on the mountain

Yesterday I had to drive up the mountain to pick up an injured skier. Just as I pulled out of the drive to get back on the mountain a storm came from nowhere. The three of us in the taxi all exclaimed as we realized the visibility went from patchy to nada. The top of the mountain is closed in winter so there is only one way up and down, a fairly short 7 or so miles on a good day. As I slowly inched my way down it was obvious the people coming up were in trouble. Four cars, one after the other were skidding up and off the road. It was a disaster waiting to happen. I winced as I knew I had to come right back up to pick up an airport run.

Turns out, as you may or may not see from the camera phone photo, things came to a stop on my way back up. I was about 4th in line from the front of an hour long wait halfway up the mountain, cars behind me probably lined the entire way back to town. Seems a car was on fire as well as another accident just after the upcoming curve in the road. It was windy and cold and quite the wait. Two fire trucks, one ambulance stormed up after thirty minutes. People started walking up to see what was what and stopping in the bar up on the left for food and cases of beer. The mountain itself was a virtual disneyland but the main artery had been temporary cut off.

Lucky for me my 'panic while waiting' mode has been steadily lessoning. I felt jittery and often wondered how much longer I could stay up there. Imagined how good it would feel to turn around...as you can see I left myself plenty of space from the car in front of me. I kept calling the Inn and making sure they really wanted me to wait and pick the people up even though they had by now missed the chance to get to burlington airport on time. I ran out to clean off the van a few times as the snow relentlessly piled up; I ran up to the bar to pee. I ate some peanuts I had in the van....and after awhile I realized we aint moving and got out to stretch and pace.

The guy behind me got out and we started talking. He is a local. He actually knew the place I lived in, seems lots of locals are aware of the woman who owned this house. Believe it or not before she died she was quite the philanthropist and somewhat of a painter herself. I sometimes have a conversation with her spirit when I'm alone here, thanking her that I am here and able to benefit so much from having been a caretaker to her estate with Tod. It is her children that now use this house, which is why we still are living here until they decide to let the house go.

Anyhow. The local dude was nice and I felt more relaxed having someone to talk to. After over an hour we all watched as a tow truck brought down a completely blackened crispy windowless car. We were finally able to move forward, driving over a burnt black road, driving past burnt snow. It was creepy.

I got my people, who waited patiently for me. I felt like the wild west postal service...neither snow nor sleet nor burning cars will keep (fill in name of company) away I exclaimed to the front desk. (no reaction from them but I have to entertain myself) The long ride to the airport was actually fun. The husband went out like a light bulb and the wife, a young vivacious woman from New York, talked about art and life and people. She even gave me the name of a design furniture place in MA that she thought my art would look good in. I gave her my card, ya never know.

This morning someone emailed me and suggested I start taking pictures, that it could possibly morph into a future photo show or who knows what. Ironically yesterday I did take a few pictures and realized while I can't carry my good camera or tripod I could at least use my camera phone or maybe my crappy small digital camera. And KJ had suggested carrying a portfolio or even small works with me....I keep thinking how can I at least have a few photos of pieces with me without everything getting messed up since I usually cram my log book in the space between the front seats?

Well time will tell. I keep telling people my art is in the gallery and yet I have no new work and only two pieces in there since one sold recently. I shall keep on. The peaceful warrior. Thats what I've got in my mind.


Daphne said...

That's scary stuff. Who needs to go on roller coasters?

Did you get my email last Thursday? I hope so. And I'm glad to hear you sounding like you're beginning to manage driving everyone and anyone, everywhere and anywhere more easily.

By the way, I bet that this experience will add a whole new aspect to your art when you start working again. It will be exiting to see what you do.

Kim Hambric said...

I must say, your progress behind the wheel is remarkable. I consider myself a good drive in bad conditions, but I would have folded up and gone home.

It is interesting in seeing the suddenly skillful taxi driver fighting it out with the inner artist. So frustrating now, but one day you will no doubt realize this struggle was essential to your life as an artist.

Be careful out there!

self taught artist said...

i hope you both are right about this job and my art/life. i have a feeling you are.....

BlueJude said...

I too agree that you will somehow creatively grow from all this. AND I am amazed at your bravery. Hang in there adn keep the sense of humor-even if some of the locals don't get it. Hugs from the "Cleaning Lady".

Lisa said...

I agree - I think you could so a pretty interesting art project based on your taxi experience and photos. What an opportunity to turn this into something really positive!

sarala said...

What a day. Glad you made it. Makes my driving adventures seem tame. I like the idea of you having a camera in the car with you. Like me and my "drive bys".
Stay warm and drive safely.