A couple of weeks ago the man had a job down near Medford in southern Oregon, so I went with him. The sky was lowering as the sun sank to the horizon on this Wednesday evening.
The sky changed its nature every minute or so, and Jeff sat in the passenger seat trying to capture it on his camera as I drove.
The sunlight shone a particular glow on the surrounding land that doesn't really show up in the photos, but just remembering it fills me with awe.
We arrived late at the hotel and Jeff spent the next day-and-a-half working while I was blissfully lazy. The furthest I wandered from the hotel room during the day was the hot tub and pool on the ground floor.
On Thursday I discovered that we could get rush tickets for Guys and Dolls in Ashland, home to the famous Shakespeare Festival, so we drove down there for dinner and got in early to the ticket office, snagging tickets close to the front and centre for the show. We paid $45 a ticket instead of over $100 each. It's a great way to see shows, although I hear it is harder to get rush tickets in the summer.
Jeff finished work at noon on Friday and we drove down to Talent to check out our airbnb lodging. It was out in the country a bit, and we were looking for the street number when we drove past a house that was all overgrown and had some old rusty cars outside. At least it's not that house, I said. Only it was. The airbnb photos didn't quite catch the ambience of the place.
All in all, it was okay, although the house was a very cluttered and meandering, being created rather haphazardly from a barn. Some of the electricity was a bit questionable and there was no doorknob on the shared bathroom. The hosts were a couple of old hippies who earn a spotty living from their art, and several other people wandered in and out while we were there, including a guy who has been living out of his VW bus for thirty years. But the room was clean and the bed comfortable, so we decided to deal with the rest of it.
The weather was perfect and this was the view from the overgrown garden (AKA Food Pollinator Forest.)
Several beehives dotted the gardens, all surrounded by crystals and other new-agey things.
On Saturday morning we hiked, which will require a post all of its own. We were a bit worn out after that so we went back to the house to rest and then headed down to Ashland for dinner, hoping to catch rush tickets to Much Ado About Nothing. I really wanted to see Pericles, but it was sold out.
If you've ever been to Ashland, you will know that it is a beautiful and much-weirder-than-Portland town. It is surrounded by hills that are visible from downtown.
Lithia Park follows Ashland Creek and exits right next to the theatre complex, so we walked through it and enjoyed the sunshine and the beauty of the park.
We were still tired and the day lent itself to relaxation, so we lay on the grass and looked up at the trees and listened to cello music.
The grass was damp so I moved to one of these benches.
In true Ashland style, the cellist transported himself and his cello on a bike.
After collecting the tickets, we wandered the main street and listened to buskers. This young man was particularly impressive. He is a violist with the symphony and obviously lives for his music. This instrument is called a nyckelharpa and is from Sweden. If you want to learn more about it and hear some music, go here. He is off to Sweden soon to spend a year perfecting his skill. It is a truly amazing instrument. He told us that there are only twelve nyckelharpa players on the West Coast. He learned to play it using YouTube videos, which is how some of my piano students would prefer to learn the piano.
Wandering the streets of Ashland is always a hoot and an education. There was the guy who was lying on the grass with two sheep tethered next to him. The sheep had little pouches underneath their bottoms to catch the pellets. He had a sign stuck in the grass that said modernshepherds.org and a hat for donations. It is an interesting website, check it out.
And, of course, there are always the unshaven, unwashed, and dread-locked group of young people who hang out in small clusters in the plaza, strumming their stringed instruments and openly smoking marijuana. If one walked past them with enough frequency I am pretty sure one could get high on the fumes. According to the shepherd website, they are homeless and they have all been sleeping at night together in a garage belonging to some kind person. So, no money for a home because it all goes to weed. Apparently.
The play was a bust. I don't appreciate it when directors use Shakespeare to make trendy social and political statements. In my opinion, the play was ruined by such manipulations. But we only paid $25 a ticket this time; some guy was selling family tickets because his son was sick, so it didn't hurt as much as if we had paid even the rush price. All it cost was a couple of painfully wasted hours.
And on Sunday morning some wild turkeys visited the overgrown garden.
And then we came home.