Monthly Archives: July 2009

thriving on curiosity, living in wonder…

nevada, a quick trip, 2 days of shooting, 2 days of play. the highlight being the 11-mile kayak adventure down the colorado river.

as the van descended down a restricted road to the base of hoover dam, the guide warned of wind, flash floods, rattlesnakes and an amoeba that gets inside your nose and can kill you. sounded good to me… we saddled up our kayaks, threw them in the river and off we went… after some imperative cartwheel action, of course.

away from the tour and off on our own, my friend frank & i went exploring caves, waterfalls and all the funniest ways to say the word ‘guano’. in the cave the water glowed a clear, shimmering green and we ate celery there. smacking the water with my toes, my voice echoing ‘this is it…this is living!’

the morning brought random stops on sandy embankments, colorful lizards scampered by, rusty ladders, hot springs and signs of doom:doom:doom. warning this, warning that. the view from the tip of my kayak was surreal. the sun beat down strong, climbing to over 120 degrees. faces appeared in the mountain ridges, creatures mostly, native american symbols. there was a cherub in the clouds blowing the wind. frank saw it too. all seemed to send me one message… journey on…. and so i did…

i followed the twisting river, the cool water spraying me as i alternated my oars. gazing back to watch the swells swirling out behind me. ducks & other river birds came up near the boat and i would stop paddling to have staring contests. families of long-horned sheep perched expertly on nearby terrain apprehensively approaching the river banks. eagles screamed all hitchcock in the distance and waves slapped the rock, bouncing back in to their own rhythm. all the elements are in agreement with each other yet polar opposites. distinct contrasts…. boiling air, freezing water… camouflaged earth meeting electric emerald water. tranquil harshness.

i love kayaking… everything is alive, and it all shifts… my place in the river is balance, to keep upright and steady no matter what is in my path. kayaking down a river is symbolism for living… to keep going, thrive on curiosity, live in wonder…

the day grew into a full on blazing afternoon. the hot wind picked up. the approaching choppy waves told us it was coming and then like the force of an ignited jetliner, fire would scorch our faces. the sound deafening and blinding. if the tip of the kayak wasn’t facing the wind, the kayak threatened to flip. and then the speedboats started coming in succession. most of them, wealthy arrogant people that refused to slow down. some daring to even wave at us as their wakes nearly toppled us over. in narrower places of the river, the waves would come from both sides, which required quick maneuvering. frank called me a pro. “strength & courage” was my mantra through the challenging parts of the day. this mantra was born from my kalilau adventure in hawaii last year. strength & courage is now a permanent room within me. i can summon it at any time.

in lesser chaos, i’d simply repeat ‘i got this!’ and frank would laugh at me. and in the wakes of smaller boats i’d cream ‘aww HAIL no! not today river!’ end result being, me and my camera stayed upright and dry. barefoot, a gallon of water between my legs. camera on my neck, the sun cooking me alive and a sheer determination to get to willow beach downstream. at some points the wind was pushing us backwards and i used all my strength to finish the journey…

at willow beach, i crawled into the van, ate a hot dented peach and fell asleep instantly. frank woke me up just as we drove on top of the hoover dam. we looked down to where we began the day… what an amazing trip…

the days leading up to this adventure were spent reconnecting with performers, old friends & new. i stayed at raven’s place in a gated community and she hosted my shoots in her living room. when she showed me the room i was to sleep in, she softly mentioned the stepladder should i ‘need it’ to get up into the very high bed. never one to let anyone call me the ‘L’ word (cough*LITTLE*uncough) i quickly dismissed the notion… but as soon as she was gone, i practiced my running leaps, opting to grab the sheets to hoist me up.

jenivieve the serpentine sorceress also took liberties to call me the L word. she was one of my favorite shoots in vegas and constantly surprised me, lamenting the decision to leave her snake at home. we took some photos for a metal magazine. faegann was amazing too. she brought over her pet scorpion, a fabulous make-up artist and fire tools. one of her outfits was a patent leather dream, complete with hammer and a nail forced into her nose. fierce, sexy, all things angst… i loved it! within 5 minutes she transformed herself into a fairy, complete with wings and a scorpion climbing all on her hands and arms. i was screaming and stamping my feet wildly as i shot her holding that thing, cooing at it like baby breath. the make-up artist and i exchanged panicked glances. once the scorpion was safely back in his cage with the help of a trusty spoon, i told them stories of my pet tarantula when i was in art school. his name was ‘imagination’. after imagination molted a few times, my housemates called their parents to put a lock on their doors… not just one lock, mind you, 4 locks… ah, nyc 1993 when my hair was black, my friends were dying and i didn’t talk to people too much, a time when i unknowingly built up the adversity that i thrive on today.

many other dancers came to play photo studio with me, most of whom i had worked with before. a few new girls that i instantly connected to… much art, much fun, much arachnid mayhem…

homecoming brought puppy snuggles, brady lovin, a realization of sunburnt shins and corks a-poppin from champagne bottles… i turn 36 years old tomorrow… the 4th of july… time, it is a river… 🙂