I think sometimes when I talk about the ranch, people are confused about what we “do” there. It’s a question I get every now and then, as if it’s mystifying what someone might do out in the woods for a weekend. I try not to begrudge them the question, it’s coming from a genuine place. It can be hard to imagine, when you’re in the hustle and bustle of city life, stepping out of it. No happy hours, no Netflix, no friends to call, no readings, no gallery openings, no shopping, no wifi. I sometimes feel that way too, the evidence is in the bag I pack: it’s full of books, notebooks, pens and paper for drawing (I don’t draw?), other art projects I might get to, my computer, magazines.
I anticipate being bored. Of course I never am.
Over the weekend, my mom, dad and I went for a quick overnight trip to Fossil, leaving on Saturday morning and coming home Sunday night. Nowhere in that time did I really need entertainment, except maybe for a good book. But needing a good book is almost always true for me, so that doesn’t feel surprising. What did we do? We went for walks, we talked to each other. We listened to the rain on the tin roof and closed our eyes whenever we got tired reading. I sat in the brief moment of sun while my dad reseeded one of the hillsides, then went back to my spot on the porch where I watched the dogs sniff and the clouds roll by. We did go out to eat, but not because we had nothing better to do. We did do a few things around the cabin, moved some paintings around, but nothing big.
And it was a great weekend! It was exactly what I needed. That is the beauty of a place like the ranch, where the distractions are few. It reminds you that that’s exactly what they are: distractions. At the end of the day, we could all be okay in a quiet place in the woods. I was glad this past weekend for the reminder, and resolved that the next time I go my bag will be a little lighter.