Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Just in back of the Visitors' Center, there's a cameo view of the Picket range. This view has special meaning for me, because when I was in my twenties, Rick, Benny, Charlton and I climbed McMillan (just off to the right of this view). We still have our slides of this mountain range from a much higher viewpoint, with sweeping glaciers and insistent rock. It was the hardest climb I ever did (relentless elevation gain in the approach.) Now, looking at these mountains, I have trouble recognizing the shapes that were once so familiar. But I definitely recognize the names. The Chopping Block. Triumph. Despair. They look steep and forbidding, even in the distance.

People step up and watch me paint. A couple from New Jersey. Some neighbors who used to live in Oregon. Their dogs wonder why they have stopped at the end of this platform. They all (except the dogs) appreciate the view, but I wonder how many can even imagine what it takes to get there. At fifty, I'm not sure I even want to attempt walking up the creek to get a closer look.

It's late in the afternoon, and the shadows are changing rapidly. I get them down with sweeping brushstrokes, and try to resist correcting as the dark shapes grow. Put in the foreground trees. Then go back to my comfortable lodge, where I can imagine not climbing the Pickets.


thom said...

This one is really cool - but I'm also quite fond of the Pickets. Excellent work and I've enjoyed perusing through your blog.


Karen E. Lewis said...


I'll be at BEST OF THE NORTHWEST the weekend before Thanksgiving, in Seattle, and bring some of these paintings with me. Stop by, if you're in the area!