Rumble House has managed through a summer of floods, four of them…hail and hassle of every sort. Rich and Jess have managed to negotiate their way through the number of revisions that had to be made to the space, based on damage of infrastructure. They have done a great job and the space is beautifully changed, more spacious and organized. It’s been a strange summer for me as well, having to react to a number of events, beginning with my Max’s injury and then my own broken foot on July 2nd. Rich and I were talking a little about calamity last night and we agreed that sometimes calamity causes our greatest creativity and active engagement. We go places.
Some years ago, my son and I traveled a journey that I loosely named our ‘Manifest Destiny’ journey. I finished watching four seasons of Hell on Wheels recently and the trip that James and I took wove through several of the locations featured in this series.
The trek began when we dipped south to visit Sainte-Marie among the Hurons where eight Jesuit missionaries lived, worked and were eventually martyred. To stand in this place is to recognize, with complete clarity, the collision of two cultures both operating from a sense of protection of their own ways and intentions. It is an example of colonization and all that can be anticipated as a result.
We then crossed the border into the United States, drove through the land where Dances With Wolves was filmed, saw Mount Rushmore, traveled through the Black Hills, all while listening to Louis L’Amour stories on book tape. We stood overlooking the hills of Little Big Horn. We slept in a cheap hotel room in Deadwood and we drove through the Bad Lands. It was an amazing trip, ending with the sharing of a jug bottle of beer in Billings, Montana.
It was another place riddled with a history of the ‘wild’ west…and so much of it rooted in tragedy. It was the first time that I really thought about a lot of things. There were huge issues that I had already read about, feeling very sad about the choices of the past, but helpless to change any of them. One of the personalities that came to mind once we hit Deadwood was a woman of the west, Calamity Jane. Last night I painted from one of the photo references that is an early portrait. Thank you to Teresa for purchasing Calamity at auction.
Last night I painted her.
Calamity Jane…what is fact and what is fiction?
What is the history that we are creating as individuals and collectively?