Sunday, December 21, 2014

"For me, every day is a new thing. I approach each project with a new insecurity, almost like the first project I ever did. And I get the sweats. I go in and start working, and I'm not sure where I'm going. If I knew where I was going, I wouldn't do it." ~ Frank Gehry

Once we lived in Montana… "The Big Sky Country." But it was just for a while. The sky IS bigger there than anywhere I've ever been. It's wider and higher and sometimes bluer, and it has the biggest, angriest storms I've ever been in … well, except for Texas. You've got to be tolerant if you're going to live in Montana… of people, of animals, and, certainly, of the weather. Bears wander about like they own the place… and they DO! At least they did for a lot longer than the people who own the place now.

The Blackfeet people live there, and have done, for about as long as the bears have. They both understand how to live together in peace, it seems to me. It's best not to get "the sweats" around bears. I read once that they are the third smartest animals in the world, and that makes them lots smarter than I am most of the time. No need to make them nervous or jumpy or anything… And, for heaven's sakes, don't creep around them like a frightened rabbit. Or in my case, just stay in the car and drive slowly, carefully, away.

We all lived in trailers when Richard's company was building the missile silos in northern Montana for the U.S. government a long time ago. Bears would come around to ravage the big metal trash cans for tidbits and morsels. They'd lumber into the area, and, not being grizzlys, those brown bears didn't look that big on all fours. Their little beady eyes looked for anything that smelled good to them, anything. All they had to do was knock the lids to the ground, slam the cans to the ground, and rifle through the contents… yum!

Wives used to come out and watch them from their porches as though those bears were muzzled and trained. I, on the other hand, cowered inside our trailer, inside the bathroom, and sat on the stool's seat with my baseball bat in hand! 

I could never have been a wife like the one in "Little House on the Prairie"… never, never, never! In my mind that TV show was a farce! They lived miles from any other folks. Her husband would go out to shoot game of some sort for dinner, and he'd lug it back home. Well, people did that in Montana, too, when we lived there. OK, I believe that much, but...

But that "Little House"… Sheesh! It was never, ever dusty! There was no noise of the constant wind rattling through their cabin, I guess their windows were perfectly plastered, or something. And if any of the folks got injured in any way, they were miraculously healed by the next week's episode! And Mrs. Ingles' skin was smooth as silk… always… even when she had beads of sweat dripping down from the perfectly clean hair above her powdered forehead! I say again… SHEESH! 

And, where were the bears? I did see them in one episode on our little trailer TV, I think. But bears are big and they aren't afraid of much of anything. Why would they be, these large, smart animals who get to sleep through each cold Montana winter? The humans were driving, working, cleaning house, grocery shopping, and dusting, while trying to keep warm in temperatures that could dip as low as a brutal -43 degrees of winter cold!

Well, that was many years ago, and the SALT talks calmed down the idea of missile silos pointing towards Russia back then. When the agreement was signed, the company sent everyone back where they'd come from, and, with the outsiders gone, the town-folk got right back to small-town life in Montana, the state with "black ice" and no speed limits on any highways… none!

But right now I'm facing my own big brown bear, right here in my own "studio!" OK, OK, my "studio" is really our spare bedroom upstairs. I have to create a original piece of art that needs to be 12" x 10." I've never, ever worked that small! It's much harder to create a well-designed tiny piece like that than the larger pieces I'm used to designing. And that's the "bear" I'm facing right now as I'm writing this, instead of slogging into my "studio" to get to it! 

Well, I guess you'd call it a cub I'm facing, not a bear… right? But I got "the sweats" just thinking about that little, tiny piece of cloth that needs to be deftly designed. Hope I'm up to it… Well, maybe I'll start tomorrow...    


  1. I loved hearing about the bears in Montana, and I am certain you will become good friends with the cub you are facing now in your art studio.

  2. Well, I've got the batting cut out… :} Thanks so much, Cindy. Keep your fingers crossed!