I live in a dry, cloudless place (Oakland) but I come from a swamp (DC). People usually laugh like I’m joking when I say I miss the weather where I’m from, I miss the humidity. I’m not joking though. In the summer, when you step into the street, the air holds you. When you walk around it’s like your hot skin is made of the same stuff as what you’re walking through and you’re just flowing down the sidewalk. It doesn’t matter if you’re sweaty or dirty or smelly or wearing barely any clothes, because it’s hot as fuck and everyone else is hot too. Sometimes it’s so hot (well, and polluted) that the bus is free to ride. Then you can just ride the bus everywhere. Lots of people don’t like riding the bus, either, but I do, too.
When you live in a place with precipitation, you might not even notice it, but you’re surrounded by life. My time at Penland was bookended by brief visits to DC, which already seemed like a verdant steam sauna compared to my current arid digs. By the time I was in the mountains of NC, I felt like my brain was experiencing therapeutic benefits of seeing more green, my pupils always a little bigger. Everything is moist and growing at Penland. The amount of life burgeoning everywhere made the air feel supercharged with generative energy.
Seriously, one year in California couldn’t manage to turn me into a person who talks about nature and vibes, but two weeks on art mountain totally did. Over the next few days I’ll be posting more photos and reflections on my time there. (Click pictures for descriptions.)