Monday, January 28, 2008

An Indian Dream

A diptych  that I haven't  exhibited.  Two images that need to be seen together.

Indian Dream

I had these dreams for years after my uncle Wilbur took me out to hunt for arrow heads.  I guess he was familiar with the area where I would find a treasure.  Only later did I realize that a tragedy may have occurred  at that that site.  

Me on Lonely Pony

Post Card - Villa of Brule - Photo by C.H. Grabill  1891

My dad moved east during the dust bowl era to start a new life and a family.  He was from a family of eleven; once a necessity, but suddenly a liability on a farm/ranch measured in sections, not acres. We returned every other summer to help with the wheat harvest.  This was the highlight of my youth.  To become a cowboy, ride horses, mend fence.  We stored hay for the horses, collect eggs, milk the cows and slop the pigs.  It was a life I just longed for when I had to return to the east.  My fathers death came early, but I did return with the love of my life, Karen after we married.   My uncle Wilbur was immediately taken with her when she grabbed the shaggy dog Corny and brushed and clipped out all the mats. Plus Karen can ride with the best of the cowboys.  She was a hit and 30 plus years later we're still in love.

Red Thread

Now what does this have to do with my art? I became aware of the Indian plight and the horrible genocide our government waged against the indigenous  population.  In some ways my ancestors benefited from from this, even as I was struggling to become a cowboy.  In recent years my wife and I have spent weeks on the Pine Ridge reservation trying to help elevate the sad poverty in the midst of the vast wealth of our country.  For a great voice and force in trying to effect change in Pine Ridge visit Re-Member. (blogger is having problems so I can't link directly at this time so go to    I remain intent on using zen koans to silence that voice in my head whenever I want to sit and create.  No more lists of things to do, just stand in the moment and create. My red thread is art.


Teri Prestash said...

Your blog is definitely living up to its name- particularly the "contemplations" part. I enjoy seeing the artifacts that inspire the art. Either I'm dense or you’re being elusive, but I'm just not getting the red thread thing.

Bill Evertson said...

Beginning anything may be difficult so when I started the blog I was of course stuck to make that first post. I guess I had zen koans on the mind. Koans are teaching tools in zen; usually in the form of questions that a student ponders and returns to the master with a solution. These are the 'what is the sound of one hand clapping' or 'when a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there, does it make a sound' type questions. There is no logic as to what constitutes a right answer and they are designed to free a student from purely logical answers. The answer may in fact be an action. "What is the meaning of the red thread' was my first post; based on the koan 'Songyuan asked, Why can't clear-eyed Bodhisattvas sever the red thread?' A Bodhisattva is motivated by a compassion to help other beings seek enlightenment. A Bodhisattva has the goal of becoming a Buddha but will delay the progress to ease the suffering of other beings. Bodhisattvas need to have the six perfections. Generosity, ethics, patience, effort, concentration and wisdom. So when Songyuan asks me across the centuries what is the red thread, I spend time on it. Just don't get me started on 'linji said. There is nothing I dislike'

Victoria Cummings said...

Bill - Great photo of you on the pony. As far as red thread goes, it reminded me of something that Shamans do in South America when someone is dying. They take a horse and tie it outside the person's house with a red thread connecting the horse to the front door. It's to help with the journey.

Bill Evertson said...

Thank you Victoria for your comment and another connection for me to follow. Your observations and posts are truly inspirational.