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

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!

Dolphins in Flight: Monochrome Monday

This sculpture by Robert Dow Reid is called Rhapsody. It’s located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The artist captured their playful spirit perfectly.

Dolphins in flight, Kelowna, B.C., Canada July 1998

Monochrome Monday

Candids of Critters: LAPC

Sometimes you get lucky when you’re taking candids of critters. This little burrowing owl gave me a knowing wink right when I took its picture.

Candids of critters. Burrowing owl blinking. Oregon

We visited the Caswell Sculpture Garden in Troutdale, Oregon a couple days ago. This sculpture of two great blue herons is right by the entrance.

Great blue heron sculpture by Rip Caswell, Troutdale, Oregon

I noticed a movement near the willows right behind this sculpture. I spied a real great blue heron!

Great blue heron, Troutdale, Oregon

This ground squirrel didn’t want me to know where it was hiding its cache. It had so much in its cheek pouches it could barely walk.

Candids of critters. Ground squirrel, Bend, Oregon

These spotted pigs look content in this shot, but one of the piglets had just escaped its enclosure. I scooped it up and returned it to its family.

Pig and piglets. Hood River, Oregon

There are lots of opportunities to take candids of critters right on our property. This morning I was out walking my dogs and I noticed this orange tabby cat. He blended in so well with the plants around him that my dogs didn’t even notice him.

Orange tabby hiding in the weeds Bend, Oregon

I took this candid shot of my dog, Shelby, relaxing on the window seat. See her ball right next to her head? She is dreaming of when she can play fetch again. ūüėÄ

Candids of critters Dog sleeping with ball

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Candid

Crane Creek Ranch Sculpture

I saw this metal sculpture of a stagecoach on a recent trip and wanted to experiment with how to present it. I chose to use a digital version of the autochrome process.

Stagecoach sculpture at Crane Creek Ranch near Lakeview, Oregon Autochrome 1November2017

When this process was first presented at the Paris Photo Club by the Lumiére brothers in 1907, it was a turning point in color photography. Other methods existed but this process used a novel ingredient Рpotato starch. Glass plates were covered with grains of potato starch dyed red, green, and blue. Carbon black and a thin emulsion layer were added and the plate was flipped and exposed to light. The image could be developed into a transparency.  To see some of the dreamlike photos created with this process, click here.

The sculpture is on Highway 140, northeast of¬†Lakeview, Oregon. The artwork is near a locked gate with “Crane Creek Ranch” over the entrance.

Here’s what my original image looked like:

Stagecoach sculpture at Crane Creek Ranch near Lakeview, Oregon 1November2017

Weekly Photo Challenge – Experimental