Among the people here with me, there’s a great well of other talents besides painting. That includes two fitness buffs whose idea of a good time is to climb up a rocky precipice, then follow that up with a brief swim across Frenchman’s Bay so they can bicycle back from Bar Harbor to Schoodic. They came in very handy as Sherpas yesterday as my class did its first-painting shakedown. After that I would occasionally notice them flying around the Park ring road on their bikes.
Also in the class are two EMTs from Newark Valley, NY. I’ve been teaching plein air painting on location for many years. Yesterday was the first time someone has been injured enough to require treatment. How ironic, I mused, that it happened to one of our most fit and intrepid participants. Of course, she was the one scrambling over rocks like a mountain goat. She stepped down into air. More importantly, how wonderfully providential that she did it when we had professionals to help her.
Her injury seemed at first to be tolerable, but by dinnertime she could no longer walk. We’d planned a sunset painting, so I sent the class off with monitor Kari Ganoung Ruiz to Schoodic Point. That way I could fuss and generally get in the way while the pros worked.
The two EMTs were very professional as they gently assessed V’s foot and asked her probing questions. I’d never realized that part of their job includes politely deflecting suggestions from ringside. Yesterday that included a woman who introduced herself as being from California and who offered “pills.”
Back of beyond in a National Park may be beautiful, but it’s also isolated. The closest clinic is in Gouldsboro, ME. Our EMT buddies pointed out that driving willy-nilly to Gouldsboro made no sense unless we knew that they could x-ray V’s foot. By the time I found cellphone reception, they were closed. So the two fitness buffs lifted her to her second-floor apartment and settled her in a recliner with her foot elevated and iced. (I thought they said they were using a “Fireman’s Carry” but it turns out that’s a wrestling move.) They will reassess it this morning. Then Kari will drive her into town for treatment while I look for a Park Ranger to report her injury.
As we trudged home, I pointed out to Kari that it’s unwise to ever teach plein air without a monitor. You never know what’s going to happen. Of course, EMTs and fitness buffs are wonderful, too, but harder to find. I’m up on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, teaching. Interested in next year’s Maine workshop? Email me.