A New Years Eve walk on a brand new section of the nearby Olympic Discovery Trail beside Discovery Bay. But what’s this? A couple of those outdoor wayside panels with some art by that Eifert-dude, so new they look startlingly clean without gull poop. Still, I thought they looked good, properly placed and I’m proud to have been involved in this. Funded by almost 2 dozen groups over several years of work, it’s closing in on completion.
How clean IS this new asphalt? Not even a boot mark on it. The trail follows (more or less) the old railroad grade and is part of the 126-mile Olympic Discovery Trail from Puget Sound to the Pacific. There were lots of partner organizations involved in this new section, but the lead was the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, with offices not a mile from our studio. It’s not often I get to do this stuff so close to my home and rarely do we get to see it fresh and newly installed.
The panel below doesn’t have art but is more about the physical process that removed 1900 tons of concrete and junk, hauled off 425 tons of contaminated soil and restored 3200 lineal feet of shoreline. It wasn’t just about building the trail, but restoring salmon habitat – which is a lot of what I painted in 2017. I can count a dozen recent paintings about habitat restoration, and I feel I’ve contributed in some small way to helping put things right in these projects.
But there’s another small story here I want to tell. In 1972, I was looking for a place to open a little craft gallery. I was young, making crafts and little paintings, and driving up and down the Pacific Coast trying to find a cheap place that fit my passion for nature. I needed someplace to just learn to be an artist, and I found this cove extraordinarily beautiful. I still do. I eventually ended up in Ferndale, California on the redwood coast for awhile, but this place beside Discovery Bay briefly grabbed my heart.
Just over the top of this photo is a little strip of land where once sat a small, run-down sawmill, and it was for rent in 1972. I sat there for two days thinking about how beautiful it was, how hopeless the idea was, how I was probably crazy to even try to figure out how to make it work. Wind blew through the broken windows, otters lived underneath it and the building was just too far off nearby Highway 101. So I headed south.
And now, over 45 years later, here’s my art installed at the same place! Life is short, but it sure can be wide and it loops back.
Thanks for reading this week – and the entire year for that matter.
Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.
And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.