Saturday, April 10, 2004

Paisley Rekdal - Salt Lake City, UT

I don't know what was more frightening, the rapid fire barking of Hana, one of Paisley Rekdal's beautiful (large) dogs, or the size and chocolate content of the enormous pastry I was served. Both items took much of my
concentration during my visit to Rekdal's spectacular and sunny home on a hillside overlooking Salt Lake City.

But I'm exaggerating. I'm given to hyperbole. Hana settled down, and I ate almost half of the pastry. I was unable to lift the other half, such a chocolate-foggy-stupor I was in after a few bites. (I'm just joking about all of this. I love when there's food...not just on this trip, but anytime
I'm anywhere. Serve it up. Bring it with you. Leave it in a sack for me to find.)

But in between all of that, Rekdal and I spent part of a sunny spring morning in her front room. She sat on a giant sofa and I was across the room in a large chair. The dogs took turns coming in for love or pastry, and I drank hot peppermint tea out of a heavy ceramic mug.

I was turned on to Rekdal several months ago by a colleague of hers, and I've fallen for her work. She loves the west, the inhospitable quality of it that she discovered years ago when she first moved to Wyoming. Now in Salt Lake City - still a small, somewhat hidden, and awfully misunderstood place to many big city folks - she finds just enough of a mix of things - good restaurants, the towering mountains.

She tells me about the house, about 100 years old, two stories with an attic. She's only been here six months but she's already had to deal with 60 pounds of peaches off the trees in the front yard. (There's a LOT of peach jam in the building; that's all I'm saying.) She's painted the
interior already, making it hers. She has her space for working, a private area which she dedicates to writing and nothing else (taxes are done in another room). She's started a garden. She's been here less than a year, but the place she's made is homey and comfortable.

After we talk, we shoot some photos inside. Then we take the dogs out front - where some new flowers are bulging out, purples and yellows. After Shumai eats a little dewy grass, I get a few photos of all of them on the steps. And then I go.