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A Summer of Abundance and Growth

September 25, 2015

Paintings by Ursala Hudson

Waves of monsoons resulted in a lush, thriving summer that offered abundance in all areas of our family’s life. I like a state of constant movement — analyzing, brainstorming, and producing. I generally try not to think about how much is getting done because otherwise I get anxiety that I’m not creating enough. Therefore, it wasn’t immediately obvious if we’d even accomplished much over the past three months, but as I began listing the projects that Drie and I completed, I finally felt like I could take a deep breath and relax. Here is the recap of the projects we worked on this summer.

reflecting on the seasons for future growth

Paintings & Collages

I started the summer by returning to my oil painting, but oil painting requires patience and rotating through paintings while the others dry, and sometimes I just want instantaneous results! So I turned to painting in acrylics and making collages. It was so refreshing, and I just might keep it up until my little girls are bigger and I get larger chunks of time at my easel.

reflecting on the seasons for future growth

Ghost Rabbits dress-up 

Drie has collected quite the stockpile of amazing vintage garments over the last year, and it completely fills her entire guest room. One of our favorite past-times with two of our best friends, Betsy and Emilie, is over-dressing for parties and events. Emilie and Betsy (sisters) were both in town this summer, so Drie jumped at the opportunity to have a dress-up party, even though we had nowhere to go. The four of us rummaged through Drie’s racks and shelves and took photos for her blog that accompanies her vintage Etsy store, Ghost Rabbits. It was a little hard to part with the pieces I modeled, but I’ve scored some other beauties off of her in the months since. See the Ghost Rabbits blog post for more photos.

reflecting on the seasons for future growth

Charter school touring

I’ve been working on opening a K-12 charter school with a group of parents here in Pagosa, and this summer we were able to travel around Colorado and New Mexico, visiting innovative schools to gain inspiration before we wrote our own academic model into the charter application. The above photo is from a Montessori farm school in Española, New Mexico, that centers its curriculum around growing food.

Charter schools are public schools that do not discriminate nor charge tuition, and they are exempt from many of the state regulations that conventional public schools must follow. Our school won’t be opening until the fall of 2017, because the charter application takes about a year to write, and then the school takes about a year to open, but our group is right on track! Follow our adventures on the Pagosa Charter School Initiative’s blog by clicking here.

This charter school project has been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve experienced in my life, mostly because it’s showed me that the first step in a creative project is usually the toughest: committing. And then, as long as you have a work plan, you have a pretty strong chance of succeeding.

aerial

Aerial

Drie has been doing aerial training for a few years now, picking it up at Cirque School LA. When she returned to Pagosa last winter she had assumed she’d be sacrificing certain luxuries by moving here, including an aerial community, but almost immediately found out that she wasn’t going to have to give up on the silks after all. Her friend Sariah, whom she took her yoga teacher training from, offers non-formal aerial training at her gym where Drie also takes yoga classes.

Aerial is a fun, unique, and graceful way to stay in shape, and I’m just a tad bit envious at Drie’s strength and commitment to it. Drie is innately dedicated to caring for her body and mind in ways that express her individuality and femininity, and this summer of rekindling her love for the silks is just the beginning of what’s to come.

reflecting on the seasons for future growth

Art with the daughter

One of my fondest memories growing up in this little town I [still] live in was submitting my artwork into the county fair each August. At our county fair you can enter one item in every category of their display competition, but since this was Amelie’s first year, we focused on making one quality piece of work. She carved an Easy-to-Cut “suicide” block print with my guidance, and I only directly helped with the printing. When we saw the blue ribbon hanging from the frame after judging, we were both pretty proud.

We also did quite a few other art projects this summer, mostly creating huge messes of tiny cut-up paper, and a couple collaborative paintings. Read more about painting in acrylics with children here.

reflecting on the seasons for future growth

Folk festival 

This year my long-time buddy and graphic design colleague, Jacque, invited me to take photos for Folk West at the Four Corners Folk Festival. I haven’t taken full advantage of this local music festival in the past, but this year I had a back-stage full-access pass, with late-night shows and all meals included, and I fell completely in love. I went wherever, whenever I pleased, and heard the bands play from as close to the stage as was possible. The late-night performances were my favorite because of the small audiences and less formal set lists. The above photo is the fiddle player from the Oh Hello’s, who had all the young girls in the crowd swooning. I sure hope I get invited back next year!

vintage dress restoration

Vintage restoration

On her road trips Drie finds all sorts of delectable treasures, but oftentimes they have been discarded due to damage. The price makes them hard to pass up, so Drie takes them home and works her magic, restoring them to their previous glory. Restoration is time and research intensive, but always a rewarding experience. The amazing dress above was completely tea-stained before Drie spent a couple days giving the dress tender-loving baths and drying it in the shade. Other restored items are mixed in with her other treasures in her vintage store.

reflecting on the seasons for future growth

Gardening

Growing food at 7,000 feet above sea level is really fucking hard. In some climates you can just throw seeds around and pretty soon there’s stuff growing everywhere, but there’s only about 3 months of a growing season here in Pagosa. We have all four seasons, drought, the intense sun, and the wildlife that all require extra measures to be taken. Last year I managed to get a pretty abundant garden going before the deer ate 2/3 of it by mid-July. It was pretty heart-breaking. So, this year my dad helped me build a hoop-house. We clamped plastic to the ends, and put a shade cloth over the top, and not only has it kept the animals out, but nothing got fried by the sun! The shade cloth lets in most of the rain too, so I really only watered while my seedlings were coming up. Next spring I’m going to put plastic over the top to prolong my growing season by a couple months, but I’m not quite ready to water through the winter yet, so the shade cloth will be coming down any day now.

Stone Currents projects

This blog has been one of our largest projects this summer, as anticipated at the start-up. Drie and I were experiencing a minor disconnect, with her living *gasp* eight minutes away, and the babies napping seemingly all day long. Our blog projects and adventures force us to stay in contact and encourage us to create cool stuff both together and individually. Here were the summer projects we previously blogged about:

With the goal of inspiring our readers to reflect on periods of creativity, I plan to do more seasonal project recaps in the future. This sort of compilation of achievements is a great method to bring awareness to areas you neglect while simultaneously honoring your accomplishments. It can be a motivating and a mindful way to enter new phases with updated goals and a clearer vision. What have you produced recently?

Adventure Meditations

Monthly Adventure: The River Pride

September 18, 2015

Pagosa Walks

As we set out on this month’s adventure, we were a little apprehensive about just how adventurous our expedition would be. We had plans to visit a waterfall, but we were getting a late start and it was pretty far away for an almost-empty tank of gas. Instead, we decided to explore the river area nearby, which turned out to be much less exciting than we’d hoped, although still beautiful. At one point we attempted to wade to an island in the middle of the river for a picnic. However, with each cold, barefooted step with babies and bags strapped to us, that the island looked increasingly more distant, hot, and rocky; we agreed to turn back.

Wade in the water

weeds

After walking aimlessly in various directions, we finally tried trespassing through someone’s backyard in the direction of some shade, and found a nice spot by the river to set out our lunches. We ate with only a few tears and a bit of uncontrollable laughter, then prepared to head back home, ready to admit adventurous defeat — and that was when the real adventure began.

Pagosa Picnic

Momma and Baby

Baby cry

The adventure of an 18-year friendship is certainly one of the most educational, stimulating, emotionally tiresome, and rewarding journeys. Over Drie and I’s relationship there have been numerous trials that have allowed us the face the real shit, squash it, and continue on stronger, as companions and individuals

In junior high Drie and I had a rather heated fight concerning the size of a black bear. While we were riding our bikes, a semi truck passed us that featured on its side a huge photo of a bear laying on a bed. I said that the bear would have broken the bed, because bears weigh at least 1000 lbs. Drie scoffed at my idiocy, claiming that black bears weigh no more than 300 lbs. We were so irritated by each other’s inability to accept our own claims that we both rode back to our homes alone. At school the next day, the encyclopedia settled matters for us. Black bears generally weigh between 300 and 600 lbs. Google now settles many similar arguments for us before we get too riled up, thank the lord.

In high school I began experimenting with marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms, and at first I was fine with Drie’s decision to remain straight-edge. But then I began getting uncomfortable with her sobriety in the middle of my paranoid trips. My new favorite topic to explore was reality and the effects of drugs, but she couldn’t contribute to the conversation, so I tried to guilt-trip her into trying weed. She refused, therefore I told her that we had to break it off. We weren’t friends for three years. It wasn’t easy going from seeing each other 365 days out of the year to avoiding eye contact in a high school of 400 kids. Yet, by graduation I had enough humbling trips to realize how sucky of a friend I’d been, and we started back where we’d left off.

There have been a couple other major fights in the midst of knowing each other, but it had been several years since our last one. Our uneventful adventure-day broke the drought. I was about to lose my first and only dog to some unknown swollen-belly disease, and Drie was in denial that he could die at only 8 years-old. He was there to witness much of the growth, partying and broken hearts of our 20s, and neither of us were emotionally prepared to let our quiet parter-in-crime leave us so soon — but Drie and I handle our emotions differently, which is hard to remember with death on the horizon. I get a fierce need to debate philosophical beliefs of justice, and Drie goes to a place of anxious positivity, both methods that allow us to escape the reality of things, but aren’t exactly related, nor enjoyable to combine together. I wanted to complain about disease, conventional treatments, and talk about the end of Hank, my dog, but Drie wanted me to shut up and not admit defeat. Our brief 4-minute argument of burning tears and racing hearts ended with Drie walking home while I was left to fold up the excruciatingly heavy picnic blanket all alone (which was really just the size & weight of a twin sheet, but how could she?!). We didn’t speak for a week.

feet

I think what helped pull us out of those river-side grudges was that we both realized that 1) my dog wasn’t going to have a just nor positive end, and 2) that we needed to swallow our pride and allow one another to process life in different ways. In some relationships you simply need to go through the unreasonable blinded fits to remind both parties what it takes to continue on, and step it up. Not only do you need to allow room for different beliefs and ways of communicating, but you also need to be able to change the ways in which you suck at being a friend.

No one wants to face their sucky, prideful self, but sometimes you find yourself on an uneventful adventure and things start getting rocky, and you don’t want to admit it, but you chose the wrong path… and you decide that you’ll continue the adventure, but somewhere a little more rad.