"Wisdom comes only when you stop looking for it and start living the life the Creator intended for you." Hopi
“Energy is an eternal delight, and he who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.” William Blake
“What is life? it is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot (1821-1890) Blackfoot Native American
“Dreamscapes bridge the gap between the dream reality and the waking hallucination” D. Winspear
I spent my childhood on the edge of the woods. My friends and I would head for the woods and soon as they let us out of school. We had our own trails, our own special rock where we’d meet, away from parents and teachers, and the rest of that crowd whose job it was to mold us into good citizens, and in my case, a good soldier. And I rebelled against the established order, along with millions of others my age. Later I would learn that warfare is just business as usual.
But, I’m not going down that well-beaten path, or well-paved expressway. I’d somehow had this vision. I was visiting this friend, a little going away party, for he was shipping out to Vietnam the next day. And the friend, Henry, would be coming home in a body bag a month hence, after he’d stepped on a land mine.
And I was there with these people, a warm summer night on the coast. Some drug had kicked in and I’d fled the house, and found myself alone by the water, sitting on this flat rock, with the soft sweep of the tide on the beach, glowing in the moonlight. And I went and lay down on the sand, and I looked at the sea coming in and felt some great sadness, as if out Mother the Sea was suffering, in pain from all the poisons being poured into her. Our Mother, the Earth, was weeping and these ripples on the sand were the trails of her tears. And I vowed, like a Knight of old, to try and defend her somehow.
Then I read about the Dreamers, and Smohalla, Wanapam shaman and prophet and the Washani (dancer’s) Creed. According to my sources, the fundamental message in the Washani Creed was that of the organic unity between people and the earth. Smohalla often repeated the basic articles of faith:
“You ask me to plough the ground! Shall I take a knife and tear my mother's bosom? Then when I die she will not take me to her bosom to rest.
You ask me to dig for stone! Shall I dig under her skin for her bones? Then when I die I cannot enter her body to be born again.
You ask me to cut grass and make hay and sell it, and be rich like white men, but how dare I cut off my mother's hair?”
Smohalla also taught his followers that they should not work as white people did, but should accept the fish, game, and bulbs that were nature's gifts. "Men who work cannot dream," he said, "and wisdom comes to us in dreams."
I’d like to move from the philosophy to the technique of the Dreamscapes. Unlike landscapes which seem to have been created by Europeans who viewed the earth as property, the Dreamscapes are produced to convey the beauty, dance and poetry, the music of nature. I initially create the designs on glass with oil-based ink, and sometimes add watercolors. They are done so that there is a harmony between the conscious and subconscious, between intention and accident. The elements of Zen come into play. From my personal background, the love of nature from my father’s Amerindian ancestry to the love of art, craft and culture of my mother’s European ancestry. A synthesis, using techniques from Chinese calligraphy, employing, for example, the bone stroke for the bamboo, combined with the elements of Japanese Zen, which recreates, on paper with ink and brush, the seemingly haphazard perfection that is found in the natural world. Or as Billie Blake so poetically put it, “To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.”