Here we are in Lynn, Massachusetts, getting ready to go to Rockport for our first day of Betty Lou's workshop. Lisa and I have been planning this trip ever since the middle of the winter. I wondered if it would really happen, since I have been so loathe to leave the dogs that I haven't been on a trip for more than seven years. Jesse and Sabrina agreed to babysit for them, and I made the plunge, albeit with considerable trepidation. Saturday we loaded Lisa's van and set out on our adventure. After eight increasingly traffic-infested hours of driving, we arrived at Lorraine's apartment to a warm welcome and dinner at the Tides restaurant in Nahant.
Yesterday Lorraine took us to the Peabody Essex Museum to see a show of paintings of summer in New England, and then in the evening we drove to Rockport for a get-together of the students that will be in the class. The entire experience has been full of nostalgia for me, with everything looking and feeling so much the same as it used to that it is as if all the years in between has never happened. Betty Lou has gray hair now, and has put on weight, but she has that same dreamy look and those same inspiring words. Her beautiful paintings hang around the romm as they always did, though the images are different now, challenging us all to try to measure up to them. Rockport is wonderful as ever with its expensive houses and rose-covered fences. The ocean stretches out to the horizon here, unlike Eastport, and is dotted with sailboats, lined with sandy beaches. Outcroppings of rocks are gentle and accessible, providing places where one can walk down to the water and throw a ball for the dog beneath a pink-streaked sky. Above them, manicured lawns and park benches perch above the scene and iron fences atop cement walls protect anyone from falling. Seaweed doesn't dare grow here. There are no lobster traps or buoys. It is the ocean prettied up by the human race, not what we are used to, and we are in awe.
Now we are ready to go back with our easels and paints and paper. We will see what we can do.