Bearteethies

IMG_9677 IMG_9706 IMG_9715 IMG_9740

IMG_9741IMG_9785 IMG_9797 IMG_9816 IMG_9850IMG_9896 IMG_9947 IMG_9950 IMG_9962 IMG_9967IMG_0223IMG_0001 IMG_0218 IMG_0211 IMG_0195 IMG_0129 IMG_0126 IMG_0122 IMG_0104 IMG_0103 IMG_0102 IMG_0097 IMG_0081IMG_0077 IMG_0060 IMG_0058 IMG_0030 IMG_0007IMG_9788

IMG_0229

Beautiful, big backcountry.

Berries.

Great, noble dogs.

The company of an excellent friend (who is also an unofficial botanist so I came away SMARTER…and un-poisoned by berries…).

Starry starry nights.

Berries.

Great alpine fishing.

BERRIES.

Clean water.

Summer sausage cooked on open fires.

Sleeping in the dirt with my boys under a tarp and washing my face in the dawn.

First light — the holy of holies.

Wait, did I mention the berries yet?  The huckleberries, raspberries and thimbleberries were at their HEIGHT and we lallygagged as we walked, eating one berry for every single step we took.  It was decadent.  We had stained fingers and delighted tastebuds.

I’ve never had a summer like this before, one so stuffed with gallivanting and crammed with work.  I’m exhausted, but I am loving every moment of it.

X

Anywhere The Wind Will — A Giveaway

IMG_9443

We went out just as the wind began to rise.  We made our way to the top and rambled, in no clear direction, through the sagebrush; radiant in the dusk and fragrant in the damp cool.  There was no hour of golden gloaming tonight, no heat of a setting sun in tall grass, winking over the edge of the mountains and projecting pink on the cloud bellies in the East.  All was muted, hushed, grey and waiting for the grip of the storm.  I heard the roots of the cheat grass wend deeper underground, gaining a better grip on duff and stone, preparing for siege under the blaring cannons of the rain.

This summer, on numerous occasions, I have been high enough on the mountain to see the top soil of the Snake River Plain rise up in furrows beneath the blades of plough winds.  Tonight I watched the billowing grime swing up into the valley, a brown mist eating into clear air.  I pushed the hair from my eyes, felt the first raindrop on my cheek, turned on my heel, called in the dogs and foot by steady foot I raced the storm home.  The wind grew in might.  I wondered to myself, if this air with all its invisible power could pick me up, where would it take me, where would it finally set me down?

As I walked, I looked up through the strands of blond hair flying at impossible angles about my face, I felt my shirt whipping at my back and arms, watched the sage quiver madly and squinted against the force of the storm.  I saw the wind do its heavy lifting.  I watched it hold aloft the ancient skins of a thousand stones, the grit of the rivers run dry, spruce dust, sage pollen, lost birds, the rain.

What if!  What if it could lift me skyward, toss me heavily heavenward, rumple my hair, tear me in two and two again only to whimsically deposit me here and there across our world?  Where might I end up and would I belong there, fitting into new life and land with patience and grace, ready to work and serve to the same degree as a grain of topsoil that lands quietly at the root of a wildflower?

The rain came on then and I began to run, sheltering my camera beneath my shirt, shouting in surprise at the brute force of the raindrops; the sky broke open and it poured.  I ran like that, all the way down the mountain, all the way home, haphazard and wild, as free and fated as anything carried by the wind and once deposited on the front porch, out of reach from the storm, I realized I could be grain of sand, feather of bird, drop of rain, or pellet of pollen lifted up and set aside by the breeze — I could be any of those things — and like those tiny pieces of life that find their way skyward and then earthward once more, I will always end up exactly where I am meant to be.

IMG_9361

I have the great pleasure of being published in the first volume of Bella Grace this summer.  You can find not one, but two pieces of my writing in this magazine, complete with images.  I’ve been given a copy of the magazine (which is more book-like than magazine-like, to be honest  – truly lovely) to give away here.  If you would like to enter your name in the drawing for it please leave a comment on this post for me.  If you are shy, just say hi!  If you like, tell me about where the winds of life have taken you, how you made the most of it or how you celebrated, how you WISH you might have made the most of it, how it transformed you or how it shifted your life perspectives.  I would love so much to hear from you and wish, to the moon and back, I had one thousand copies of this magazine to give away.

1GRA-1401

This post of mine is part of a blog hop that includes most of the contributors to the first volume of Bella Grace, read what they have to say about life (and the exquisite beauty therein) and besides being inspired, you’ll find many more chances to enter your names in drawings for other copies of Bella Grace.

Thank you all, as always, for being here.

You make my world go round.

X

:::Post Scriptus:::

Please pardon any delays on comment moderation — I’ll be away from my computer for a few days.

GIVEAWAY CLOSURE: September 15

IMG_9354[Zoetic Rings :: sterling silver & American turquoises]

Officially bound for the shop tomorrow!  I cannot give a certain time for this update as I’ll be preparing listings between errand running and appointments but do please pop by when you can and hopefully I’ll have them on the shelves for you.

X

Pow Wow

IMG_9212The Fort Hall indian Reservation has the most beautiful dancing ring I have ever seen — it is covered in a lovely, architecturally sweeping structure, strung with shade cloths and planted with thick, lush grass.  Around the edge of the dancing area sit fifteen to twenty drumming circles that take turns playing through out the day, dance by dance, spelling history into thin air with soaring voices and rawhide strung tight.  I always sit within the circumference of the drum line at this pow wow because I don’t own a lawn chair, for starters, but also because I like to feel it in my chest, you know?  Each drum strike.  My heart electrically stumbles at first and then rearranges itself rhythmically so that my blood keeps tempo with the swirl of sound, texture and color around me.  At times I have to plug my ears, but I can still feel the jolt of the past wearing on my bones, as though it’s me being struck surely and deftly, skin tight and thrumming, two black braids hanging over me and a wide mouth singing the sky down to earth.

 Pow wow is transporting.

IMG_8969 IMG_8986

IMG_9111The best women dancers move with a stoic, controlled face; neither frowning or smiling, mouth and cheeks firm despite the steady movement of feet through green grass.  It is grace, refinement, dignity, and power — the way they move.  Surefooted as any doe, tied up securely with the sweep of fringe and the jangle of jingles.  I can only imagine what it feels like to carry pounds of exquisite hand beading across a pair of narrow shoulders.  Would I stumble?  Would I fall?  Or would I move like the mountain water, too?

IMG_9213 IMG_9221 IMG_9274IMG_9219 IMG_9263 IMG_9271IMG_9215The men dance to the drums dynamically, athletically, with strength and virtue.  I see it in their mouths; a history of place, a ribbon of leadership, an understanding of seasons, the quiet knowing that comes with bones built of wildflowers and bison heart.  Swirling with color, streamers, fringe, feathers; eyes masked in paint, ankles heavy with bells.  They are a true marvel.  I openly stare.

IMG_9251 IMG_8994IMG_9015 IMG_9027These are ancient dances that span generations and time.  There’s a funny mix of old and new, a pairing of neon synthetics and deer hide, the combination of dancing from the heart and dancing to win.  The announcer with the microphone addresses the junior fancy dancers before giving awards and quotes an Iggy Azalea song.  Those in the crowd who know the lyrics sing along a little and laugh.

IMG_9046IMG_9291

There are the questions that continually hang in my mind after a lifetime of living beside or ON reservations in Canada and the USA:

Where has this culture come from and where is it headed?  How does it remain intact and alive under the raw and terrible pressure of the world?  What does the future hold for the newest generation?  Which of them will be scientists, doctors, farmers, lawyers, artists, musicians?  Which of them will spend a decade dealing cards for the blackjack table at the casino down the road?  Which of them will lead AA meetings for friends and family?  Which of them will have the next beautiful little girl who will learn, slowly and seriously, the steps to the fancy dance to carry herself into a sure future that holds hands with a complicated past?

And what is my part in it all, a white girl, a white artist, who at times wishes she had the right to wear a jingle dress with slim wrists wrapped in petit point turquoise while moving with a stoic face across green grass in the heart of summer.

IMG_8562IMG_8543IMG_8905Lately, when I am able to find a moment to spend in the studio, I love the work so much.  I can feel myself pressing into the metal, more than I have in the past year, really bearing down on it with my mind and heart, slowly carving out new work while my thoughts and feelings gently unwind, untangle, surface and fade.

These pieces of metal and stone are bright and easy for the making and the wearing.  Imbued with a zest for life and respect for rhythms.  Let me make a few more and then I’ll gladly offer them up to you.