Monday, January 28, 2019

BBCW Art Museum - Part 2

After a quick walk around parts of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West grounds with Kory, we stashed her safely back in the vehicle and (after kissing her on the forehead) headed towards the front doors.
LC and I are always excited to visit the museum, and at this time of year we had the entire facility almost completely to ourselves.
The occasional art lover.
The occasional elderly staff person.
But mostly just us.
BBCW is open seven days a week during the summer months, and at that time of year the place is a non-stop beehive of people, noise and activity.
Tour groups, campers and endless vehicles in the parking lot.
People walking the grounds, people filling the museums, people milling around everywhere you look - chatting loudly, taking selfies, drinking yuppie coffee drinks, talking in different languages on their phones.
Large numbers of staff and continual staff presentations both inside and outside.
All during the summer.
But the winter?
The center is open four days a week with abbreviated hours, the parking lot is almost empty, the inside is almost empty, and you almost feel compelled to whisper as you take in all of the exhibits because it is such a quiet place.
On this cold winter day we headed directly for the art museum.
It is an expansive space filled with art dedicated to stories about the west.
Art that is serious, that is whimsical, that is two and three dimensional, that is both historical and contemporary.
In places throughout the art museum the light was not good and too many of my pictures did not turn out.
But many did.
And we will be back there again soon.
These pictures tell (part of) the story of our art museum visit....................
A picture is a poem without words................Horace

Saturday, January 26, 2019

BBCW Art Museum - Part 1

We were on the way back to Tennessee the first time we stood in front of this statue.
I had walked away from a well paying and high profile job in Juneau, Alaska.
A job I had been hired to do as a result of a national search.
They looked all over the country when recruiting for the job, hired me, treated me............badly, and less than 18 months after moving to Juneau I walked away.
I was exhausted mentally and physically, and an empty, shell-shocked woman boarded the ferry bound for the Lower 48.
Along with a man and a dog.
We were headed back to our lives in Tennessee when we (on the spur of the moment) decided to make a side trip to Cody WY.
To say the least, we were initially unimpressed.
It was March, there was no snow on the ground, and the beige and barren landscape surrounding Cody was uninspiring.
We drove through town and then found ourselves at the huge statue (above) of Buffalo Bill Cody.
Climbing out of the vehicles we walked up the stairs leading to the statue and I looked out at the hills surrounding us.
"It looks like the Afghan-Pakistan Border Region".....................
When we came back to Cody in late September of 2017 I looked at LC and said "This is the third time we've been back to Cody.  We keep coming back here.  We need to pay attention to that."
After being gypsies for too many years we've finally decided to pay attention to the place that kept calling us back................
Early in December we went to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West for a free visit.
A gift before Christmas, from the museum to the residents of Cody.
On that day we purchased a gift for ourselves - an annual membership to the museum, and since that day we have already visited three more times.
A couple of weeks ago I met LC outside the museum after my store closed.
It was a warm day and we briefly walked around the grounds of the museum with Kory before heading indoors.
There are bronze statues all over the museum grounds.
Many large.  Many small.  All related to the cowboy, Native American and wildlife icons of this western region...................
The walk outside was brief, and after loading pup back into the truck LC and I excitedly headed for the main entrance of the museum.
On this quiet afternoon, we would be wandering around the art museum.................

Ice At The Lake

I cannot convey strongly enough just how much I enjoy living so close to the lake.
Just up the road.
Five minutes drive.
Close enough for short adventures in the dead of winter.
 Close enough for long adventures in the dog days of summer.
Trails for bike riding and walking, hills for hiking, water for fishing and kayaking..............

There is an elderly lady who lives at the end of our road.
She lives in a dilapidated single wide mobile home - an old, run down, beat up piece of junk with the same beautiful views that LC and I enjoy from OUR home.
The first time I met the lady I was walking with Kory in the middle of summer.
She was standing outside on the rotting front porch and I introduced myself and my dog.
Out of politeness I asked her how old her dog was and she told me that the dog was old - about 9.
The dog was so overweight that its' belly reached almost down to the ground.
I smiled politely and my only thought was "the same age as Kory".
We chatted politely for a few minutes about banal things that I don't remember, but somewhere during the conversation the woman told me that in addition to the dog, she also had a pet pig.
I smiled politely at that and then made ready to move on.
Saying that it was nice to meet her, Kory and I started to walk away but as we turned the woman mentioned something else about the pig.
Suddenly curious I turned back to the elderly lady.
"Did you say that the pig weighed 50 pounds or 150 pounds??"
"No - she weighs 250 pounds".
Having no idea what to say in response to that piece of news I smiled again, said again how nice it was to meet her, turned and headed back towards the house.
I couldn't wrap my head around it.
Couldn't wrap my head around the idea of an old woman, and an old dog, and a 250 pound pig all living inside that beat up mobile home ( was an indoor pig).
A week later I drove by that same mobile home and saw the pig.
It was huge.  And it's belly almost reached the ground.
And it was standing on the rotting porch, staring at the front door, waiting patiently for the elderly lady to let it back inside.
I love living close to the lake so much, that I would even live in that single wide mobile home just to be that close.
The days are freezing cold but are irrevocably getting longer each day.
Kory and I made a brief trip to the lake one late afternoon last week after my business closed, rushing home (as I so often do this time of year) so that we could squeeze in some together time at the lake before dark.
It was cold.
It was silently cold and abandoned.
Kory and I had the entire frozen lake and beach front to ourselves, as we do most days in the winter.
We have had little snow this winter down at 5000 feet, so I had to be content to simply enjoy views of the snow in the surrounding  mountains.
The story of this trip was the frozen lake, and the giant chunks of ice that had broken free.
The entire shore line was covered with large blocks of ice - frozen squares and triangles and hexagons that extended from the South Fork end of the lake all the way around to the North Fork end of the lake.
Endless.  Unexpected.  Beautiful................
We were only at the lake for 30 minutes before the invasive cold and increasing darkness demanded a retreat to the vehicle.
The visit was short, but it was long enough.
Long enough for Kory to run.
Long enough for my head to clear and for me to decompress from a busy day.
Climbing back into the warm Tahoe we turned back onto the gravel road and headed towards the house, careful to watch for the multitude of deer who live in the fields close to Buffalo Bill Reservoir...................
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals........................Winston S. Churchill