this is buck lake on the night we arrived. joe picked me up with his new girlfriend, laurie, on friday morning. joe and laurie have only been dating for a few weeks, but they seem madly in love. laurie is in her mid late 30's, she is a speech therapist at a local middle school, has a 5 year old daughter and is passionate about astrology - she offered to do my chart. on our way out, we stopped at new seasons for supplies, a gas station for gas, and a liquor store for booze. after about 2 hours of driving, some sketchy directions, and maybe a 2 mile hike up a mountain - we made it. it's a tiny little alpine lake in the middle of nowhere. besides our group, there were about 4 other families scattered along the shores. the water is crystal clear and teeming with little newts and trout, the birds are abundant, the chipmunks are brave (they scurry at your feet waiting for you to drop crumbs), all the trees talk to you, and at night all the stars wink at you - you can even see the spiraled arm of the milky way... it looks like white dust.
it was couples camping - the group was: joe and laurie, chris and arowyn, and me and shiv (chris and arowyn's little mutt). i met chris years back when he was on tour with joe. chris is still drving for radio cab and he's takin classes on computer science. he says he ain't playing much music anymore - says when he goes to shows, he feels old - i know that feelin. arowyn is his girlfriend and i'd never met her before. she's from the coast, lived in NY for a long time, and now she bartends at some spot off of stark - i don't remember the name of the place but it's just as well, she said the place sells vegan corndogs and the little hipster dipshits have taken over the place because vegan corndogs are all the rage. in this video, arowyn is lamenting that her floatation device has sprung a leak, joe is rolling a joint, chris is floating on his floatation device, and shiv, who hates water, is standing guard on the shoreline.
for some reason the audio didn't make it through on this video. but that's the buck lake crew right there. joe is reading a passage from the novel he is currently penning.
we took mushrooms and hiked out to these rocks. joe brought his paints, laurie brought snacks, and i brought a gallon of boiled lake water. we sat out there for hours - often in silence - i was lost in my thoughts - a lot of awe at the beauty of remote and natural places - a lot of self assessment - a few bouts of mild to severe introspection - and a few thoughts of love lost.
the night we arrived. it was love at first sight with buck lake.
cast iron on a campfire is good livin. i brought a poor cowboys fare - nuts, protein bars, coconut water, apples, canned chicken breast, oatmeal... real backpakers menu. but the couples brought food fit for kings - steak, salmon, sausage, yukon gold potatoes, kale, fancy red wine, eggs, chia seeds, baguettes, arugala, thick cut bacon... they even carried in a fuckin watermelon!! so when dinner rolled around - my generous friends insisted that i put down the protein bar and partake in the lap of camping luxury. i felt stupid for not bringing more food to share - so i did the dishes and offered swigs of my pint of old crow to show my appreciation. and when it came time to gather fire wood, i made sure to carry twice what everyone else carried - when you're camping on buck lake, you gotta pull your weight.
mr. joseph demaree. i can't count the ways i admire this guy. his lust for life is unparallelled. he walks the walk. i need to become a version of myself that incorporates more of what i am not - which is so much that joe is.
left to right: buck lake, nicholas smith.
maybe laurie is joe's new muse. maybe the horizon is. maybe he has no muse at all.
we negotiated a price. he is selling it to me for cheap because he said it would make him happy to know i have his work hanging on my wall. i watched him paint it, i played his guitar while he mixed his colors, we sat out there on those rocks as high as kites - with the wind whipping around, the echo of shiv's bark, the song of birds, the warmth of the sun... i'm telling you guys, i was in the inner most ring of heaven.
i was thinking of writing at length about the sherriff who pulled us over on the way home - the towing of joe's van, the 4th amendment debate i had with officer steinman as he searched my backpack, the long ride into town staring out the backseat window of a squad car, and the 80 dollar cab ride back into portland ... it was a terrible ending to a magical trip, it's true. but i'm not going into length about it - that would seem silly coming on the heels of experiencing so much peace and joy.
i'm going back to buck lake. and if you are one of the people who reads my little blog, then there's a damn good chance i want to share it with you.