Monday, January 28, 2013

The Hemingway House Preserve In Fall

By Caroline Clawson, Philanthropy Assistant

Ernest Hemingway wrote a eulogy for a Sun Valley friend, Gene Van Guilder, who died in a tragic bird hunting accident on an autumn day in 1939.  It reads in part:

“Best of all he loved the fall … the fall with the tawny and grey, the leaves yellow on the cottonwoods, leaves floating on the trout streams and above the hills the high blue windless skies. He loved to shoot, he loved to ride and he loved to fish.”

For three days this past October I spent time at the Hemingway House in Ketchum with artist Matthew Barney and his crew of a videographer, a producer, a tech and an actor.  I arrived early, before sunrise on the second morning to open the shades and meet the crew while Matthew and his photographer filmed the sun coming up over the hills across the river from the house on a ridge far away in the trails around the White Clouds above Sun Valley Resort.  I stood on the front lawn above the river bed and I also watched the sun come up.  While I sipped my coffee and waited in the chill, the grass, covered in a layer of thick frost, began to thaw as the sun settled over it.

Later in the day the filming continued in the bedroom upstairs; shots of Hemingway’s trunk brought back with him on his last voyage from Cuba, and video of his boots, and the view from the window.  While the crew worked, I was looking through the picture window down at the river bank, at the trees on the flood plain.  For a long while I watched a moose cow and calf moving through the woods.

During the three day filming I was able to see the Preserve in every possible light and it reminded me of the quote above.  There is something indescribable about how beautiful the light is, and the reflections on the water, something that we enjoy every fall all around Idaho. 

Mary Hemingway bequeathed the property to The Nature Conservancy after becoming familiar with the organization’s work at nearby Silver Creek Preserve, which Jack Hemingway helped create.  Today, thanks to Mary Hemingway’s bequest, The Nature Conservancy protects 12 acres of Big Wood River frontage just 2 miles north of Ketchum.   

Photos ©Caroline Clawson/The Nature Conservancy

1 comment:

Carla Hoffman said...

Your words took me to the place you so beautifully described. There is some peace on earth.