21 April 2014

Taking a Hike after Doing Art

I've been a bit overwhelmed lately, mostly because I have over-committed myself.  I was stage managing a play, which included having to provide transportation to two of the actresses and creating props, and a friend was creating the set for this year's Trashion Fashion event, and I wanted to help her.  Well, I like doing art, even though I'm not creative, I do have good construction skills and can follow directions.  Months ago I volunteered to knit four wool sweaters for the Motherless Child Foundation Mittens for Akkol collection, but I put my yarny time to making things to sell at SWAN DAY CT 2014, at which I sold a grand total of one hat.  Even with the extended winter we've had, April wasn't a good time to sell warm things.

This was all after work hours, or sometimes between work hours as March is the end of our fiscal year and we had some heavy deadlines that took up enough hours for two jobs.  In addition to my main responsibilities, I am covering for a colleague who suddenly went out on a Family Medical Leave, and was providing support for a new business bid.  My weeks were already well over forty hours, without the extracurricular activities!

So I am behind in the sweaters.  I should have been doing some catch-up on Sunday, and had planned to work up one on my knitting machine during the day.  But it was lovely weather.  Really lovely.  And although I'd stolen a few hours a couple weekends ago when the weather was truly nice, I haven't had breathing time of my own since the middle of March.  Every weekend was taken up, and of course weekdays were more than absorbed with work and the play - rehearsals, tech, performances.

Instead of meeting obligations, I went for a hike.

There are trails near me.  Really near, such as up the road a bit.  But in all the time I have lived here, I have not taken advantage of them.  Part of them is caution about hiking alone, part is laziness, part is that I always seem overwhelmed on good-weather days.  I decided that excuses were not going to cut it, and after studying maps to figure out the nearest trailhead, I packed a backpack (water, snacks, yarn and hook in case I decided to sit a while, camera) and headed out.

After a bit of getting lost and finally finding an entrance to the trail proper, I headed up the hill.  Up is easier when fresh, after all.  I hadn't planned to do anything in particular, just followed the path.  Taking pictures as I went, whenever something struck me.  Like all the little growing things:

Of course, with our long winter - including snow at the beginning of the week, there many dead things on view:
I found the bleached-white
leaves fascinating.

And most of the trees were playing it safe and remaining dormant, which gave some nice lace patterns against the sky:

Then I spotted blazes, and followed those.  I don't usually do tough bits when I am alone, but the verticals didn't look too tough, and the view was worth the small risk:

Advantage of hiking - bikes had to stay down there:

I also got to see a number of small waterfalls, and a pretty little bit of swamp:

It was tempting to sit and listen to the falls for a while, but I wanted to keep moving, as I wasn't sure how long the trail was or if I would end up doing parts of it again, or getting distracted by a different set of blazes (it's happened!).  I did record a few, here's a very small one.

I found this particular deadfall interesting, it brought to mind a line from a poem I learned in high school ~ "Lying together like lovers in kemmer":


One thing that disappointed me was all the trash along the road I walked to reach the trailhead.  Technically the road is also part of the trail, and parallels the trail which is inside a fence.  The next time I plan to take that road on the way home I will take gloves and two bags, one for trash and one for recycling.  It won't be a huge help, and it won't be permanent, but it will be something.  I picked up some small bits of trash on the trail, and two plastic beverage bottles (one water, one sports drink) and carried them out.  The water bottle might have been dropped, but the sports drink was clearly emptied and left - apparently whatever was in it went to the drinker's arm muscles more than his (or her) brain muscle.

These led to an interesting experience at the end.  I had to walk back of course, since I'd walked to the trail.  I ended up coming out at a different spot and headed up the road to the road off which I live.  I was carrying the trash and bottled, and figured I'd dump them at home, when I remembered a petrol station on the road.  I realized that even if it were closed, there would be a trashbin of some kind, and maybe recycling.

It happened to be open, and there was trashbins but no recycling.  So I opened my pack and dropped the garbage into the bin, then headed on my way again.

As I walked past a packky and bike shop further along the road, a station wagon pulled in ahead of me and the driver called to me.  I recognized him as someone I'd seen at the gas station, walking out of the building to his car as I headed to the trash.  He offered me a few dollars.  Confused, I asked why.

He seemed confused.  "I thought I saw you taking cans out of the trash back at the station.  I wanted to help."

How nice of him!  No, I explained with a smile, I'd picked up some trash on the trail while hiking and needed a place to dump it.  He smiled back at me.

"I just wanted to be sure you have a nice Easter," he explained.

"No worries!" I assured him, and thanked him for his kind intentions.  Then we wished each other well, and he pulled back onto the road, while I continued my walk home.

I'll add to this a new thing I did in April:  I abandoned art.  There is a group that focuses on doing Art Abandonment with the goal of "encourag[ing] random acts of art, left in various locations around the globe. The idea is that folks can make something and leave it for a lucky unsuspecting person to find. Artists can then post locations and photos of abandoned goodies…and finders can let everyone know that they are the lucky finder! O' sweet abandon!"  I'm not much of an artist, as I said above.  I can't draw (I've tried! I've tried to learn!) or paint (ditto!) but I can do structured things.  I plan to do some crocheted or knitted items later, but this weekend needed to do fast things.  So before I went on the hike, I made a few, with packaging I'd picked up earlier in the week.

The bead at left became my inspiration, it was so spring-evoking!  The packaging is easter-printed bags, which have a clear side through which the Art Abandonment tag shows.  The beaded items go into the carrot-shaped egg, which I thought is really cute, then into the plastic bag.

I abandoned two around the building where we did the play, and four others on the trail in places like these:

The weather is supposed stay good, so hopefully they will be found before rain, since I'm not completely confident about the water tightness of the packaging.  Maybe someone will think they are left over from Easter - and maybe some have been found and the Art Abandonment email hasn't been notified.  Every so often, the website posts emails from finders.  Even if I never hear about these, I'll keep abandoning art, just to make the world a little more fun and art-filled.  And even if my art isn't what people generally think of as "art", it will be decorative.  I posted some of the pictures, and several persons said that what I do is art, even if it's not painting - we all do different art.  That makes me feel better.

I'm working on another "new to me" thing that I'll report on later.  It's an all-month thing, and I suppose I should be posting as an ongoing event, but with everything else happening (see above), I've been doing it in spurts and catch-ups and may not be fully done until May.

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