The River & The Torch
One thing many of my friends may not know about me is that after finishing my college degree at Texas A & M -I moved to the Wilderness and back country of Utah. I studied a back country wilderness first responder and EMT course at University of Las Vegas Nevada and trained for a month to live in the wilderness. I then went out for long stents teaching at risk youth how to live with nothing in the middle of the dry unforgiving desert. I spent months that still feel like an entire lifetime in that back country. The most pivotal point of my travels and training was self discovery during what they called a solo journey. My dad swore I’d never survive without a hair dryer. I survived like the show survivor ...
And it was the best thing I have ever done.
The staff would take us into the wilderness and drop us off alone one by one somewhere in the middle
Of the back country. We had no food no water unless we found the river no source for fire no torch unless we made a bow drill to make fire no filters for drinking water.
Sometimes we literally were hundreds of miles from civilization . It was my job to figure out where I was, survive by not getting eaten by bears, hiking to safe places for shelter and getting shelter camp set up near water. Water and Fire were the lifeline as long as u could build a shelter all
You needed -was
And a torch...
To make the first evening - a success.
I was bound and determined and after hanging my bear bag up
In a tree off perimiter of my camp ....
I would need to locate a water source and be able to have created a bow drill and a fire by night time so i could have LIGHT -
To find my way and stay warm. Also, it’s important to eat a warm meal in the cold wet temperature drop of the evening after the sun went down the canyons dropped
The first thing I remember is being alone without noise. It was eerily and painfully silent at times until late after I settled when the other “noises” began. Sounds I’d never heard, because I had never spent time for this long in the wilderness of Utah alone at night. I noticed how black the night sky could get when overcast and how brilliant the stars glistened when the sky was clear.
The height of the mountains and red rock lifted you up making you feel you could grab a star and bring it down for a goodnight kiss if you wanted. The first night was invigorating .
Yet so COLLLLLLLD.... I shivered I tossed and turned. The elements taught me patience...
At times I was scared to travel around my camp area . The unknown was more fearful for me so I quickly set up a bear bag w food hung high so no bears came.
The little home base I made once I found the river
And I made a bow drill by hand and got a torch made for the evening so I could see and write with my pencil in my journal.
I used the light as a source of illumination so I could cut dog bane tree apart - peeling back the bark to make natural chord for ties to use for camp
And I also made bracelets when boredom
Creeped in. I ate what I could find , prickly pear, stinging nettle , cooked to perfection on my bow drill fire and I enjoyed the process of working for what I had. I also loved the absence of a watch, an alarm clock, masses of people, concrete jungles...and I liked the simplicity of life being to simply L I V E. No goal
Other than to be present and survive.
The life lessons I learned from surviving in UTAH completely on the land and depending on my own abilities & skill sets taught me what many masters of words have spoken of so many times over the years.
It taught me lessons in words so powerful I can’t string together myself a single quote perfect enough-so I’ll
Use others words to convey how I feel.
It taught me
“Life is like the river, sometimes it sweeps you gently along and sometimes the rapids come out of nowhere.”
- Emma Smith
And that honestly “A river cuts through rock not because of its power but because of its perseverance.”-(Jim Watkins )
I read many books laying along the river side.
I healed a broken heart in those red rocks and I learned the beauty of obstacles.I also learned that I could survive anything as long as I had a river and a torch.
Recently, I needed to revisit Utah and the strength it took to survive and I needed to think about the fact that all we need is a river and a torch for any obstacle we must overcome.
Texas left my heart broken but it’s worth the beauty of my WILD journey into the unknown...to take risks to know heartache
So I can KNOW LOVE
And what it’s colors
I’m allowing my torch to burn. To light the way to show the brilliant colors of life and love that like a conduit come out in my artwork .
I’m allowing the river of creativity and JOY for living LIFE to the fullest to flow -freely now inviting the beauty of healing and change.
I love you all I hope you enjoy the little mini series ;)! It was a labor of love.
Here are a few more river and torch quotes that mean so much to me and were pondered on during the creation of these pieces.
I hope they inspire you to ebb and flow like the river ...
And light the way like the torch.
I am not crushing it right now. But I’m showing up and giving it as much fire as I have each day. Some days it’s a lot and some days it’s not so much.
Just doing the best you can every day you are
Fortunate enough to wake up. Maybe that’s how we should have measured
Efforts all along”-anonymous
“We cannot hold a torch to brighten another’s path without brightening our own”
-Ben sweet land
This way or that way ? The road we choose is not always one that came to us by way of choice first. Sometimes we are propelled in that direction by forces beyond our control such as a pandemic or life altering changes. Sometimes we are given a choice of several paths set in motion by life events beyond our control. Sometimes we find opportunities and blessing down a path we had no idea would come our way ...nor would have chosen for ourselves had circumstances been any different at all. -HC 2020
3 of The Space Between The Words . For all the silent sunsets of quarantine days. All the ones that gave us peace of mind during A difficult year.
Reminding you to pause to look forward to the bright light of the future. The palm trees gently sway in the light of the sun ...soothing your soul.
The shutdown changed life for everyone in 2020. When the street became empty as well as the grocery store shelves. This piece reminds us that change can come at any moment and to notice the little things in life more. Take time for yourself. Take it each and just be. This is an acrylic impasto floral abstract on canvas with subtle impasto work.
1 Silent Radio includes frame.
Created from the scraps and trash from the Nashville tornado with magnets holding removable nails .... making this a piece you can touch and manipulate .... holding pandemic medical masks to remind us that the pandemic and resiliency of our communities.
When the calm of the morning is quiet and the sun is peeking up over the horizon ...you can find the space between the words.
Multi media piece made with paper, nails, pain skins, paper towels and acrylic impasto
Buy a black light bulb and surprise your socially distanced friends with a double painting! There is a night time GLOW version as well or light it at night with white light and see it’s normal day colors. This piece has about 4-6 inches of depth off the canvas! Must see the night black light feature to believe!
Sometimes you just need to step away from the craziness of pandemic news and enjoy a peaceful quiet walk I’m a garden of flowers nailed to the canvas. The nails reminding us that life can sometimes be sharp around its edges but peace always trumps pain!
This painting has a more subtle but salt lamp like calming glow feature just look at with a black light.
I spent much of 2020 in hospitals -this round bouquet reminds me of the joyful rounds of caring medical personnel that welcomed my complicated case and helped me find the answers. I saw so many doctors who didn’t listen this reminds me of the ones who did and the staff that seldom get praise for caring and treating patients like they would family. The unspoken hero’s of hospital work “In the rounds” honors the loved one you know who either has to spend too much time in hospitals or those who have been the caregiver. The nurse. The doctor. The lab technician. The essential workers who provide care despite the risks.
It also reminds us of gratitude. Knowing the sun will always shine regardless of the pandemic. Even in the dark there is light. Just turn on a blacklight to see this light up! PM me for the video it’s mesmerizing....
This is the first in a new series for 2021 created in honor of my childhood friend Elizabeth Woodall Shannon’s honor. She bravely shares the loss of her little baby Andie to help other mothers heal. This series will be a series of peaceful gardens take a walk with Andie through heavenly landscapes.
"Going At It Alone" - Acrylic impasto on canvas.
Quarantine hit and this piece became one of my favorites to create. The flowers melt down the canvas as we all did Slowly finding out the news of covid 19. I found happiness in the vibrant hues of purple and loved trying out a new technique with using paper mixed into my medium.