|Mokelumne River-Highway 49 access between Jackson and Mokelumne Hill|
The final event yesterday included a dance performance, a group of people singing and playing guitars, and a solo singer with a keyboard. Having arrived at the event, I admit that I was in a funny kind of a mood, not really wanting to be there but feeling obligated (as a participant myself) to attend. As I watched the people perform and pay tribute to the river, I tried to find something (anything) to pull myself out of myself (if that makes sense). Slowly, I began to focus on what was in front of me. I realized that the artists performing for the audience were doing the same thing that I was doing with my own artwork every day. They were asking people to sit up, take notice, and get involved. Art making is nothing if not a back and forth; an interaction between performer and audience. They weren't asking me to approve of the work or to enjoy the style so much as they were asking me to take notice. I came to believe strongly yesterday that it's this appreciation and thankfulness for a person's honest effort that matters the most. And my role was to respond to that by paying attention and by appreciating that effort. It ended up being a very good day.