The Artist Date is a dream-child of Julia Cameron. We’ve discussed her book, The Artist’s Way, and highly recommend both the book and the weekly date. It can be life-changing. It can open your creativity like nothing else. This week, we’re hanging out over a spillway soaking in the suds of a frigid bubble bath.
The ice hasn’t gone out yet on Lake Farley.
I’m perched a bit precariously on a concrete ledge which is not so high above the ground that I can’t reach it in one very tall step. My feet are larger than the ledge, and it’s slick and wet.
To my left, the lake, top crust frozen to a translucent olive. To my right (I think that’s east), the Whetstone Creek. It’s running rather quickly considering the way the water seems to have come to a standstill at the base of the spillway straight in front of me.
Lake water pours out from under the ice in brown squiggly torrents. The sun will not emerge today, so there’s a dingy reflective layer. The sound of rushing water drowns out any other noise I might pick up here, though there isn’t much else to hear except the complaints of the geese who flew north too early and whose poop I dodged in my red sneakers, as I made my way up the small hill to the ledge.
Should I mention the smell? Stagnant. Sulfurous. The smell of water that hasn’t moved in too long a season.
The scene holds little appeal, all in all. Even the foam, which has doubled in size since I came yesterday, has something distasteful about it, like the cold soap suds left over after a day’s worth of dirty dishes.
But the foam. The fluffy, mesmerizing foam. Globs of dirty suds dot the dried brown lawn of the picnic area, blown free from the heaving monstrosity of it at the base of the spillway. Currents from water and air roll beneath; it swells with the movement. Pieces, large and small, break free and chase one another in the air, sometimes rolling like a tumbleweed off into the reeds, other times catching back into the inhales and exhales of a pulsating, downy mass.
There’s a dog forming in the pile of foam on the far side. Then it’s a volcano. And now it’s a cloud broken free, looking for blue sky to float into.
By tomorrow, those geese will have a new grievance to file and the foam will be indistinguishable from eight inches of fresh April snow.
Post by Will Willingham.
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