a loon in the woods


Photo by Christine Chitnis

Thick piles of damp pine needles, clear crisp air, smoke rising from stone chimneys. Chipmunks dart about. Dotted along little tracks riven through the trees are quiet cabins each with a screened in porch and their own wooden jetty branching out over the lake.

Built early last century, these honest cabins have humble rooms with comfortable cotton-covered beds. Cozy fireplaces and antique ice-boxes are re-stocked daily with blocks harvested in winter from the frozen-over lake and kept in the enormous icehouse on the grounds. Sixty different cabins, each with a poetic name; Sheltering Pines, Nirvana, Honeymoon, Ardenwood, Deep End, We Two, Shingle Blessedness and personal favourites Brown Betty and Sugar Bush.

Photo by Christine Chitnis

Always, in the morning and in the evening, plunging breathless into the cool crystal clear lake… …mist rising off  the water haunted by the song of the loon.

(Sorry I should have added an Open Plan Office Warning – it’s a little scary for a small stripey duck)

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Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis

So I am now trying to adjust to cold wet Australian winter after teaching at Squam Art Workshops. Not easy! They are held over a long weekend at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake, New Hampshire, USA. The gathering is celebrating it’s five-year anniversary and has garnered a following of open-hearted creative souls many of whom travel across America twice a year to simply hang out in the woods and knit. The classes include writing, photography, drawing, painting, sewing, knitting and now random weaving! Two hundred people go along and each get to select two classes and extras like yoga and talks by creatives.

For me, although my classes were important to me, it wasn’t making things or the incredible environment that really left the impression – it was the fire-side talks, the adventurous *ahem* moonlight swimming , the friendliness and the laughter. It was a kind of return to childhood.

It was this good.

Photo by Kaitlyn Bouchard
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Phoebe’s Journal                                          Photo by Kaitlyn Bouchard
Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis

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Elizabeth                                  Photo by Christine Chitnis
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Photo by Christine Chitnis


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Photo by Kaitlyn Bouchard

So good it was in fact, that I am planning to return to Squam Lake for the Fall  Taproot Gathering September 11 – 15, 2013 . It’s a collaboration between Squam Art Workshops and the wonderful Taproot Magazine which is all about the ethos we strive to live by down here at Robertson. Classes include such delicious earthy things as home butter churning and natural dying wih lichens. It’s going to be catered with all organic locally sourced food as well?

Hmmm… …yes please universe and thank you very much.


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