Saturday, December 7, 2013

My day started with a beautiful sunrise in Chicago.  Baby pinks and blues, a bone chilling nine degrees outside, and one airport closer to Vermont.  A tiny thirty-seat plane took me the rest of the way to Burlington.  I think window seats are the best for writers.  The expansive views remind me of our narrators painting landscapes on the page.  Did you know there are little lakes dotted all over Burlington?  My imagination thought the town would be surrounded by white-capped mountains and the ground covered in snow.  Instead, low rolling hills and clusters of barn-shaped houses, an even kind of landscape with fall greens and browns still clinging to the pines and not much colder than rainy San Francisco when I left yesterday evening.

Monica, A VSC shuttle driver, picked me and four other women artists up from Burlington airport and when I saw my group for the first time the excitement finally hit.  All women.  All practicing a different art--a poet, a photographer, a painter, a sculptor, a prose writer.  A young Latina from Los Angeles, a woman who studied with Brenda Hillman in Russia many years ago, a teacher from North Carolina, an arts administrator from Oakland.  All of us virgins to the residency experience. 

The group immediately started asking questions about the projects they would work on while at VSC.  In my usual way, I start thinking of the end.  Would our goals be met by the end of the two weeks?  Would the reality of it be just as magical as the energy we started to create in the dirt-covered mini van that drove us an hour out of Burlington to the village of Johnson?

Then it was.

Red barns, wrap-around porches, steeped roofs, a quaint book and arts supply store, artists studios with huge windows and kilns and blank white walls, all within a stones throw of each other, finally some snow on the ground, galleries, and a rocky rushing river tearing right down the middle of it all.  An entire town supporting artists from all over the world--Vietnam, South Africa, Singapore, Argentina, Hungary, Korea, America.

I have only been here a few hours and it is dark, a quiet time of day, and still I can feel the talent pulsing all around me, like the Gihon River that runs through town.  An energy.  The excitement I have been waiting for. 

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