When I was almost two-years-old, my parents decided it was time~with four children and one more on the way~to go on an adventure that would shape us all into the people we are today. They bought a lodge on a lake with seven log cabins and a full staff. We moved into the Alpine Lodge Thanksgiving Day 1971.
It was snowing and dark when we finally pulled into the parking circle after a two-day drive from Upstate New York. The former owners, Mr. and Mrs. Ross, were there to greet us. The black painted logs of the low slung buildings contrasted with the eerie blue white of the snow that had been falling for days. The main lodge~with the living quarters, industrial kitchen, dining hall and social room~rested atop a gently sloping hill that rolled out to the shores of Van Vliet Lake. Sidewalks followed the grade down and then branched out to the left and right and led to the single-room cabins along the lake.
We spent the first night in the motel-style rooms just off the drive, mere yards from the entrance to the lodge. The next day, Friday, we unpacked and settled into this place we would call home for the next six years. Of course I don’t remember a bit of this, but to hear mom recall the story in great detail is one of my life’s pleasures.
Before arriving, Dad did research to see what there was to do during the snowy wintertime when the lodge is closed. Snowmobiling was popular, as was cross country skiing. Having never done it before, mom took particular interest in cross-country skiing and bought skis that next weekend. Pregnant with my little sister, mom would spend hours out exploring the surrounding ten acres that came with the property. Soon, the whole family was in on it (I was pulled in a sled until I got my own skis that next winter).
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As I worked on this canvas, it took on the look of birch trees in winter (my favorite tree and my favorite time when growing up at the lodge). I continued on that path once I got the hang of applying white-out tape and scratching through it. Just when I felt it was done I was inspired to “tie” a red ribbon on one of the trees as we did back then to mark the cross-country ski trails. Frequent snow storms obliterated the paths and oftentimes we were solely dependent on these red flags to find our way out of the woods. It was a very scary thing to lose sight of the flags, so the red flags always indicated safety.
I dedicate this painting to my mom and dad for taking the great leap of faith of moving the family from an ordinary life into an extraordinary one. I believe we are all braver people willing to take chances and explore the world, even if it seems scary at times. I know I am fearless to try new things and I believe my bravery was instilled in me all those years at the lodge.