In the fall of 2015, I spent two months on a mountain in Washington, at Pilchuck Glass School. I was told it was remote, but I hadn’t fully understood the meaning of it until I arrived at the Tree Farm. Deers grazing just outside my cottage, whistling loudly when walking in the woods so the bears would hear you coming. Every morning I climbed down to the workshop, and every night I climbed back up again. We were few, and it’s a big campus. I spent a lot of time alone with my work and my thoughts.
I’ve never been particularly inspired by nature, but here it was inevitable; the lakes and mountains slipped into my work unnoticed. One night we were driving back from Seattle, and a mountain towered in the distance. Mount Rainier. The top was covered in fog. It was a volcano.
The Big Rock Candy Mountain
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains /There's a land that's fair and bright/ Where the handouts grow on bushes /And you sleep out ev'ry night /Where the boxcars are all empty /And the sun shines ev'ry day /Oh, I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow /Where the rain don't fall and the wind don't blow/ In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
/Oh, the buzzin' of the bees in the peppermint trees /'Round the soda water fountains /Where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings /In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
/In the Big Rock Candy Mountains /You never change your socks /And little streams of lemonade /Come a-tricklin' down the rocks /The hobos there are friendly /And their fires all burn bright /There's a lake of stew and soda, too You can paddle all around 'em in a big canoe /In the Big Rock Candy Mountains