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Down the rabbit hole

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I’m feeling a bit like the White Rabbit these days. You know—the one from Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

By unifying the color palette for all of the peace doves popping up across Sullivan County, the ‘60s-themed project is a cohesive collection that showcases the individual artists’ talents, and that residents and visitors will enjoy for years to come.

The bespectacled hare appears at the beginning of the book, muttering “Oh, dear, oh dear! I shall be too late,” ignoring Alice, who proceeds to follow him down the rabbit hole, where everything is topsy-turvy. “Alice” was one of the first books that my mother read aloud to 5-year-old me, hoping, I’m sure, to impart some valuable life lessons in the process. “It’s just good manners,” my mother intoned. “And if you’re always late, you might miss something. Aside from that,” she’d say, waving a lacquered nail in my general direction, “it’s rude.”

With the onset of summer fast approaching, my schedule is already overflowing, and I have to be even more diligent about not making promises that I can’t keep. “Absolutely!” I said to Tannis Kowalchuk, when she asked if I would be attending last Sunday’s opening ceremony for the newly formed Farm Arts Collective, located at the Willow Wisp Organic Farm in Damascus, PA, and where Kowalchuk and husband Greg Swartz would be hosting the event (see page 2). “I wouldn’t miss it.” In addition to a ceremonial blessing led by Chief Gentlemoon, leader of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, Kowalchuk promised a farm tour with Swartz, a stilt theatre performance, face painting, a drum circle and pie. “Ooh, pie,” I cooed to the dog, and quickly jotted down the time and day on a slip of paper. Not wanting to be late for a photo-op in Monticello, NY, I made a mental note (uh oh) to transcribe the info to my office wall calendar and rushed out the door.

In quick succession, I photographed three more of the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association’s “peace doves,” first at the Kartrite Resort and Indoor Waterpark in Monticello, then the Resorts World Catskills Casino down the road, eventually landing at the Forestburgh Playhouse and its unveiling. “Our goal,” artist Keith Phillips said to the crowd of his musically themed dove, “was to literally bring it back to the garden,” referring to the lyrics of Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock,” and the beautiful gardens at the playhouse, set to open its doors on June 11.

All in all, there are 50 doves at last count, and while based on a common theme, each is (IMHO) distinctly unique and beautiful. They all share a brightly hued color palette reminiscent of wonderland, inspired by ‘60s pop-art. The more doves I come across in my travels, the cooler I think they are. Visit our Facebook page to view our Dove Trail photos, where you can keep track and even contribute your pics to the mix.

Having forgotten (uh oh) to adjust my calendar to include Tannis and the Farm Arts Collective, I blithely made my way to Kauneonga Lake, NY and a sneak peek at the new Bethel Council of the Arts (BCA) exhibit, titled “Passion X 3,” featuring digital art created by Susan Baus, David Barnett’s oil paintings and Caroline Harrow’s watercolors. I perused the gallery, oblivious of the fact that I was scheduled elsewhere and casually made my way home.

Once inside, I noticed a scrap of paper on the floor (uh huh) and my promise to Tannis reared its head. Gasping at my gaffe, I quickly sent her an apologetic email and begged forgiveness, assuring her (uh oh) that I would show up on time, for the next event. “No worries,” she said, soothing my jangled nerves. “This year we will bring professionals and self-taught experts to share their knowledge on organic farming, cooking, theatre, singing, plant medicine and environmental protection. We want to raise awareness” she said “and celebrate cultural identity, to define us as a rich and diverse community.”

I have no doubt that Kowalchuk and co. will deliver all that and much more in the coming months. I can only hope to redeem myself as the season unfolds. Hopefully, I won’t make the same mistake twice, focusing instead on being prompt, attention to detail and not plunging down any rabbit holes while careening through the Catskills in search of new adventures. If you see me checking my pocket watch and muttering, feel free to steer me in the right direction. Wouldn’t want to be late.

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