This morning marks 4 weeks gone. I can’t help but think of it as running a 10k. The first mile while you want to hold back you take off a bit too quickly out of excitement. My taking off at LSC was hiking all the trails in the first three days, leaving no more new day routes to hike.
The second mile you try to settle in and set up a pace and keep alert at the same time relax your body. At LSC I got a daily drawing routine in order, arranged wood for my fire, and got on the wireless at the café, things ran smoothly and it was beautiful.
The third mile. You suffer if you went out way too fast you might even loose a little bit of time especially if you encounter hills. My biggest mistake out here was letting the café know they had wireless Internet, they did not know and were suddenly alarmed. God forbid wireless Internet to the public. My third week of drawing I was beating my head against the wall my paper always falling down and the feeling of needing some outside contact, some energy, some comfort items and some new food, recharging time.
The fourth mile, this one can be painful because you are too far from the finish but feeling the affects of any mistakes. My mistake of letting the café know they had wireless Internet caused quit a stir and the manager had it shut down. Now as an aside they gave me a password but strangely the wireless no longer works. It registers for a second and immediately drops out never to come back. While it may not sound like a big deal it has more to do with attitude and mentality. I am used to free wireless everywhere in cafes, public parks, bus stop benches, and it is not because I live in NYC. You could get wireless at a truck stop in the middle of Montana, it is normal for everywhere to have it, it is expected and it is always free. In fact the Mayor of Philadelphia negotiated with Internet companies to provide it free for the city, anywhere are you walking you can pick up a signal. NYC is trying to do the same, it is free everywhere but each business provides it individually. Mayor Bloomberg had negotiated with the Internet providers to have it citywide so that it is available in every square inch of the city for free. I pick up about 17 different signals in my apartment including my own wireless of course. The philosophy is that everyone must be informed and have access to worldwide knowledge – I don’t think they share that philosophy here. But there are always drops of sunshine. My sunshine was going to Maren and Barry’s to see the possum and wallabies. I have since gone back during the day to see all three of them sound asleep. Plus Friday night I attended the most excellent vegetarian dinner party of 14 people where we got to sit around and bullshit about all the messed up crap in the world. It is always reassuring when you are not the only one bitching.
Today, Mile 5. The light at the end of the tunnel though with still a lot of work to do and I am happy I still have two more weeks despite waking up in a pissed off mood today. First it was about the wireless and why it has to be such a big deal, then about the 1932 vacuum cleaner in my hut that could not have sucked the breath from a mouse let alone all the sticks and mud I track in here. My 55” x 80” drawings fall off the wall denting the paper. I still have one going but the other two are bent and it is very frustrating. Plus I can’t get the fucking fire to burn.
That made me feel better. Being alone does help one understand exactly what makes one’s self tick and for me it is being around people of a like mind and sharing thought and activities. That is why I am so thankful for Maren and Barry and Bech. I will miss them when I go; they have been so helpful in so many ways. Something as simple as learning that I have a washing machine at my disposal, which I learned yesterday but is still very helpful. They have loaned me books, gone over maps, discussed the landscape, and told me about Antarctica. Thanks to them I get a great sense of how it is living here in the park and it is very inspirational. They have created an extremely positive life style filled with activities centered on the wilderness without being cut off from society but rather engaging in it whole heartedly. In fact I was embarrassed to be told about he floods in Iowa, as I had not kept up on the news. But then they have a TV, radio and internet. I have internet when I go to the rangers stations which is saving my mental health.
I think there should be an orientation for the next artists. Someone could introduced the artist to the staff, show them where the garbage, recycling, wood, washing machine, and mail is. They could go over any policies, emergency procedures and contact info. I eventually did all of this by asking as things came up, but it feels a bit awkward to have to keep going to the rangers to ask such silly but important questions. This topic too we have discussed.
My plans for the next two weeks? Complete a large pencil drawing for the rangers. Go out camping for a night or two. I want to see the other mountains, which are a two-day walk from here. I am not excited about going alone, it is not as fun, but I want to see them and it is the only way. Run 68 miles, that is over two weeks. Read the 5 books Maren loaned me.(by the time I posted this, 2 days later I already read 2) Meet Lisa on the 8th! Lisa is coming for two weeks and I am very excited about that. Then on July 14 I go to Hobart, on the 18th to Melbourne to catch a bus for a two-hour ride to meet Susan who I have not seen in 7 years! I know that is more than 2 weeks but I am always thinking ahead.
Well I am off to take a shower and wash my clothes. It is a beautiful warm day today just over 40º F. I am thinking about going camping tomorrow and if I make it I will be treated to a big snowstorm in the mountains. But as always my tendencies are wavering each morning I wake up in the cold knowing that outside it may only be 25º it is that is being a touch stir crazy.
I posted this one day after writing it and it snowed all night but by 10am it turned to rain and it has been raining for 3 hours and it is 30 degrees. I am not going camping, again, but I will go on the 3:00 boat ride to bike up the real hardcore hikers who are finishing their walk. I just can’t do it. I will go for my 8 mile run and spend the rest of the day drawing and reading and trying to stay warm.
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