Tuesday, December 07, 2010

What is it? What was it?

It graces our apartment living room wall, but it looks nothing like the deer we dropped off at the processor. JB and Brett are proud of it. A European skull mount is what it's called. In Western movies I've seen bleached long-horn skulls, but these are antlers, and it doesn't seem right.

JB is rebuilding his trophy collection. All of his mounts perished when his camp burnt. Since this picture, the east wall has gained a six-pointer. Hunting season lasts until sometime in January. What's next?

To the right hangs my acrylic work of the Nebraska Sandhlls. I can visualize a herd of white-faced cattle and the occasional skull. The prairie smells of sage. Harrison, NE used to sell the "world's largest hamburger" big as a dinner plate. I could never get away with more than a bite or two of someone else's, but I did taste sage. It was what it ate.

The only sign of human life in my work is the windmill, cow fan to city folk. Without trees to dot the landscape, sky is all there is. Big city dwellers were unacustomed to seeing for miles, their vision was limited to tall buildings and masses of visual stimulation.

I didn't care for the Sandhills at first visit. They seemed lonesome,empty. People get lost and never found. Neighbors are fifteen or more miles apart.

NE has the largest area of Sandhills in this Hemisphere, and it's a fragile ecosystem. A couple of inches of black soil rests atop the sand providing just enough grip for grass to root. During dry spells cattle pull the grass out exposing the sand and nothing will grow back.

Our ghostly wall rider makes me laugh and reminds me of happy trips to Western Nebraska. I could string Christmas lights on it. Maybe I'll drape it in black for Halloween, or just use it for a hat rack. On second thought, I'd better leave it alone and laugh to myself.

2010 Red Convertible Travel Series

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