Monday, June 29, 2009

One Day: Two Big Events

Saturday, June 27 and two very unusual events occurred at Holden Village. Those of you who have been to Holden before are now on alert by my use of the word unusual. In order for an event at Holden to be described as unusual is both far-reaching and far-fetched. Nearly every day holds any number of unusual happenings. They go almost without notice so ordinary are they...even though they are unusual.

But LLAMAS??!! And an OUTDOOR MOVIE??!! As they say in Minnesota, "You bet'cha!"

I overheard Hannah Twiton say that she had experience handling horses, s0 she felt quite at ease with the llamas. You will, nevertheless, note the camera she is holding. The event must have been unusual enough for her to want a photographic record of it.

The llamas arrived (no joke) on the back of the luggage truck. The luggage (thankfully) was relegated to another vehicle for the day. The llamas had been barged up to the landing down at Lake Chelan, loaded up on the back of the truck, and driven the 12 miles up the switchbacks and the gravel road into Holden. Here they were off-loaded onto the luggage dock in front of what is called "the hotel."

The arrival coincided with the noon meal, and it was not very long before they were discovered on the luggage dock just below the windows to the dining hall. It was time to abandon the beans and rice. grab a camera, and head out.

The llamas were on leashes, and their owners seemed to have no problem in handing over the leashes to young and old alike. The llamas seemed to have no problem with inexperienced handlers either.

The llamas were here for a reason. They had been brought up by the Forest Service to serve as pack animals for the trail clearing crews. During the latter part of the winter, there were several major avalanches covering portions of trails outside of Holden. The crews will need to be out and on the job for extended periods of time and need a considerable amount of equipment to take care of massive clean-ups. Apparently, llamas are a good choice to serve in that capacity.

An oh! In this final picture, if you look above the llamas and up to the porch in front of the bookstore, you will see a piece of apparatus that looks suspiciously like an espresso machine. That is because it IS an espresso machine. Stay tuned.

As the sun sank below the rim of our own mountains, it was time for the outdoor movie...the Holden Cineplex...featuring a singalong version of The Sound of Music. Come early and stay late! And yes, many Holdenites dressed in costume for the big event. Here Angela Gustafson looks to be a copy of Maria headed for the von Trapp home herself to take on those 7 children...and the Captain!

No stadium seats these. You grab a yard blanket and you sit on the hill. The evening began warm and ended up quite chilly. A yard blanket was no match for the cold, but the hardy did endure.

Carole Young and Bret Hushagen occupy the unorthodox (but functioning flawlessly) projection "booth".

There was no charge to see the movie, but tickets were issued in order to have an equitable way of delivering door prizes (candy bars). The tickets were replicas of the tickets once used at the Holden Theater when the mine was in operation.

Andrea Benson and daughters Sophie and Isabel bag up the popcorn and offer lemonade. Karolina Vass and Kristofer Vass, standing in front of the table, assist.

The event was, once again, sponsored by the Utilities group. They are (l to r): Scott McLaughlin, Mark Borges, Nancy Rerucha, and Leon Wells. Just behind them is the giant tarpaulin which will be hoisted high into the serve as the projection screen.

Going up, up, up...let the movie begin!

And there you have it! Do-Re-Mi!

We Have This Small Treasure

To my knowledge, there is but one bush of peonies in the village, and it is located just beside a wooden deck-like structure, affectionately called "the ark" by Holdenites. In this central location just beside the dining hall, all who come to sit, to read, to talk to others, can enjoy both its beauty and it light-but-lovely lovely fragrance.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

We Have This Small Treasure

At 7:30 every morning, the lawns and gardens crew has set the sprinklers to water the upper reaches of the village. The sun is at the right place in the sky to seize the opportunity to enhance the whole by illuminating the spray with its light. Tom Ahlstrom, one of the directors, is playing the chimes. The sound reverbrates against the mountains. At the bottom of the hill, there is all the coffee you can hope for and a big bowl of oatmeal.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Have Often Wondered

Ever since
I first saw the words
That you inscribed
On the wall of a shed,
I have often wondered
Over the particulars.
I have actually spent time
Pondering things that I will never know.

Of course,
I wonder
Who you are.
I imagine you alone,
(You are always alone)
Faced into the corner
Of that lean-to shed
Intent on the task
You have chosen for yourself.

I wonder
How long
You stood there
Just to the side
Of the doorway,
The only entrance
For the light of the sun,
The stirring of air,
The sounds of the world at large.

I wonder, too,
About those words,
Such powerful words.
Did they originate
With someone else?
Or, helpless,
Were you overtaken
By their upwelling
From within?

Why, I ask,
Did you choose
To spend
A considerable
Length of time
To so painstakingly
Carve those words
Into the wall
Of a place so hidden from view?

Why not use an indelible marker?
Why bother to add the spray of flowers?
Why relegate such words to relative oblivion?
Why put them in the company
Of the winter windows, stored for the summer,
The random lengths of dryer venting,
The cast-off hiking boots,
The dusty white-feathered dream catcher?

The answers to my questions,
Of course,
Lie within the passion
Of the moment
Of creation.
And you, in the moment,
I would surmise,
Were bound
To its power.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In Good Hands

In all the meeting and the greeting, four of us in the village suddenly realized there were four "generations" of posti present in the village at once...time for a photo op!

Left to right (and in order of their service to the village...longest time ago to current): Gundula Houff, visiting with husband Larry from their home in Ohio and on their way to Portland to see a new grandchild; Andrea Benson, here with husband Scott McLaughlin and daughters Spohie and Isabel from the Minneapolis area for a visit; Patty Osterholm from Seattle, currently working for the U.S. Forest Service and living for the summer in the Ranger Cabin just outside the village; and Wanda Woolsey, from Florida, currently working in the post office and pleased to have all the back-ups, should the need arise!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Another Treasure in the Village Center

Arranged along the back wall of the Village Center are works of religious art from the private collection of Dan and Karen Erlander. The works are on loan for the summer and represent a wide range of spiritual beliefs and practices as well as a wide range of artistic endeavors. Holden Village is most fortunate to have them on display.

Here is a sampling of these extraordinary pieces of art.

Manna and Mercy under Mt. Rainier

Bryan Birksdale and Dan Erlander


Sister Corita Kent

Baptismal Procession

Slovak Embroidery

Daniel in the Lion's Den

Ethiopian Coptic

The Flight to Egypt

Sadad Watanabe

St. Francis of Assisi

Sister Mary Charles McGough, OSB

Vision Quest

Robert Redbird, Kiowa


Crossroads, South Africa


Thursday, June 11, 2009

We Have This Treasure

The first week of the summer program is officially underway. If you have never visited Holden, the following views of the Village Center will give you an idea of the place in which worship services, summer sessions, concerts, meetings...AND the 4th of July Talent Show and Fireworks Display!!...take place. If you have been here before but are not going to be able to make the trek to Holden this year, then you will enjoy seeing the Village Center as we begin the summer.

The decorated ceiling is festooned with brightly colored banners which lead the eye up to the ceiling. In the very center of the space, there is an enormous mobile created by Jack Coffey. It floats under the banners and above the room.

"The Dancing Servant" sculpture, which was created in the mid-60's by Terry Sateren, has been placed near the entrance of the Village Center for the summer. The cracked clay pot is lit from within by a votive light. Dan Erlander's design on the summer theme tee shirt reads, "Holden Village...A society of cracked pots."

Although it stands in its usual place in the Center, the base of the baptismal font and the bowl are new. The base and the bowl were created this past winter by artists from St. Olaf, John Saurer and Christie Hawkins, a husband and wife team. The wood for the base of the font was salvaged from timbers formerly used in the narrow gauge railroad that served the needs of the copper mine located here.

John Saurer and Christie Hawkins have just returned this week to complete work on the font. They brought with them a copper-plated element of text to be placed on the bottom of the bowl below the level of the water. The lettering style on this insert was originally created here at Holden from calligraphy designed by Laura Norton. Using that calligraphy, Christie then designed the piece and supervised its implementation into a work of art in its own right. The text reads as follows: "You have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever."

Their work on the font this week will continue this week and will include carving the wooden base with an appropriate inscription.

This year's summer theme ("We have this treasure.") is an echo of the words carved on the Village Center lectern many years ago. The carving itself was done in the mid-60's by Arnold Flaten and some 40 years later has come into its own in terms of coinciding with the summer's theme.

Two huge banners stretch across the east end of the Village Center. The scripture basis for the theme (2 Corinthians4: 6-7) is inscribed on the banners.

At the front of the assembly space, there is a collection of various and sundry clay pots, a further manifestation of the text.

The Guatemalan cross is in its usual location high in the corner of the room. For this summer, it is flanked on either side by a bright banner similar to the banners draped across the ceiling.

This is a close-up of the cracked clay pot on the table at the entrance to the room.

The Village Center has been at Holden since the days the mine was in operation. At that time, the building was used as a multi-purpose space capable of accommodating many different community activities...gymnasium, theater, worship space, ballroom, movie theater. Most of those activities continue to this day. As a large open area designed to be used in many different ways, it is an incredibly difficult place to "decorate."

Much of the credit for this year's display goes to Angela Mietzke who has served the village as the worship assistant. She, in turn, was assisted in the endeavor by others in the village willing to help with advice and with the actual construction and implementation of her ideas. I hesitate to mention names. If I mention 1 person, I will omit 10 names that need to be credited. If I name 10, I will leave out 1. As always at Holden, the work was completed by means of the combined efforts of the community as a whole. Whatever needed to be done was done.

The results speak for themselves. We do, indeed, have this treasure.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mary in the Sun Sorting Knitting Needles

If Van Gogh had stood behind me in the window of the post office, looked out with me, and seen this vision, he would have rushed to set up his easel and get out his paint pots.

But Van Gogh wasn't with me. Too bad. He would have ended up more famous than he presently is (if that is possible), and he would (perhaps) have sold at least one more painting during his own lifetime.

He would have called such a painting "The Red Sun Hat."

I call it "Mary in the Sun Sorting Knitting Needles." (And with my offering, you have no need to wait for the paint to dry.)

Enjoy. A lovely moment in a lovely day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yes, But Is It Art?


Another View of Foamhenge

A Final View of Foamhenge

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

On a Sunday Afternoon at Refrigerator Harbor

Dozing atop a picnic table,
Just lolling about, really,
Looking straight up into the sky
And figuring on the height of the surrounding trees,
Marveling at the blue of the sky beyond them,
I nearly missed this little visitor,
This tiny Joseph
In its coat of many colors,
And would have missed the wonder
Entirely, had it not signaled
To me its landing
With a "TW-S-S-S-P!"
At my ear.

I turned to see an insect
So wondrous
That mere words would fail,
Fail utterly,
To describe it.
There was just enough time
For one picture.
And then, as if to say,
"That is enough.
You have seen enough of my great beauty,"
It extended webs of finest gossamer
From beneath its burnished carapace
And vanished.