Island Infusion

006Recently a boat deposited me on Santa Rosa Island for a few days, one of a handful of remote scapes comprising the Channel Islands National Park .

I traveled with a geologist, an art dealer and two canvas artists who brought their cameras to capture inspiration for future plein air works of art. Listening to facts about sediment and ancient orogeny, observations on tone and color as the sunlight and fast-moving clouds changed our surroundings sometimes minute to minute, I felt inspired, educated and fortunate and I missed my husband and son, wanting them to experience the wild ocean, mountains and scampering, indigenous foxes with me. And especially that tent-sleeping part. One day…

0591.  As we hiked through a forest of Torrey pines, explored (or napped on) the windy beach, tackled the climb to Bear Mountain, I often flashed on John Muir, his love for Yosemite that made him famous enough for Teddy Roosevelt to visit him there (even though Muir tried to get out of the meeting–luckily to no avail); because seeing is believing. Because clearly believing can lead to awe and respect, which can lead to a healthy desire to protect the precious and vanishing (the indigenous island fox is now back from extinction’s precipice).

2.  Constantly thankful (as when I discovered half of a gleaming abalone shell on the beach, or watched the sun rise over the silent campground) for writers like Barry Lopez, Eowyn Ivey, John McPhee and so many others graced with a talent for making landscapes live–because when seeing-to-believe isn’t an option, their works make reading-to-believe a reality.

3. So important to pack fresh blueberries and cream when camping–also fajitas and organic corn tortillas, artisanal cheeses and gourmet crackers, and lentil-carnitas stew. And coffee. Of course coffee. And whiskey. I forgot to bring the schnapps, but it wasn’t missed, so I assure you it is actually fine to cross schnapps off your camping list–but never hot chocolate. A beach towel. And, you know, drinking water is pretty vital…


4. Reminded that getting away from regular life is an opportunity for creative inspiration to zap the soul. At the top of Bear Mountain, I found a key ingredient to the novel I’m working on, discovered in the scenery and thanks to the murmurs around me. Aha! I thought. Aha…

5. Reminded that absence makes an already fondness-filled heart swell to bursting with gratitude and love and can be an antidote to writer’s block.

Not meaning to go all didactic on you. Just the urge to share after returning from a wilderness. Maybe trek to Santa Rosa if you can, before they add the proposed hotel and paved roads. Confident the artists I traveled with will help in the struggle to keep the wild in the wild (seeing is believing, seeing is believing), but–oh, Teddy! Paradise needs you, Sir. And definitely Muir, roaring down from the pines to shoo away insensitive change.


About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, grateful. Fiction, memoir, poetry, kidlit (MG), member SCBWI.
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1 Response to Island Infusion

  1. Jen Plana says:

    So nice! Takes me right back…

    Sent from my iPhone


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