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Sandy Watiff Off-Season
Part 1
  The Challenge
  The Charge
  The Child
  The Call

Part 2
  Road Tripping
  Adventure Underway
  Roadside Nap
  Bladder Control

Part 3
  The Landing
Part 4
  The Acclimation

Part 5
  The Overseer
  Interior Design

Part 6
  Waffle Breakfast Bickering
  Trees: the Forrest and the Woods
Part 7
  [f]Au[x] Natural
  Facing the Challenge
  Watiff Scenarios

Travel Portrait 13
Sandy Watiff Off-Season: Part 1
June 16, 2008

I. The Challenge

"To answer your question," cawed the docent, "you will have to visit the Sandy Watiff Gallery and Study Center at the Farandole Tidewater Art Museum in Ridgebrooke, Maine. That is, of course, if you really want to know."

The docent of the Pennsylvania Institute of Arcadian Contemporary Art paused to give me a look as to where I should really go.

"Moving right along," she controlled the crowd. "Over here, we have a real piece of work...."

"The birdie is putting me to the challenge, is she," I introspected while following the tour leader. "As if she doesn't already know the magic behind the painting's realistic qualities."

"My eye," I harrumphed paraphrasticly.


II. The Charge

"Listen people, before we begin the staff meeting," implored one of my bosses, "let me just remind you that we are several months away from the end of the fiscal year. So if you have a significant amount of accrued vacation time, make plans and submit your request(s) to your supervisor as soon as possible so we may make adjustments to the office schedule," he said peevishly. "And furthermore, if you do not use your vacation time, you know what? No sandy beaches! Understood? Now, first agenda item…."

"He always starts the meeting with some kind of ultimatum. Control your temper and do as you are told!"

I refrained from speaking while the conference room dinned from my colleagues' murmurs and nervous chuckles.


III. The Child


"Yes, son."

"I want to stay in a house by a lake--and I want to visit a forest, daddy."

"You do??? Is that why you keep running through the shrubbery around the duck pond when we are at the zoo?"

"Y-yeah. And I like the rocks and the sand, too, daddy."

Well then, we will have to wait and see what, if anything I can conjure to meet your request. Okay son?"

"Okay, daddy."


IV. The Call

Confounded by the cryptic Sandy Watiff name-dropping, I decided I should find my way to Ridgebrooke, Maine and the Farandole Tidewater Art Museum. I contacted the Sandy Watiff curator at the Farandole Tidewater to find out more about the artist's haunts, the figments a tourist could muse without going to the museum necessarily. I wanted the artist's itinerary (aesthetic-lore).

"Uh-huh. Yes. Uh-huh. Well, yeah, but… I see. Five-mile radius. Oh really? Only what he knows, which is how much? Well, the docent tells me that… Look, I have the vacation time. I'm driving, no problem there. But, you are open during the off-season, yes? I'm making plans anyhow. I'll make my own itinerary. Yes, I'll let you know once I've booked my lodgings. And, by the way, if you come up with any information, you can call me. My number is…"

An insightful conversation indeed. With little more than the Farandole Tidewater's street and website addresses, I decided to return the Pennsylvania Institute of Arcadian Contemporary Art to purchase Sandy Watiff's retrospective catalogue so to hopefully garner some clues: to gain a sense of Maine (the region) [space], to take a look at Ridgebrooke (the location) [place], and to conceptualize a feel for lake/forest (the imagination) [craze].

Later that evening, I went online to view the terrain of the region, zoomed in to get a satellite view of the location. I jotted down some notes, and then did a text search based upon the [space/place] keywords, hoping to find the cottage I imagined [crazed]. From the result set, I bookmarked those web pages that provided interior as well as exterior pictures of the rental property. Once I had a sufficient list, I started to make phone calls to check on the cottage's availability and proprietor's personality.

"Nope, nah. We had a tricky winter this year--somewhat extended. So what you'll experience will be off-season-like weather-and with the black flies--May and June are really unpredictable, not particularly majestic. Call someplace else. Good luck."

I in no way ever have experienced such more caring and sincere stay-out hospitality--with exception to the curator. Hmm. Never mind, inclement or not, forewarning heeded, I continued down the list and made more detailed inquiries regarding weather conditions and black flies.

I found a cottage that was by a bay and in a semi-wooded area. I spoke with the owner, and she quelled my concerns, but did acknowledge the potential for inclemency. She was neither disconcerting, nor disheartening, just mater-of-fact. She confirmed the terms of agreement as outlined on the website, stated the cottage's availability, when the initial deposit and final payment were due--and the refund policy.

The next day, I placed a request for vacation time. Once confirmed, I reserved the cottage and mailed in my deposit check. I voicemailed the Farandole Tidewater curator to provide her with the date range of my visit. That evening I informed my son as to our plans--and we set our expectations with heightened anticipation.


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Copyright © 2008 by Edward K. Brown II, All Rights Reserved