Artist Cabin Residents


During our hike down the west side of Polychrome Pass rain began again in earnest, waterproof gear kept us sort of dry but the wind driven horizontal spray found ways to creep inside, wet eyeglasses limited vision and shooting photographs became unrealistic. We waved down a green bus and sloppily found a seat dripping water on passengers in isle seats.

Once again back at Murie cabin sitting in the shelter of the porch roof we watched the daily activity of local residents. Several ground squirrels created an extensive network of holes and tunnels leading directly under the wooden porch. Scurrying back and forth in perpetual motion they were working to build a winter nest. Magpies inhabited the porch eaves, sounds of their scratching and pecking on the cabin roof continued through the day into the night. An occasional small rat or vole would dart across the path and Snowshoe Hares hopped in and out of the leafless brush without an obvious purpose quickly fleeing to hide when we approached. The place was alive with life and we sat quietly and watched while the rains continued.

Later in the evening reading the cabin journals and stash of dusty books in the dim glow of a propane mantle the noises of rain, Magpies, squirrels, and other creatures that inhabited the yard all blended together into the soothing sound of life. The living, breathing heart and spirit of this historic place. I went to sleep thinking of tomorrow and the possibility of finding subject matter for paintings, knowing that it all depended on the light. The elusive, fleeting light diffused so far by smoke and rain. Maybe tomorrow will bring sunlight…….

Gail Niebrugge, Denali Artist-in-Residence

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