The Choctaw’s simple act of kindness: LAPC

A simple act of kindness, Kindred Spirits Sculpture, Midleton, Ireland 5March2020

In 1847, the worst year of Ireland’s Great Famine, people of the Choctaw Nation of the southeastern United States sent a gift of $170 to Ireland. The money, worth thousands in today’s dollars, was collected to help the starving people of Ireland. Over a million Irish people died from starvation and disease in the period from 1845 to 1849.

Honoring a small act of kindness

Cork-based sculptor, Alex Pentek, created the Kindred Spirits sculpture to help honor that simple act of kindness. The Making of Kindred Spirits shows the artist discussing its creation. The 20-foot tall sculpture, in Midleton, County Cork, was unveiled to the public in 2017. It stands in Ballie Park beside a popular walking trail.

Ballie Park, Midleton, Ireland 5 March 2020

But why would the Choctaw have sent such a gift when many of their people were struggling to survive? In 1831, the Choctaw were the first tribe to be forcibly removed from their native lands because of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. People of the Seminole, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Muscogee (Creek) nations, and many non-natives and people of African descent who lived with the tribes, were also forced to move. Between 1830 to 1850, they forced tens of thousands of people from nine states to move to what is now Oklahoma. The perilous journey would become known as the Trail of Tears. Thousands died from exposure, disease, starvation, and harassment by local frontiersmen.

A simple act of kindness, Kindred Spirits Sculpture, Midleton, Ireland 5March2020

In 1847, the Choctaw were still recovering from the injustice they had experienced. They shared what little they had to help the starving Irish people.

The nine curved eagle feathers of this sculpture, arranged in a circular shape, symbolize an empty bowl. Each feather is different and they represent the Choctaw Nation’s strength, kindness, and humanity.

Close up of Kindred Spirits sculpture, Midleton, Ireland 5 March 2020

A bond between nations

The simplicity of this sculpture and the simple act of kindness it symbolizes, touched my heart. At the unveiling ceremony, a Cork County official said:

They bestowed a blessing not only on the starving Irish men, women and children, but also on humanity. The gift from the Choctaw people was a demonstration of love and this monument acknowledges that and hopefully will encourage the Irish people to act as the Choctaw did.

Joe McCarthy, East Cork municipal officer
Kindred Spirits sculpture, Midleton, Ireland 5 March 2020

Members of the Choctaw Nation attended the opening ceremony. They felt humbled by the recognition they received 170 years later. At the ceremony, the Choctaw Nation’s chief said:

Your story is our story. We didn’t have any income. This was money pulled from our pockets. We had gone through the biggest tragedy that we could endure, and saw what was happening in Ireland and just felt compelled to help…

The bond between our nations has strengthened over the years. We are blessed to have the opportunity to share our cultures, and meet the generous people who have continued to honour a gift from the heart.

Chief Gary Batton, Choctaw Nation
Close up of Kindred Spirits sculpture, Midleton, Ireland 5 March 2020

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Simplicity

Dinosaur rock: Finding my calm

Dinosaur rock, Siobhan Sullivan March 2020

I was looking for things to do around the house and decided to paint this dinosaur rock. This 8″ x 12″ Tyrannosaurus rex is the bigger version of this rock that I painted several years ago. Maybe this one will find a place in my garden.

In these chaotic times, I was looking for something to bring a sense of calm. Who knew I could find my calm by painting a dinosaur rock.

Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.

Stephen Sondheim

This morning I found this article – Soothe Your Soul With An Arts Break. It features a wide variety of artwork from diverse artists. The site features six short videos. I hope some of the art in these videos will soothe your soul… at least for a little while.

Keeping our Distance: LAPC

Keeping our distance

Keeping our distance, Bend, Oregon 20 February 2020

Avoiding close contact

Songbirds in Malahide, Ireland 6 March 2020

Unsure where to turn

Keeping our distance, doves in Bend, Oregon 24 January 2020

On the darkest of days

Dark clouds in Bend, Oregon 9 August 2019

But one day, we will once again fly with our flocks

Paper bird sculpture, Bend, Oregon 23 October 2018

Rejoice with our families

Barn swallow fledglings, Sunriver, Oregon 30 June 2017

And our voices will join together in song

Keeping our distance, Yellow warbler, Camp Sherman, Oregon 3 June 2016

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Distance

Hells Canyon in the Spring: Friday Flowers

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area is tucked into the northeastern corner of Oregon and the western edge of Idaho. We visited Hells Canyon in the spring last year. At the overlook, the meadows were carpeted in wildflowers. Perfect timing for pictures!

Hells Canyon view to the east 4 June 2019
View to the east

Many different types of flowers were in full bloom.

Wildflower meadow at Hells Canyon, Oregon 4 June 2019
Meadow full of wildlfowers

We had great weather to take in the panoramic view. The Snake River winds through this canyon nearly 8,000 feet below the canyon rim. Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in North America, is almost 2,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon.

View to southeast at Hells Canyon, Oregon 4 June 2019
View to the southeast

Whitestem frasera plants grew in dense clumps sprinkled with pale purple flowers.

Whitestem frasera, Hells Canyon, Oregon 4 June 2019
Whitestem frasera

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area was created in 1975. It encompasses 652,488 acres. There are nearly 2,900 miles of trails in this recreation area.

View to the south at Hells Canyon, Oregon 4 June 2019
View to the south

The dramatic landscape was formed by volcanic activity hundreds of millions of years ago followed by collisions of tectonic plates. The mountains eroded over time. A series of lava flows sculpted them into the mountains we see today.

Purple larkspur flowers bordered the trail. I have a different native variety growing on my desert property near Bend, Oregon. One of my favorite plants!

Larkspur in the foreground, Hells Canyon, Oregon 4 June 2019
Larkspur in the foreground

A gallery of Hells Canyon wildflowers

Here’s a gallery of some of the other wildflowers I saw that day. I had never seen these varieties of balsamroot or clematis flowers anywhere before. Wonderful sights to see!

The Hells Canyon Creek Visitor Center is located below Hells Canyon Dam. It is open seasonally and was not yet open when we visited.

You can see Seven Devils Mountain peeking out in this view to the north.

View to the north, Hells Canyon Overlook, Oregon 4 June 2019
View to the north

Hells Canyon Overlook is located 45 miles east of Joseph, Oregon, where we stayed. Check road conditions ahead of time because there can be snow in this high elevation area. It takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to get there from Joseph since you drive on twisting, turning Forest Service roads. The drive is well worth it!

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: LAPC

When I saw that the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week was A River Runs Through It, I immediately thought of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.

This river meanders its way through colorful rock formations

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone 13 June 2011

And pounds down in the Upper Falls

Upper Falls, Yellowstone National Park 13 June 2011

Past pine forests

Pine trees along Yellowstone River, Wyoming 13 June 2011

And into the Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Wyoming 13 June 2020

Artist Thomas Moran captured the river’s spirit in this painting, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. He and others on the Hayden Expedition of 1871 traveled to the greater Yellowstone area and documented what they encountered. They were instrumental in the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in March of 1872.

Thomas Moran used his artistic skills to capture outstanding features in vibrant paintings of the landscape. He was an influencer in his time. See more of his work at Painter of Yellowstone.

Thomas Moran 1872 Painting of Yellowstone River. Smithsonian

Photo Bloopers 4: More photo fun

It’s time once again for fun with photos. Welcome to Photo Bloopers 4! This is what I do with pictures that don’t quite fit in or turned out weird looking. They needed a few words to make them more interesting. Hope they entertain you!

Photo bloopers Ground squirrel at Lava Butte, Oregon July 2018
Painted Hills in Oregon with funny caption October 2018
Western juniper tree burdened with cones (berries) August 2019
Photo blooper of pronghorn surrounded by rainbow colors April 2018
Collared lizard at High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon October 2019
Shelves in the General Store in Fort Rock Museum, Oregon May 2019
Rock formation at Arches National Park May 2017
Photo bloopers , dog in front of DNA kits July 2019

Do you want to see more of my Photo Bloopers? See:

WPC – Fun!: Bird Bloopers

Photo Bloopers 2

Fun photos: Photo Bloopers 3

Irish Stew & Brew: One Word Sunday Challenge

Irish Stew & Brew at the Quays in Galway, Galway County, Ireland 2March2020

A traditional Irish stew & brew at The Quays Bar and Music Hall in Galway, County Galway, Ireland. This stew, accompanied by a Guinness, is a local specialty served at this restaurant.

Wherever you are on this St Patrick’s Day, treasure the things that matter to you the most.

Here’s to your roof,
may it be well thatched
And here’s to all
under it –
May they be
well matched.

Irish Toast

Travel with Intent: One Word Sunday – Specialty

Spruce Cones in Snow: SMM

Spruce cones in snow

We got some much needed snow in the last few days of our mild winter. This close-up of spruce cones in snow was taken in my yard in Bend, Oregon.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday (SMM)

Glimpses of Ireland & Northern Ireland

She unfurled her gossamer wings and searched for a far away land, greener than green. After a journey of many miles, she caught glimpses of Ireland & Northern Ireland. When she landed in a lush green pasture, a part of her remembered…

Glimpses of Ireland & Northern Ireland, Newgrange Monument, 29February2020
Newgrange Monument, County Meath, Ireland

Though I usually keep my travels within driving distance, I just returned from a 10-day trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland with my daughter. After losing my brother and father within months of each other, I felt an urge to visit the land of my ancestors.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim, United Kingdom
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim, United Kingdom

We drove about 1,600 miles and I took lots of photos. I will be sprinkling glimpses of Ireland & Northern Ireland into my blog occasionally. Enjoy the scenery!

Glimpses of Ireland & Northern Ireland, the Dark Hedges, United Kingdom
The Dark Hedges featured in Game of Thrones, County Antrim, United Kingdom

A sweet spot: The Foxtail Bakeshop

We recently visited a newish bakery for a cup of coffee and a sweet. This sweet spot has a good variety of sweets and beautiful artwork.

Check out this large mural full of flora and fauna. Find out more about the six artists that helped create the artwork in this space here.

Sweet spot. Foxtail Bakeshop, Bend, Oregon. February 2020

The front counter has bold black and white tilework.

Foxtail Bakeshop counter. February 2020

Even the storage areas are painted. I loved the fox peeking out and the figurine on the top.

Foxtail Bakeshop painting. February

Even the light fixtures are works of art. Can you see what the railing in the loft is made from? Rolling pins!

Intricate light and rolling pin railing. Foxtail Bakeshop February

Here’s the view from outside. This bakery is located in the Box Factory area of Bend.

In the early 1900s, there was a box making factory here. Now this sweet spot, restaurants, a cider manufacturer, a make-your-own-beer business, an exercise studio, a tourism company, and stores fill the building.

Sweet spot. Foxtail Bakeshop.  Bend Oregon February 2020

Fire pits alight at WinterFest: LAPC

Last weekend we visited the Oregon WinterFest event in Bend. I always look forward to seeing the fire pits and there were over 20 entries this year.

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) this week is Treasure Hunt. I thought the fire pits fit perfectly under the suggested topic of “something hot.” Here are a few of the sculptures I saw at the WinterFest event.

A scaly tree holding a suspended ball of fire

Fire pits at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

This one looked like kindling hovering over a fire

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

Tall and graceful, reaching for the sky

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

This triangular one had flames that pulsed to the music

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

A salmon leaping above the flames

Fire pits at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

Cattails swaying in the breeze

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

A cyclone of spinning metal

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

The reflective discs spun with the slightest breeze so this one was always in motion

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

This one reminds me of the space needle in Seattle

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

Mountains and their wildlife in a lovely panoramic display

Fire pits at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

See my recent That’s some Pig! post for one more of these amazing fire pit sculptures.

I’m impressed by the artists that create these works. The sculptures have to look great and be fully functional as a fire pit. Not an easy task!

Cave Spring Trail in Utah: LAPC

Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah May2017

If you decide to walk the short Cave Spring Trail in Canyonlands National Park, you will be rewarded with unique encounters with history and nature.

Cave Spring Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah May2017

The 0.6 mile loop trail takes you past a narrow cowboy camp tucked under a rock ledge. Camps like these were in use from the late 1800s to 1975. The Scorup-Sommerville Cattle Company managed as many as 10,000 cattle in this region. Cowboys lived a life on the range and artifacts from their outdoor camp remain at this site.

Cowboy camp at trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah May2017

This site was prized due to the fact that a spring existed here. Rainwater percolated through the sandstone over this site and carved out alcoves.

Sites such as these hosted cowboys in the recent past, but Native Americans lived here thousands of years before them. Their rock art can be seen in parts of the cave. The spring is considered a sacred place to descendants of these people.

Cave Spring in Canyonlands National Park, Utah May2017

If you follow the trail farther, you’ll come to two narrow ladders that take you up to a slickrock sandstone plateau.

Ladder on Cave Spring Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah May2017

Follow the rock cairns marking the trail…

Rock cairns marking the trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah May2017

to get stunning 360-degree views of the Canyonlands.

Scenic view from Cave Spring Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah May2017
Scenic view from Cave Spring Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah May2017

The trail drops down into another narrow alcove and continues to the parking area. Cave Spring Trail isn’t long, but it packs a lot into a short distance.

Cave Spring Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah May2017

I was especially impressed by the many interesting formations in the rock along this trail. Cave Spring Trail, and the nearby AMAZING petroglyphs of Newspaper Rock, made this one of our favorite stops on our trip to Utah’s National Parks.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Narrow

Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air February 2020

On this day when love is in the air, remember to…

Be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud.

Maya Angelou

On the Hunt for Joy Challenge – Cheer Someone Up

Bunchberry in full bloom: SMM

Bunchberry dogwood in bloom, Washington July 2011
Bunchberry, Cornus canadensis

This small groundcover plant is actually a type of dogwood. These striking plants range in height from eight inches, as in the bunchberry, to the 60-foot tall Pacific dogwood tree. Beautiful in any size!

Sunshine’s Macro Monday (SMM)

Someday in the future: LAPC

Someday in the future I’ll live on a street full of possibilities

Someday in the future, Road sign, Bend, Oregon 8February2020

Someday I’ll live where birds are the color of the sky

Scrub jay, Bend, Oregon 3June2017

And flowers are the color of the sun

Balsamroot flowers near the Columbia Gorge 15April2017

Someday I’ll live where lichens send messages that only I can see

2 Rock, lichens on a rock near Bend, Oregon 8February2020

And rocks will tell me of distant worlds in their own kind of Braille

Someday in the future, Thunderegg storytellers near Bend, Oregon 8February2020

Someday I’ll live where trees watch me through knowing eyes

Tree with eyes, Bend, Oregon 10July2019

And waterfalls speak to me in shades of green

Waterfall close up, Horsetail Falls, Oregon 9October2019

Someday in the future I’ll live where every sunrise is more spectacular than the one the day before

Someday in the future sunrise, Bend, Oregon 5December2019

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Future

Secret Blue Views: Two short stories

Did you know there are secret rooms at McMenamins Old St Francis in Bend? Here are pictures of two of the blacklight rooms with their secret blue views.

You can’t get into to the rooms through a traditional door. You have to find special panels in the hallway and push them in just the right spot.

The secret blue views inspired me to write microfiction stories related to each room.

Story 1

On the night of the harvest moon, trees in a hidden forest create plump blue and red fruit. Jackrabbits venture into the forest, searching for the red fruit. They nibble on their magic and dance until the sun rises and the fruit disappears.

Story 2

I am lost in a deep blue forest. Hanging crystals appear to light the way, so I follow them, turning to the left and right. I can’t find my way. Slumping against a tree trunk, I turn my gaze towards the sky. Then I notice it—a heart of branches leading to the true path. I am found.

Bumblebee on paintbrush: SMM

Bumblebee on paintbrush, Yellowstone, June 2018

I saw this bumblebee on paintbrush at Yellowstone National Park in the late spring.

Slender paintbrush , Yellowstone National Park, June 2018

Slender paintbrush was common near the thermal features.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday (SMM)

Autumn walk in Bend: LAPC – Finding something red

An autumn walk in Bend, Oregon 8October2019

A beautiful October walk along the Mill A Loop Trail in Bend, Oregon. The rising sun’s rays highlight gold and red fall foliage. The sunlight was hitting the trees just right on this autumn walk.

An American flag flies from one of the Old Mill smokestacks. Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) renovated the 28,000-square-foot former lumber mill and opened a retail store there in 2005. They retained much of the building’s historic charm and it’s one of Bend’s iconic landmarks.

The Lens-Artist Photo Challenge (LAPC) today is Find Something Red.