skillfully packed so it took about two seconds to load it in the car and be on my way, but not before receiving some sage advice about local hiking prospects.

On the way up, I had noticed a very promising lake with a swim platform in the middle. I found the park locked on the way home, but with a car parked by the gate—an irresistible invitation. I slipped over the cable, out of my jeans (I still had my running shorts underneath) and into the cool water. My fellow pond dippers turned out to be a group of citymice holed up in a nearby house for the weekend. I splashed around, floated on my back and looked at the sky and did a few flips and back into my clothes and on my way.

I soon spotted the turn for the hike I had heard about and wound my way into the mountains to the trailhead. As advertised, the path went up-up-up, often along stairs, through the mystical and lovely wilderness of Rip vanWinkle., with its strange rock formations, mosses, gnarled roots, ferns, and old trees. The path emerged onto a ledge straight out of Thomas Cole, with the Catskills spread out before me, peaks islands in the fog, like a Chinese scroll. An encounter with the Sublime.

On the way home, I stopped for some prime BBQ at a place my friend Pamela recommended. The trip was glorious and the fact that the final ten minutes took and hour and a half did nothing to diminish my joy. Even Countrymouse has become philosphical about the City’s annoyances—at least for a while.

As if to confirm my joy, as I unloaded the car, C-Lin chanced past the studio and I joined her at an opening at Sideshow on the way home from the studio. Gerbo was there, in full conviviality and he bought me a beer to wash the road dust from my palate.

That was Saturday.

Sunday was just as good. I had Sebastian all to myself as Cole took care of some of her business (which she graciously delayed to enable my trip). We had pancakes and wipped together a big dinner for later. We had to hurry a little bit because we had a date with the beach, along with some of the VCCA artists, who connected together quickly via txt-message. The day was gorgeous: hot, humid, with warm water, gentle waves, and perfectly clear sand. We made the best castle I’ve ever done (as one would expect from a gathering of sculptors). Then, at four o’clock, the season ended right before our eyes, as if a bell rang. suddenly a chilly breeze blew in from the sea and a day that had been muggy turned brisk. We wrapped in towels and returned to the warm car. There was freakishly little traffic on the way home and as well all hugged goodbye, we knew that we were also saying farewell to summer.

That night, we hosted a dinner party for Splinter, Amelia, Mayumi, John Mitchell and Anki. Great company, animated conversation, the curry I had made, just a glass or two of wine, and we all reconnected, back in the City from our diverse wanderings, for a season of expansion, culture, and new ideas.

I couldn’t ask for a better weekend, and one in which Countrymouse and Citymouse found the elusive perfect balance.

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