Sunday, April 29, 2007

Many Fire's Quiet Strength

I decided that today I would get out an old painting, and tell you its story. You saw earlier the drawing of my husband Big Foot, the Mountain Man.

The title of this painting is, "Quiet Strength," which speaks of the man as well as the lodge.

It is time to let the lodge work its magic. It has been a long winter this year, and it's time for my husband and his fraternity of brothers to get away for a few days. Several years ago they found a place near Chadron, Nebraska, that, for them, has great healing powers. They stop to visit The Museum of the Fur Trade and then find a site to set up camp.

The lodge goes up in about thirty minutes. There are fifteen, twenty-four foot poles that serve as its frame. First a tripod is raised and anchored, then four poles are placed in each of the three partitions. One of the back four is used as a lifting pole for the cover, and there is an anchor peg every two feet of the circumference. The dimension inside the lodge is twenty-one feet from front to back and eighteen feet from side to side. There is a lining inside that ties to the poles. The lining is from four to six feet high, and the bottom drags the ground. By placing your bedding, boxes, or some rocks on the skirt you seal the lodge from drafts on the floor. The space between the outer cover and the liner creates a flu for the fire so the smoke is drawn up and out through the smoke flaps.

My husband sets the lodge up without many modern conveniences. It works best this way. The last to be set in place is Many Fires, the buffalo skull "alter" piece where the friendship pipe is kept. There is a lot of peace derived from Many Fire's quiet strength.

When it's late at night and the fire is flickering away to embers there is a warm glow in the lodge. As you look up, the stars shining through the smoke flaps, your eyes are slowly drawn back down the poles. The poles encircle you like a protective hand. Falling to sleep without a care, complete with a feeling of being safely tucked in, is illusive for most adults today. But not when you surrender yourself to the lodge.

Big Foot and his friends will come home shed of the stress of their everyday responsibilities. They will be able to draw on the peace until next year when the promise of spring calls them back.

My husband is gone now and the memories are as strong as if he were here. Then one day I got to playing with the two pictures. The drawing I made of him, and the painting of Many Fires. When I superimposed the black and white drawing on the painting, it looked like he was a part of the fire's smoke, still here yet spiriting away. I will someday put the two together in a print at least in an edition large enough for me and our kids. Then, who knows ...

All art, poetry and writings are copyright & cannot be reproduced in any form without written permission from Judith Angell Meyer

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Do Not Blink...

Do not blink...

A fast and sad tale
by Judith Angell Meyer

How do I pen a cliche’
so it isn’t the cliche’,
but the reality.

My skin has soft little wrinkles
that look like ripples on water.
Yesterday it didn’t.

When did I start needing naps,
that have now become mini comas.
Yesterday I was working until I got my second wind.

The mirror seems to feel the need to taunt me
with an image of someone I do not know.
Yesterday the image was 18.

When I forget and sit too long,
it takes the length of the room to work out the stiffness and pain.
Yesterday, I didn’t have time to sit.

I won’t think about this today
I’ll do it tomorrow
But, tomorrow was yesterday, and the year is gone.

I must have blinked while laughing in the face of spring,
a brief summer warmth on my eye lids as they go down,
and as they started up again, fall is turning to winter.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hans' Birthday

This is my husband Hans' birthday month, and I decided that I needed to get this portrait out again. He would have been 67 this year. I did the portrait on one of the years that we couldn't afford to buy Christmas presents for each other, saving what we had for the kids.

We were Mountain Man enthusiasts and enjoyed going to rendezvous with our friends. We would set up our lodge and enjoy a week or a weekend pretending that there was no rush hour anywhere, that the kids weren't tempted by drugs, that there weren't any bills to pay nor a hundred things pulling us this way and that each and every day.

Hans was a professional baker, and he could make an apple pie in a dutch oven over the coals that was to die for. And his biscuits! But when it came to getting the meat for dinner, he relied on my eye looking down the barrel of my .45 caliber green river black powder rifle.

I enjoy catching a person's special look in a portrait like this one done with a pencil. This one is an 8x10, but I enjoy going on to a full portrait in watercolor too. One of these days I'll have to compliment this one with a watercolor portrait.

Have a good day all. Thanks for stopping by.

All art, poetry and writings are copyright & cannot be reproduced in any form without written permission from Judith Angell Meyer

Finally an entry!

I cannot begin to tell you how much trouble it was to use and write in my blog today. I had to change settings in my computer just to be allowed to sign onto a site I have used for quite a while now with no trouble at all. I have to tell you, if this continues, I'll have to go back to Live Journal permanently. So ...
We have had some wonderful rain the last couple of days. This is most welcome on this desert prairie. But today dawned sunshiny and warm. Got to 55 degrees even. When I went out I discovered that the lilacs are only a day or two away from blooming, and the apple tree has begun to bud out. This just all means that it is going to hail within the next few days. It has been three years in a row now that one thing or another took my lilacs away from me. But they have a much better start now than they have had in all those years. Cross your fingers for me.
My Gizmo has something ... don't know what he got into, but he has suffered with the dine-a-rena's all day which results in a bottom bath after each trip to the tall weeds. He threw up this morning too. I'm sure this will be better tomorrow, but in the meantime ...
I'd best get to my work. Have a website to try to finish soon, and several illustrations to get back to. Should not have wasted the time here, but hey, it WAS time to say hello!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

April 13, 2007 -- Known as Friday the 13th

There will be no pictures with this story, it will be brief, and it started the 12th.

Friday the 13th I was scheduled for a colonoscopy. Three years ago I had a couple of very small polyps. I didn't schedule a further check then because I didn't have the insurance, nor the funds. So finally I could have it done. But the day before I could only have liquids, excluding anything with pulp, milk, or coffee with milk. Also was not to drink anything that was red or purple. (Don't ask, I don't know.) But at 4:00 p.m. I also had to take this Fleet phosphate stuff. 1.5 oz of it in 4 oz of water. Luckily the pharmacist suggested it was okay to put it into a lemonade ... anyway I got it down. It was a struggle, but I did. (I absolutely cannot do oral/liquid medicines.) Now the action was supposed to start between 30 minutes and 3 hours but it didn't. Finally at the 6 hour mark things got to going through. But of course I was up way late. I spent the time reading and cleaning the toilet in between the cannon shots. (A seriously gross event.)

Now this is Friday, and I had to repeat this grossness at 5:00 in the a.m.. Actually was supposed to be 3 hours before seeing the Dr., but gave it four considering how long it took to start the night before. And it took even longer as this time I had to stop and gag over every little swallow. I was barely through when my ride showed up, and time to go.

The Dr. gave me a sedative so that I would hopefully take a nap while he was working, but while I think I must have dozed off for a while, I was awake to watch the progress of the final two polyps he snipped off.

They called my ride, and I was home again. My ride wanted to escort me back into the house, but I felt quite awake, and off he went. It was about 11:30 a.m. so the first thing I did was make me some oatmeal with blueberries, and then lay down for a nap. I didn't wake up until 4:00 p.m.. Nice nap! But 4:00 is when I feed the horses, so out I went.

Now I still think it was just an accidental slip of my foot, and was not because of the earlier sedative, but I stepped to the gate to reach the grain to Sassy, and my foot slipped down and rolled over on itself. If I hadn't fallen, I would have ended up standing on the top of my foot. But I did fall, and I am starting some really spectacular bruises on my left calf, hip, and shoulder. I don't really feel anything on my head. Must just be too hard. I hit the gate with my calf, the cement floor with my hip, and the barn door frame with my shoulder. I have to admit, I just laid there for a while, with Sassy snorting at me because I spilled her grain, and the most of it was on my side of the gate.

The shoes I had on were my regular Ropers slip ons, but over time they have stretched out of shape, and are loose, and to add to the problem, I had thin and slippery socks on. But I have taken care of that. Today, wearing the same comfy shoes, I have on a pair of hospital sock/slippers with the rubber tread on the bottom. My shoes do not slip at all now!!

My Little Easter Story - April 8, 2007

Like I said, Saturday was bitter cold. And when I was out helping some of my guests to their cars, I noticed that my three tulip buds, just about to be in bloom were laying flat to the ground and they had translucent spots on the buds and leaves that meant that they were freezing, if not frozen. I was broken hearted then decided that the least I could do is bring them into the house where it was warm. So cut them and brought them into the kitchen. I had been watching for them to open, and while two of them were ready, I hadn't held out much hope for the third one as it was still pretty tight.

I put them in one vase, but the tulips just hung their cold heads and stalks down all the way to the table. So I found a taller vase to give them some support. I poured some temped water into the vase, and that was that. Later, on my way to bed, I moved them from the counter top and put them on the table.

Well, you know me ... or maybe you don't ... and going to bed usually means that I first take Gizmo out to water the bushes. Then as I go through the house locking up and shutting everything down, I always find something else that needs to be done. Mostly checking the email one last time for the day, and of course there is always something on the computer to side-track me. The result, of course, bed time gets pretty late.

Sunday morning, in the process of starting the routine again, but in reverse, I could hardly believe my eyes when I stepped into the kitchen for my first cup of coffee. The two tulips were actually upright in the vase. Not only struggling to get upright, but they were opening their blossoms up. They were lovely, and such a wonderful Easter Morning surprise. So of course I had to take a picture of them.

Later when I was putting the photos into the computer to take a look, I saw that the cabinet behind the flowers formed a cross where the four doors came together.

What a wonderful way to remember Easter. My own little resurrection to remind me of the day so many years ago when Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven.

Since Easter the blossoms not only have continued to grow, but the tight little bud, for which I had no hope for it to open, opened and is the reddest color. It has a scar on its side where it was frozen.

I guess there is always a miracle somewhere in front of us, if we only open our hearts to see it.

April 7, 2007 - Poetry Club Day

Today was Poetry Club. I have been nervous about this day because it was the first time I hosted the group in my own home. It is customary for some of us to reserve the meeting room at the public library. Mostly because some of us don't have the room for a group of (usually 12), and others don't want to do the work, which is understandable. No cleaning involved in using the library. I pretty much have the room, and had gotten to the point where I hated to carry all the stuff to the meeting place, so decided to give it a try.

Now lets jump back a day to Friday which I had set aside to plan goodies, and clean. Well, my son-in-law and my grand kids were up from New Mexico for his father's retirement party on the 7th, so they had this Friday to spend some time with me. Which is great. I don't get to see my grands very often, and my son-in-law was fairly recently back from Afghanistan, and I enjoy conversation with him. Well, they showed up Friday at 10 a.m. I had, had a 1 p.m. appointment, so they all went to lunch while I took care of that, then they were back a little after 2 p.m. and stayed until 10 p.m. No complaints here at all ... but now I have to start my cleaning. Finally quit at 3 a.m. Saturday morning. Got back up at 8 to finish what I had started, but then I needed to go to a dedication of a bench, created for a good friend who had passed away. It was placed in the Memorial Garden at the AIMS community college where he worked for over 30 years.

It was seriously bitter cold and the wind was blowing to beat the band. Gratefully then, the dedication was short and sweet and I was back home in time for all the finishing touches. There were only 9 at the meeting, and it all went very well. I'll probably continue to host at my home.

As the group was leaving, I noticed that the flowers that were trying to bloom, were laying on the ground frozen. That brings me to Sunday, and my little Easter Story.