Sunday, December 10, 2017

Studio #6 - Spring Mountain

“Where will you go?” My friend Sampson asked during the phone call when I told him my restless self would be on the move again.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I have my little bed-sit in LA.”

“You hate LA,” he said.

“I know, I know.”

“Come see my Paradise on the mountain,” he said.

I rolled my eyes. He didn’t see me roll my eyes, of course, but he knew.

“Stop rolling your eyes,” he said, “and come check it out. I have room.”

So I hopped a plane, which he met in San Francisco with flowers from his garden and a bottle of wine from his favorite vineyard, Folie a Deux. I wondered if he was trying to tell me something. It was too late, if he was. He was 80, I was approaching 50, we’d been the best of friends for years. Sampson invariably introduced me as his “little sister.”

Late afternoon sun glittered over the dormant Napa Valley grape vines, turning the bushy little plants of tiny mustard flowers into shmears of buttery yellow. We drove up, up the hill to the property, seven hundred acres of grapes and seven different kinds of trees. The owner, a cheese and washing machine heir, gave Sam carte blanche to design and build him a house on his little man-made lake tucked away in the forest of oaks, pine, madrone, manzanita, fur, cedar and maple.

Sam lived in a three bedroom/two bath caretaker’s cottage. After three days of friendship, conversation, good food and rest, he said, in distillation, “You need healing. Do it here.”

And so I did.

There’s not much to say about the tiny bedroom/studio on Spring Mountain: a drawing board and a folding table. One of Sam’s architect friends taught me how to make miniature houses to scale.

I made a tea house. I made earrings out of old book papers and created a bunch of largely unsell-able stuff for a couple of local gift shows.

I did heal on that mountain. How can you not? Quality air, with only the sounds of the hoot owls and coyotes at night. No more honk, honk, beep beep, hurry hurry. Just me, my own bed, my yoga mat, music, some good food, someone to talk to and a little room for my ebbing and flowing stash of art paraphernalia. It was good.





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