Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Part Two: 'Near Death Experience' on the rocks in the Wichita Mountains
Bob, Katherine and Jack climbing the rocks in the Wichita Mountains.
They can be very steep and sometimes slick.
We arranged to interview Katherine Liontas-Warren in the Wichita Mountains which are a great source of inspiration for her magnificent drawings and prints. She is also a very dedicated professor at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma and brought along her friend and former department chair Jack Bryan. They like to go into the mountains and draw together both drawing great inspiration from their environment. Jack is a native Oklahoman with a very different style and interpretation of the same subject matter from Katherine. http://www.katherineliontas.com
This is one of Jack's loose painterly interpretation of the Wichita Mountains. http://www.artistjackbryan.com/
Bob shooting while Jack observes high up on the rocks
One of the vistas from the rocks
After shooting me interviewing Katherine, Bob and Jack took off to find a good spot to shoot us from above. While Katherine and I chatted, unbeknownst to us Bob and Jack were climbing some very steep rocks. Bob was carrying his camera and they were jumping from rock to rock to find a good viewpoint above us. They did a second steep jump between two rocks and because Bob had the camera and the jump was wide he began to lose his footing and was finally able to break his fall by using his camera (the only alternative) which broke off the plastic cover for the record light. Then the challenge was how to get back after they realized that the mission to get above us was too dangerous. Jack went a different way back and Bob used his hands in what he called a 'spider grip' to find his way back. Meanwhile they were each worrying about each other and returned very shaken. The broken part of the camera will figure in a future story. Ironically Katherine and I were unaware of the danger they were in.
This reminds me of long ago when Bob and I lived on a beautiful farm in western Pennsylvania with a steep hill behind the farm as we lived in the valley. I was in my huge organic garden trying to weed whack the grass paths between my beds. I find weed whackers, infernal combustion machines, and creators of great frustration. As it was not working I was throwing it around the garden in frustration uttering a string of curse words which Bob could hear as he was up on the hill trying to mow our brush with our tractor and brush hog. The tractor began to slip down the hill. Tractors by the way are the source of many deaths. He could have died up there crushed by the tractor which was starting to tip were he not caught by a multiflora rose bush which held the tractor and gave him time to jump off. Multiflora which is an invasive plant is the bane of farmer's existence but in this case it was a life saver. We had to get a truck tow to get the tractor our which cost about $500 but the most important part is that Bob was okay. How bizarre that I was caught up in my frustration with the weed whacker below and while Bob watched his life slip before him he could hear my cursing from below. Irony......