Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My second painting of a buzzard

38 cal. Enfield (British) revolver, aprox. 80 to 90 years old.

The fist and last melon from my garden

It has been a month to the present since we have had rain. 100 degree is the about the norm and wildlife is suffering. Much of it has moved out of the area, to the river I presume. The grass has turned brown and a few of the trees and scrubs have either died or gave up their leaves to survive. Yet for all the devastation, I noticed  this morning near the ground a hollyhock is blooming. I have seen worse, but the drought is fast appraoching critical. Fire danger is not if it will occur but when, and it will spread rapidly even across a near barren field. I keep in mind that each passing day will bring us closer to rain.  I suppose I should try to do a rain dance. The photo of the small melon is the only one from my garden and the vine has perished in the drought. The painting is my second attempt at depicting a buzzard. The photo is of a Enfield revolver. Fifty years ago, in need of money I sold it for fifteen dallors. I ask the present owner of the gun if he would sell it back to me of which he agreed. The old weapon is now once again in my possession. The man who prevously owned it said the gun was stolen once, but he manged to get it back The pistol was dropped in a pound while frog season was open and remained there for several days, but upon recovery of the gun, it was hosed off, laid up to dry and reloaded. Many years ago the Enfield was the first weapon I used to begin my fast draw. It has colorful past and hopefully will remain with me. Adios.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The following is but one of many of stories and articles that will be featured in a book I am working on

I have discovered over the years many life stories hidden in the minds of people in all walks of life, some are remnants of the distant past. Remarkable tales too often may never be fully revealed. Intimate aspects of life that are compelling and unique but sadly fall by the wayside when death occurs to those who posse them. Trust is the key to open the door to these remarkable experiences. I alone was fortunate to have been allowed to share a life experience with a man who did so reluctantly.
I sat quietly on the floor next to Delmae, (fictitious name), an old man of Siouan stock: the face bearing symbols of time, deeply creased, weather worn to the texture of old leather. Gray black hair shadowed the eyes that reflected the single flame rising and bending like an ancient warrior of old in a stone fireplace located next to a wall of the room. The old man sat with bowed head in prayer as I waited next to him and sipped cold coffee from a tin cup.
Delmae and I were not close friends, for between us lay hundreds of year of white man’s deceit, but we shared a personal trust and respect. He said to me not long after I arrived at his home that evening, his dark eyes boring into mine, “The White man’s defeat was Custer last stand, but the Indian paid a terrible price for that victory.”
This bitter statement appeared to open the door to many haunting tales of his upbringing. Delmae unquestionably believed in a savior that would come to replenish the buffalo and this soothed his troubled soul. He openly mourned the destruction of the land, the rivers and his beloved people.
“A time will come when Mother Earth will no longer tolerate all man’s stupidity and deeply cleanses her-self of the brutal rape she has endured. It will begin on the White Mountain.”
The grey dusk lingered in the window of the small room then slowly faded as night crept close and as if on cue many flames rose up in the fireplace, dancing to a rhythm as old as time. The old man lifted from his lap a cassette player and sat it on the floor next to him. The distant bellow of a diesel truck on the highway broke the silence and he frowned deeply.
“Hey, hey,” he called out softly. “I am ready for the journey. I doubt if you can or will follow, say nothing but listen.”
Delmae bent over and pushed a button on the cassette player. I heard nothing for a second or two then I could detect the faint sounds of a drum, beating low, unyielding and it grew stronger, intensifying, demanding attention.
“Look,” Delmae said softly, pointing at the fire, “the sunset and I see a trace that will lead to the mountains and the Great Plains where the grass is as tall as the buffalo. See!”
Captivated by the pulsating sound of the drum beat I leaned forward, tempted to join the hypnotic rhythm, but declined, for I was there only to observe. I was quickly left behind as I listened to the voice of Delmae.  I sensed urgency within the gruffness of the voice, but could not determine whether it held fear or reverent appreciation.
“I am standing at the edge of the plains, for I know them. I have been here many times and beyond lies nothing but desert that should not be there,” Delmae replied with quite, but deep emotion. “There is a wide road that cuts through this unfamiliar land and along it I see the lodges of the White man. As far as I can see there are no Buffalo, no grass only a waste land and I am turning back.”
He sat for several minutes with trembling hands on his lap, staring into the flames that now had had risen very high. He then began swaying to the rhythm of the drums, moaning softly. The shadows around us began swaying also rising erratically at times to the ceiling, embracing the old man. I sat very still waiting, afraid to speak for fear of intruding.
The darkness of night claimed the room and if not for the firelight I would not have been able to see his face. I swallowed the last of the cold bitter coffee and quietly waited for Delmae to return.
 Delmae’s face of stone unexpectedly broke into a smile and he raised a hand in greeting and spoke. “I saw nothing but remnants of the Great Plains where Buffalo graze no more and a haze shrouding the mountains and the many skeletons of past tribes of the people, bleached white. I felt the cold touch of fear, but I looked more closely and saw the White Mountain and knew with out a doubt that Grandfather has not forsaken the tribes.”
He reached out and gently touched the cassette player and the journey ended as the drums fell silent. “Hey, hey,” Delmae whispered and scooted closer to the fire. Reaching down he picked up a glowing ember and scooted back to where I sat. “Hold out your right hand, palm up, no harm will come to you,” he gruffly instructed.
Slowly without hesitation I extended my hand, surprised at how steady it was. The intensity of his eyes held mine as he calmly laid the glowing ember on my open palm. Glowing wickedly the ember remained there for perhaps ten seconds when he picked it up and tossed it into the fire.
“Hey, hey,” he smiled, you are human like me. It is late you should go now.”
Delmae’s journey had lasted an hour. The drum beat was a remarkable hypnotic aspect of the journey and a vehicle by which he traveled and I am certain he was in control. I can only say that of which I witnessed was perhaps a memory of old or the reminiscing of a time worn soul.

A nation is coming, a nation is coming.
The eagle has brought the message to the tribe.
The father says so, the father says so.
Over the whole earth they are coming.
The buffalo are coming, the buffalo are coming.
The Crow has brought the message to the tribe.
The father says so, the father says so.

-Sioux Ghost Dance Song-