After awhile, we became friends; Bend has a small and tight community, and potlucks abounded, which fostered many of the strongest friendships in my adult life. I always felt a little bit like she was beyond me, like I'd never be able to keep pace with her mind or excitement. But we spent plenty of days together, including many sunny Bend summer days in parks, Burning Man (along with 30-some close- and soon-to-be friends), and some trips to things like tea parties in Portland:
|Wings, sure. It was for a "Fantastic" tea party in Portland, at our friend, Romana's house, so...why not?|
When I had my very first art show, a display of my printed black and white portraits of the Bend community, it happened to be in the very same place that I'd met her, where she'd had her own art show a year or two prior. At the event, I set up some cheap lights and encouraged everybody to ride their bikes to the event. At least 60 people must have shown up to my "Bikeluck", and I tried to get a shot of every one.
I was thrilled and honored to have Briana show up; sometimes, even after becoming close to a person, you hold them in such high regard that they remain larger than life. To me, at that time, she represented things much bigger than myself...the artist, the tense joy of life, the hub of community, the person for whom everybody swooned. To see her there, in support of little old me, to hear her compliment my work...it made me feel like I'd graduated from some apprenticeship that I hadn't signed up for.
We watched the 4th of July fireworks one summer from the top of the same bakery in which we'd both had art shows. We couldn't actually see Pilot Butte, where they were being lit, but just watched the sky turn colors from behind the next-door building. We frolicked in Drake Park, the giant central green space in Bend, where everyone ran into everyone. She inspired poetry and photography.
She is now living outside of Portland, with a new venture, into which she has gone head-on. She's a goat shepherdess (is that a word?), and, despite being busy every single day with managing dozens of goats and using them to mow landscapes, she still finds time to dress up, to have fun, and to smile. I hope to get out and take some updated photos of her and Goat Power!