Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Clearing

I spent a week at The Clearing, a folk school in Ellison Bay, Door County Wisconsin.  I came here to attend Marilynn Brandenburger's course 'The watercolor journal goes a traveling'.  The Clearing has a double meaning.  One being the obvious physical space in the woods surrounding the buildings and overlooking Ellison Bay.  The other a more subtle experience of leaving the daily world of work behind and finding a mental clearing, where new thoughts and insight can blossom and grow.

Many of the buildings were built by the founder, Jens Jensen, a renowned  architect of the 'prairie style'.  A style of open spaces and pathways using native rocks and plants.  The stone and log buildings wrapped by flower beds and small meadows are snuggly nestled in the woods.  Yet out their windows you can catch glimpses of the open sky and nearby Ellison Bay (the water not the town) across the clearing.

Without the distractions of TV, radio or cell phones you begin to see beyond the larger beauty of the forest.  The subtle curves of the paths, the dabs of color in the small wildflowers, the play of dappled light on the trees and building roofs, the changes in color as the sun rises and sets, the sounds of each different animal.  The mental clearing begins.

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