I keep journals during all my residencies, which helps me process the total immersion of living in the national parks for several weeks, and on rereading, brings me right back to the experience. They are usually hand written, which is why I haven't finished transcribing them all, but will someday, maybe in a small book as well. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them!


My little adobe house in the Petrified Forest already feels like home. It is so solid and quiet, and I have the AIR drill down pretty good so it all seems very familiar. The house contains small kitchen with a motley collection of pots and pans, half a dozen assorted glasses, plates, and random silverware. Salt, pepper and a welcomed bottle of olive oil. There's a small bathroom and a common room containing a bed, naugahyde chair and couch, student grade desk and a nice big folding table, the only concession to possible artwork creation. [MORE]


Seeing the polar bear trapped behind glass in the airport wasn't what me realize I was really in Alaska—after all, we had live ones in our Providence zoo. It was waking up on a gray morning, looking out the big picture window of my room in City Garden B&B and seeing very familiar looking seagulls wandering aimlessly in the park opposite, then realizing that they were Alaskan seagulls. [MORE]


I left Parker, CO and my cousins house on May 19 an hour later than planned, but I knew I would. But by 8 am I was headed south on 285 on my way to Mesa Verde. The views were incredible on the drive though the Rockies foothills, then across flat farmland and irrigation circles like those I had seen from the plane. Another winding climb through the San Juan Mountains and I then headed west. Finally the massive rock formation of Park Point came into view and I knew I was close to the entrance of Mesa Verde.[MORE]


The airport in Duluth isn't big, so I can hardly miss the park ranger waiting for my arrival. Especially as he is holding a sign which reads: Kathy Hodge Kathy Hodge. In case I miss it the first time I guess. Like many of the other rangers of The Apostle Island Lakeshore, Gene is a retired volunteer. I'm also a volunteer of sorts, the Lakshore’s Artist-in-Residence. I'll live for two weeks on nearly-deserted Sand Island, 3 miles out in Lake Superior. My home will be a small cabin without electricity or running water and only a shortwave radio to communicate with the mainland. Heaven. [MORE...]


John and I have made a meal of soup and bread, just before the sun slips below the dunes and the shack fills with darkness. Now we make the shack cozy with three kerosene lanterns and candles set upright in clamshells. I feel the closeness of the ocean although its sound is muffled by a cliff of sand that drops 20 feet from the plateau of dunegrass that is my front yard. Crickets raise sound from the deep sand and disperse it in a vibration that hovers over the grass. Only our own reflections are visible in the windows, except for small white lights that mark the horizon and the night journeys of boats.[MORE]