The bottom photo was taken by Colin Dullaghan back in October, 2010 — paradise on a clear, Fall day! The top photo was from last week.

Ahhh, it’s been awhile. There is a big fire in New Mexico, about an hour and a half south of us, and the winds have filled our valley with smoke. So many people and animals have been affected, as well as sacred sites. We are in such a drought. The sky wants to rain so badly, the clouds drum and echo their music across the mesa, but their rain evaporates before ever touching the earth…there are some 10-second sprinkles that Tulsi and I were lucky to dance in, naked. Yeah, that is the cool thing about living in the mountains on private land with few “surprise” visits from neighbors.

The smoke was so thick last week that we packed up and headed north to higher ground, good friends and barefoot picnics in the grass. One surprising and comforting thing was the answer to the question, “If our house burns down, what would we want to take with us?” Our answer as we looked around our house, very little.

I’m also in the THICK with my card deck project and was kinda exhausted, so a forced, otherwise impossible spontaneous roadtrip, was re-energizing. And the “distance” was just what I needed to gain perspective. I’m pretty happy about it so far and am having fun. This deck is a “dream job” in a lot of ways. I love the project and there is no art direction. This is rare — nearly unheard of in the publishing world. It feels both empowering (to be trusted) and scary (to have such a wide open sky). Although I wish I had more time, I see how I’m being “pushed” and am growing a lot from creating a large number of pieces in such a short amount of time. And, it is fun how inspiration (for other projects) seems to pour like monsoons when I am painting this much. A little glimpse…

I’ll post a garden update soon! Every year is different and full of curve balls and new learning. As for Tulsi, I love that she loves the garden and chickens and dirt as much as ever.