Sunday, August 15, 2010

A river runs through it

My fam has not been on a vacation in ages. The concept of vacation to an artist is the same as the concept of retirement- a sad joke. I have had so much important work that needed to get done, but my wifey is the one who missed out. And so we spent a week down in Cave Junction, Oregon, where she grew up. It is a unique and remote little hamlet, surrounded by bleached dry grass, oaks and evergreens, old farmers and new farmers, hippies and good ol boys, and most importantly for this story, rivers.

The Illinois River is a cool salvation to the fiery heat of summer. And, of course, fiery is the painfully accurate word. You pass lots of scarred hillsides, black from recent fires. Driving toward home this very morning, we could barely see the next hill over due to a forest fire smoke. I recall flying over a few weeks ago from LA and spotting a half a dozen major fires from the air.

I grew up in places that were also very hot during summer and cold in winter. But it has been a while, and I am now acclimated to one of the most mild climates around. Cool summers. Cool winters. Grey grey grey. And SO, arriving in southern Oregon mid august with a partially functioning AC in a van with only two windows, was, to say the least, hot. We did the wet cloth trick a few times, but mostly our survival was mercifully administered in the form of swimming holes.

A stunning swimming spot on the spectacular Smith River.

Orca Rides with my boy.

We would visit with fam and friends under the beautiful sun, swelter to the fainting point, and then dash off for a swim. Dry after only moments of walking away from the water, we would venture to the next destination. And again, pop in a river for a swim after that. Lunch. Swim. Dinner. Swim. Beer. Swim.

T Man getting ready for a swim after a long drive south.

Grandma helps get the burs out, after some exploration down creek.

Drying off takes only seconds.
I got my fill of clear water and it was for the betterment of my soul.