Sunday, 9 October 2016

South to Salida

Early morning wander #8
Morning rush hour traffic jam

The main purpose of my adventure to Colorado was a two-week artist residency in the city of Salida, a three-hour bus ride down US 285 that’s mostly south, a bit west, and 2,000 feet up from Denver. “City” is a bit of a misnomer though, because while it is the county seat it’s only 5,500 souls big. With a lovely historic downtown, a well-known and heavily used whitewater river (the Arkansas), and stunning views in every direction, it’s a great place to visit.

Early morning wander #10
Tenderfoot Hill, the local landmark, early in the morning

Ostensibly, the original plan had been for me to do “something” at their annual Fiber Festival, but after the summer I had, I was grateful that they hadn’t contacted me, and I was obligation-free. I wandered the stalls on Saturday, talking to most of the shepherds who had something for sale.

As a fleece judge, I’m always on the lookout for breeds I haven’t seen a lot of, and I was rewarded with a long conversation with a gentleman who raises Targhees in Utah. I had only see the sheep once before, years ago, at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and while I had read the breed description, there’s nothing like a little hands-on learning time. I bought a bit of roving to bring home with me to spin as well.

Tenderfoot Hill at night
Tenderfoot Hill lit up at night

I found much to love about Salida, and I wish I could have stayed longer: it’s on the list of “places I’m not finished with yet.”

Everyone I talked to — whether doing morning aquacize at the community hot springs pool, walking on the bike path, knitting at the weekly meeting at Fringe, touring the craft distillery, or queuing for the best burger and fries I’ve ever had at Salida’s one-and-only food truck — was polite, interested in why I had come from Calgary to Salida, and happy to answer any questions I had.

Such a change from living in the big city….

Fall colours
Aspen trees turning up near the summit of Monarch Pass

The only opportunity I had to go somewhere other than by walking came in the second week, when my “minder” graciously drove me up to Monarch Pass, on the Continental Divide, at a whopping 11,312 feet above sea level, which is higher than a lot of mountains here in the Canadian Rockies.

But I was there to have some thinking time, mostly, and I did a lot of that: writing too, but I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what happens next in my life. Since I got back, the picture’s somewhat more clear, at least in the short term.

And I created a small, site-specific installation too — that’s the photo below. More information on it at a later date.

Thanks to Susan J. Tweit for the invitation and hosting!

Another Universe (overview)

It was a long and tiring day coming back: up at 0600 to catch the bus back to Denver, lunch and a walk in Denver before hopping the train out to the airport, the flight back to Calgary, a long customs line, and then to my “home” for the next while, house-sitting for friends.

I came close to simply falling into bed by then (it was well past 2230), and would have, had it not been a friend’s birthday, and I was determined to go to the party: when I turned up, my appearance was a total surprise. We sat drinking beer and talking for another 90 minutes before I crawled into a cab to come home.

It’s good to go places, but it’s better to come home, especially to a reception like that.

Books for Sale

The shop is currently empty.