Do you like nature? Apparently, so do I!


Day thirty-four

Milo's mountain boy diaper butt

Day thirty-five

Our mountain paradise

"This is a bed with a face, he's smiling at you."

Day thirty-six

Our little slice of the pie

A few days ago I had an epiphany or a duh moment depending on if you’re a glass half full or glass half empty sort of person. I have been struggling to verbalize why I am making the kind of work that I make. I keep asking myself why I am going back and forth between this really naturalistic aesthetic and this more modern, urban vibe.  While Milo was spending twenty minutes trying to decide if we were going to the mountains for a hike or to the Dinosaur museum, and then later again while Milo was laying flat on his stomach examining a bug, I finally had a few minutes and saw clearly what I’ve been processing with my work.

When Milo was ten months old we rented out our house near downtown and moved to a house 16 miles up a canyon outside of Boulder. We were just plain tired of the close quarters, the violence (someone shot our house with a shotgun), the noise, the pollution, the city. We’ve always been crunchy, we’ve always loved camping and hiking and our best times have been spent in a tent (except for the sand dog incident, damn you sand dog!)  I loved being up there; the smell and air and the dark night skies. Milo learned to walk in the woods and on trails.

What we didn’t realize is that to live that far away, you have to drive a lot, use a lot of wood and propane and generally consume more to live like you’re using less. We lived up there until the economy was in a total hole and gas was over $4/gallon. We just couldn’t swing it and we moved back home to our little house in Denver. It made us appreciate our friends, our family, our neighbors, our farmer’s market, our bikes, and our little efficient house and yard.

This failed attempt at mountain living taught me a valuable lesson about two very distinct sides of myself. I love being alone, I need to be alone, I need to be in the mountains, sit under a tree, see the water, run next to the ocean.  I am not a complete human being unless that side of me is fulfilled. On the other hand, I need people, not just my family but the background of lots of strangers doing similar things all at once. I like seeing people who are not like me. I like the library, art shows and the museums and the buses and bikes, the general hustle and bustle. It’s ok that it’s not an all or nothing affair. I am impressed by those folks who can live in total isolation like those documentaries of that old timer who whittled even the nails to build his cabin (although Jon might be into that),or those who can live in a 150 sq ft apartment in NYC.

So I think what I’ve been getting at in my work is to create an outward expression of the internal the tension that we all feel inside of ourselves to be alone and to be social, to be in the city and to be in the woods, to see the big picture and to cherish the smallest details.  Make sense?


5 responses to “Do you like nature? Apparently, so do I!

  1. Bethany O'Halloran

    Okay, this is my new favorite post — expresses so much of what I feel about urban versus rural. When do we get the retreat in the mountains for when were weary of the city?

    • Cherie Challain

      Come on up…all of ya. (here I am in the rainy NW woods…watching loons, grebes and woodpeckers, while reading about the busy world and looking at fabulous art!
      Delanie, I think I like Day thirty-four(s)..can’t decide which one. I think they would look great espresso bar (Dancing Goats, Olympia). Something about the drippy cups look feels so right. There are a number of art pieces there that are (drawn?) with coffee…

      • Sounds so nice! The last one should be day 36 (oops). They do have that coffee cup ring look. I certainly drink plenty of the good stuff while I’m making them. Check out the website or email me if you’d like me to send anything your way.

  2. SO well said,
    i totally want to live on a secluded farm..on the coast…5 mins from a rad city. i know. asking a lot.

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