Thursday, March 21, 2013

Salt, Light & Life at Brush Creek

I have decided that the numbers that count are the days and moments for which we are grateful.

I arrived at Brush Creek,Wyoming a few days ago. More correctly, I arrived at the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts for two intense weeks as a Writer in Residency. Bucking the wind west on I-80, I turned south on Highway 230. The land is wide open, sprawling; mountains looking deceptively close. Before turning east onto the long and winding ranch road toward a mountain whose name I do not yet know, I encounter an entire herd of antelope, who seem not the least bit concerned that I had arrived.

On this 15,000 acre working ranch, we are a small enclave on the banks of Brush Creek as it flows down from the mountains above us. We sit apart from the main lodge and many lodge residences. 

We are four artists, two composers and two writers, from all parts of the country. We are the least duded of those on this spread of sturdy log dwellings and expansive barns. Most of the year it caterer to those who can afford $800-1,500/night rooms and we artistic types are trotted out for occasional forays with the guests. We sleep in tiny rooms and we pick up our own food from the resident chef. While we can hike, or climb, use the lodge sauna, ride horses, or cross country ski most anywhere, we have all been warned not to climb the cross-log fences that surround the buffalo preserve.

The lodge is empty on this first day of spring. The snow that has fallen most of the day has stopped and blue sky has returned. A few of my fellow residents went hiking in the snow. While it is probably not the last of the snows, mud season is upon us. This seems a place where moments count more than ordinary days.

I am here to work on my novel. For want of a better title, I call it The Book of Time. It has been in the works for over two years. I don't know if it is really about time, or something else. It includes many of my favorite themes. They are topics I've explored from time to time in this blog; the nature of the universe, the discovery of one's purpose, the edges of eternity, the pursuit of authenticity. I am making headway. More progress than I have in the past year or more.

It is a luxury of time, of place and of space. A combination of focused writing time that I never get (or take), this wide-open space, and a studio all my own. Perhaps the real difference is this studio with my name on it! 

An entire 18'x21' 1880s log studio, with windows on three sides looking out to rugged cliffs and creek, and thick log walls. I have rearranged the furniture. It's elegantly rustic furnishings make me feel as if someone has dropped me into a Southwest Living magazine spread. I don't have a buffalo head on the wall, but I do have a painting of buffaloes!

I am profoundly grateful. If it were possible to stop time inside these moments, I would do so.  Perhaps then I could finish the entire book in this setting.

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