This homestead was built by an artist in 1947. He lived off the land, trapped and survived harsh winters. His paints froze so he chose to draw with words. Prose and poems that earned him awards, fellowships and national recognition. His powerful vision is an inspiration to many.
My friend and I hike around the 160 acrea homestead and discover treasures. His cozy writing studio perched high on the side of a hill surrounded by golden aspen. A small creek where he gathered water. Remains of a path, the old Valdez trail. Hidden remnants of an ancient bridge which gave up it’s timbers for his cabin.
Sharp autumn wind is thwarted by warm sunshine. A fried ice cream kind of day, cold and warm at the same time. We take out paints, paper, brushes and work while golden colors shout around us. It is glorious.
The current owner gave me permission to be here to paint. It is an honor. This property is treasured. You can feel it in the collection of buildings. Even the paths are cherished. Well lived and well loved by a great American writer, John Haines. I never met him in person but he reveals his soul in poetry and prose.
I had been in his cabin many years ago when his friends were searching for someone to care for it. I turned down the opportunity to stay while they traveled. It was a regret that i carried for many years. I can now erase that regret with one golden autumn day. A day of painting and listening to the music of the leaves.
I share my adventure on his homestead last month with you in a painting and a poem.