It was still dark outside as I unlatched the sliding windows from the inside and moved them along their track to unveil the muggy morning air that let the early birds' chirps echo through the shop. Travis began to set out the day's materials: steel, welders, welding wire, clippers; the equipment for the first part of our day sat next to the soft and lush components of the second part. The coffee was ready by now so I walked back down the hill to the house as the sun began to illuminate a gray-blue cloudy sky. The temperature should start dropping soon.
It's my favorite Day Camp of the year because what can't you create, armed with a welder, florals, and some wire? I suppose quite a few things, but the theory applies far and wide. Very quickly you must learn to focus, to meditate on your arc, to peer through the dark chaos of smoke and lightning and heat, and face head-on, up-close, what you're really doing; you self-analyze and correct. I mean, life, right? Teaching women to weld is especially rewarding because, whether I want to deny it or not (I do), it's unexpected, and that makes it feel powerful. That power would eventually fill up the shop and brim out the doors and waft out the windows and flow down the hill and spill into every area of the day. The bacon sizzle sound of the welding stopped, and we broke for lunch.
We worked with eucalyptus (seeded, silver dollar, and pods), magnolia branches, dried wheat, pheasant feathers, leather leaf, myrtle branches, air plants, and lavender I had been drying in the studio for months--it smelled like its only job was to smell amazing. Bird chirps started up again in the quiet wake of power tools, and we cracked open cans of cider. The temperature hadn't quite turned yet, but it began to feel festive somehow all the same. I found myself feeling admiration for every person in front of me as I watched them working on their own creations, problem solving in their minds and aloud, supporting each other and themselves.
Travis took the turkey off the smoker where it had been cooking in butter and salt and pepper since the morning, and I carved it. We celebrated with a roasted pepper & chickpea kale salad, the best baked macaroni & cheese I'm aware of, salted chocolate chip cookies & cranberry walnut cookies, and a damn perfect turkey if I've ever had one. We sat around the porch, surrounded by the foliage and wreaths, the little victories, from the day.