CREATIVITY is the soul reflected

Master Painter

Master Painter
Prairie Sunrise by Charlie Clark

Saturday, March 15, 2008

More Pets and Prairie

Right now I am so tired I can barely move my fingers. But it's a very good exhaustion, for a change. It's been a stressful week, and I needed a long walk on the prairie to cleanse my mind and drain the tension from my body.

It was a good time to do this. When I started out, there was barely a breeze, the sun had just gone behind the mounting clouds, the sky was gray and the hills beige. Not much for distraction. No birds even singing. No cows in sight or hearing. Grass not stirring. The only sound in existence seemed to be the quiet crunch of rocks beneath my boots. In fact, each time I stopped, just to listen, I heard nothing.

A blank canvas. One on which to ponder. Or not. Sometimes it's good just to BE. That's enough.

By the time I had walked to the second high pole gate, the farthest I've made it since last summer, and was halfway back, I was beginning to be more aware of my surroundings. The little bluestem grass tufts had become russet in color against the backdrop of charcoal blue sky. A bird flew above me. I saw big paw prints in the mud along the side of the road: a coyote, maybe? I noticed how black the briared stems of the wild blackberry and plum thickets were. Flint rocks, crushed by the road grader two days ago, showed their blue centers against the gray outer shell. Speaking of shells, some broken pearly clamshells were scattered in the ditch near the creek.

The wind picked up to the point that to hear the silence, I had to stop and shield my ears from the rush.

The week
Now, a bit about why my week has been so stressful....

Sadie has written a letter to her little friend Benny, so I'll let her tell it:

Dear Benny...This has been the worst week of my life. It started out pretty boring because Quest hurt himself and couldn't go outside with me. He wouldn't get up off the floor, even, and growled at me once when I got in his face. Sometimes I try to get him to play by biting his ear. Then our humans kept telling me to leave him alone.

They took him to the doctor Tuesday and I heard them say he had a sore shoulder (wonder if he caught that from our master. He had to have his operated on last month.) Then they said he had a torn tendon or ligaments. Mom and Dad yelled at me louder each time I tried to play.

So on Wednesday I was outside again by myself. Once, I wanted to chase the mail carrier's truck, but Mom wouldn't let me. So after she went back inside, I was looking for something to do when one of those monsters—humans call them trucks and cars—came down the road. I ran as fast as I could out to the road. I thought I'd run along the side or behind it, but it must have been going slower than they usually do, and I went underneath it.

I'll spare you the grisly details, Benny. Let's just say, rocks are very sharp and tires hard and heavy. I found out my skin is pretty thin, too. I could only walk on three legs, barely. I think I scared my humans pretty bad because they scooped me up in a sheet (I was bleeding a lot) and rushed me to the vet clinic, a long, long drive. I thought we'd never get there. They did not talk much during the ride except to say I was "one lucky puppy" and I was being very brave.

Things got scary again after they put me on that shiny, cold table. A woman doctor came in and after feeling me and looking at me, she tried to assure Mom and Dad nothing was broken and it didn't look like "permanent damage," whatever that meant. She poked me with a big needle. I didn't like that, so I made it fall off the table. But she got another one and stuck it in a different leg. Then she got still another one and stuck me with that!

I couldn't believe Mom and Dad both held me down so I couldn't move while that doctor kept punching some metal things they called staples into my whole leg and thigh. I thought it was bullets. The doctor said I was very good and even gave me TWO treats.

Back home, I just wanted to curl up in my bed, but I couldn't bend my leg or lie on it. I was hurting really bad. So I started licking my hurt places. I'd heard the doctor say I shouldn't do that, but it made it feel better. After trying to stop me lots of times, Dad went outside a while and came back in with a plastic flowerpot and some duct tape. He actually put that thing around my neck after he cut open the side of the pot! But I fooled him—I could still lick my leg. So, he stayed up all night to keep me from doing it.

Sadie comp 1

Sadie with her makeshift cone, left, and with the real "lampshade," right

The next day, Mom really added insult to injury. She left home for a few hours, and when she came back, she said to dad, "Sadie's really going to love this." I thought I was going to get another treat. They played with this plastic thing, calling it a puzzle. Then they called me over and they put a lampshade over my head!! They fastened it on with my collar. Then they stood there looking at me and trying not to laugh. Dad said, "If I put a light bulb in your mouth, will it light up?" VERY funny.

Mostly Mom and Dad have been really good to me, though, giving me extra treats and telling me I'm a "good girl." Mom even brought me a new toy, a squeaky snake.

Sadie and Squeaky Snake

I really wish I could get this thing off my head so I can play with my toys again. All I can do is hold them in my mouth now. I can't throw them around or run around with them. And Quest gets mad when I run into him with the edge of this thing—but I can't see around it. Once I just fell right over the top of him!

Well, Sadie got her wish today: the "lampshade" has been removed and she's dancing, literally.

Things are looking up, I think, after a tense weekend. Sunday morning Charlie's back went out (better now); Sadie's wounds seemed worse, so she got to visit the vet today (healing nicely now, he said); it has sleeted, snowed and rained. The creeks are close to overflowing.

Robins, buzzards, red-winged blackbirds, and meadowlarks have returned. Frogs are croaking; ranchers have begun to burn the prairie, calves are appearing everywhere, and daffodils are blooming in town. Can spring be far away now?

On the way home from the vet this afternoon we saw four—that's FOUR—bald eagles sitting in a pasture. They took flight as we drove near and we watched them circle and soar. And, the sun peeked out a little bit.

Yes, things are looking up. Now, if I can just get this *&)^@^% photo and text spacing figured out so I can place my pictures where I want them, I'll be soaring with the eagles!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Life artist Ali Edwards issued a challenge last year to think of a word and concentrate on it for a year: meditate, take photos or draw pictures representing its meaning, and post the word in a prominent place. I couldn't get focused enough to do this, but I thought about it occasionally.

January 2008 came and I decided My Word should be FOCUS. Get that—"should be." I have a friend who says, "Don't should on yourself."

But, two months have gone by and I haven't really done anything, again, but think about "focus."

A couple mornings ago the light bulb came on: My Word is not "focus" right now, but INSPIRATION. Even though I now knew this to be right for me, at this time, while listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer on PBS the light bulb began pulsing and I realized the truth when he said, "there are no coincidences." When you are in harmony with Spirit and on your own right path, you begin paying attention and become aware that a message is being delivered. (apologies to Dr. Dyer; he's more eloquent.)

How many times in a day lately have I read about "inspiration"? How many times have I been asked to think about what inspires me? How many times have I thought to myself, "This book-quote-story-picture really has inspired me"?

Okay, so Spirit-God has my attention. Dr. Dyer also said that as we develop this awareness, we also must be open, ready and willing because the next step involves doing. Our purpose in life is to serve and give back.

Now I am asking myself:

How? What am I supposed to do? How can I help? Serve? Give back? Am I—perhaps—doing a little bit already?

When I first became serious about photography and was preparing for an exhibit, I was asked to write a statement about myself and photography, something about why I do it and what inspires me. It came to me (another light bulb) I had basically two reasons:
  1. I needed some way to preserve, to document, to hold onto a specific: a moment in time, a piece of Nature, a child's expression. These are fleeting happenings, never to be exactly duplicated or repeated. Gifts from God to me.
  2. No. 2, I was also struck with the thought that while these were gifts to me, they were not necessarily just for me. I needed to share them because maybe—just maybe—I was the only one who could share this particular thing in a particular way. This seemed to be God's message to me: preserve this memory and share it.
Before I started seriously photographing, I was a reporter and a graphic designer. While I never had such a clear revelation, the theme was there: tell the story.

I found when I was surrounded by Nature, living on the prairie as I was, away from the distractions of city life, traffic, manmade noise, daily reminders of violence and negativity, God's voice was clear and pure, no longer muffled.

I began at first taking pictures of sunsets and fall leaves floating in the creek, for me, because I was starved for this beauty. I picked the wildflowers in the spring and dried grass and seedpods in the fall to bring inside, to save and to savor them.

After a while I no longer had to pick them. I had my photos, and I had begun to recognize the rhythm of Nature, the ebb and flow of the seasons. New versions of the same plant life, different colors in a sunset, patterns of the clouds before a storm. All out my front door.

As I wrote last month, I began writing my IDEAS TO IMAGES blog and have become more involved with scrapbooking for the same reasons: to preserve and to share.

Back to My Word. Dr. Dyer's latest book—are you ready?—is "Inspiration." I don't have it yet, but over the past month I've come across several references (coincidences?) and have checked it out on I'm ready to order it.

Dr. Dyer books

I've read about 10 of his books and have some tape sets. I looked back in my journal a couple years ago to a a list of people I found "most inspirational" (not "influential") in my life. Dr. Dyer is high on that list.

I opened "Simple Abundance" for my daily reading today and what did I find? Ms Van Breathnach says her personal ritual in preparation for work is "priming the pump for access your inner reservoir—that place deep within you inhabited by imagination."

I particularly love one phrase she uses as she describes the setting which includes a "pile of dog-eared circle of saints." The author is referring to people, specifically a group of women writers.

Even though I've read references to "spirit guides" and other descriptions of the muse, this is one to which I'll cling.

I'd include in my "circle" some special people: authors (I've listed some already), artists (Klee, CD Muckowsky, Ali Edwards, Stacy Edwards) relatives (an aunt, my mom, grand-daughter Tabitha), friends; things: a cardinal, my grand-daughter's sweet face, puppies and kittens, a sunset; and music: Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No. 1" and Celtic ballads. There's much more, but you get the picture.


What constitutes your circle of saints? Give it some thought. Write me.