September 16, 2015

Mud and Monsters

By Paula D. Barteau
San Rafael Swell
August 28, 2015

The first day here I built a face in the hill for it to scream through.

Digging stone teeth into dirt and the sky.
If it screamed, I didn’t hear it.
But maybe I wouldn’t.

I covered myself completely in clay from the riverbank and was turned into an organic matter mosaic.


The next day it rained all day and I went walking and wrote. I found that perfect clarity of mind where I could think entirely through my eyes and hear every word I wanted to write and nothing else.
Kacie held a reading in her rain gathering structure that night and invited everyone to come and drink rain water and listen. It reminded me of the incredible power of well-written words, skillfully constructed art, why it’s so important.

I finished the Face On The Hill the same day I had to take it down.  I invited everyone to come see it and took pictures of the finished face with Orianna.
I spent most of our last day here in the river, it was over a hundred degrees out in the afternoon and I swam for most of the day.

It was too hot to disassemble The Face during the day so I went to take it down after dinner. I came back to the beautiful surprise of Harriet and Clark’s tea ceremony. They served everyone tea in bowls they had made out of clay from the river, painted with iron oxide from the canyons, and fired in a stone oven they had built over the campfire the day before. The tea was sweet and earthy, like an aged Pu-erh, brewed from sumac berries they had gathered earlier on our last day here.

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