Short Stories

 

Buffalo

 

The Buffalo Cries ... it's dying.

Written May 1992

( An experience in Vancouver.)( Art's Crawl 1991 )

 

When Vina got home, she immediately picked up the telephone and called me, ... at work. I was busy and couldn't talk to her, so I would have to return her call later.

All was going well with our Art's Crawl plans.

I finished the tune-up on my old VW Bus and cleaned up.

I was ready to go home today, and usually looked forward to these bits and pieces with Vina, specially after work. Somehow my living was a bit empty and overly emotional without these pieces of excitement. Ooohh yes, I was ready. It had been a few days since the last time we discussed more plans for our million dollar adventure. And I was ready for a few more ideas.

Went home.

Empty spaces amid my humble quarters showed no more excitement than any other day whatsoever. All the drapes, records, and books, were still in the same place where they had been for so long that the dust glowed even in the darkish atmosphere showing little excitement, if any. I put on a quiet record for meditation and clearing.

I felt like sniffing the air that I meditate on and see what was happening. No sooner had I sat down, ... I changed my mind. I took a shower to clean off the automobile stench, ... I had barely touched the towel to my wet hair when, ... the phone rang.

"I met the most wonderful lady today and drew her an angel."

Great.

"She's an indian lady, and she was showing her wares in front of the Safeway market. She does the most exquisite work."

Ok. Next. (Always have an editorial tone about my lines, don't I?)

"She's going to visit us during the Art's Crawl at the placed where ever it is, anyway, and she's planning to come for a reading."

You have been busy...

"I am so excited, just had to tell someone."

At least we know that someone will come to see the work you do so well.

"Well,...you always say such nice things about my work..."

Anything else?

"That was it...I was just too excited to have a spirit friend."

Vina's greatest complaint has always been that there have only a few friends that she has been able to come up with. I being one among them. Many have been called but few have shown up. And this has been a bit frustrating for both of us. Because of our individual situations, she is married and I am single, there always is the chance that something may happen between us which could be counter productive to the work we do. I don't think it will ever happen, cooler minds prevailing, as they say. But it puts a dent on us being able to do a lot more work at times, that would help establish herself and her wonderful work a bit more. Somehow there is always more fear and weirdness than is actually there...gosh, if we were to have done everything anybody thinks about, I just don't know how we would have time to do anything else....But it is really funny. There must be at least two to three comments about us being married every time we do a show together. Gee,...we don't even have a clandestine affair going....Somehow, over the years we have managed to sustain a certain amount of care and love for each other which surpasses all else. It is based on respect, and an uncanny understanding for helping each other at the worst of times. Her husband is not well. And he could leave us at any time, which is one of the foremost reasons I try to help her with her work, hoping it will help her survive on her own feet when the times come. She is a bit too soft and I wish I could get her to realize she may actually have to work and earn a few farthings here and there one of these days if she is to avoid falling prey to the situations she may not be very happy with. She's a bit spoiled that way, but nevertheless she still manages to make time to meditate and draw when the gumption hits her, which is all the time when she comes across a set of colors and rays which do her in. And man, can she do it. But if she is spoiled, the lines she uses have yet to know the meaning of the word spoiled. And every time she comes up with something new, it is easy to assume that she has yet to use one percent of the line"s capabilities, so I finally figured the pressure is on the line, not on her ability to create. But creation is easy when you see what you are doing, and that is her case.

Our friendship has been based on extremely open communication which has helped the many creative urges we share fly in many directions. Whoever thought that the only way one could create is if they have a 'relationship'???

In the past year or two alone she has come up with new creations such as Deva drawings ( funny how people want to talk about devas, but comparing their talk and thoughts to the ideals which the drawings appear to show has not yet been considered...she has done some twenty to thirty of them and they started six months after Carey, and two weeks after MacLean) ,a series of Mayan pictures, a series of Aztec pictures, and a variety of things..like....I happen to play with Tarot cards and one day we were yakking about the conventional meanings of many cards and how I felt they were limiting in a reading, ...one of the reasons why I felt a specific deck was superior to another, (it incorporates real 'art' in the meaning, thus a stronger and more dimensional approach) not necessarily the best to use, ...how another deck was less compromising for readings when it came to no nonsense such and such questions and that is the way it is ...trivial unless you are a card reader ...and now she is creating a series of Tarot cards which will be deciphered by the readings she will draw from her meditations, ...and the artistic style is further yet different than I have ever seen ( including the history of art in any book !!! ) and recognizes other dimensions which I have not yet found in her art, or anywhere.

And thus we live day to day, calling each other to tell the newest news and thoughts we have, for it seems all of our grandiose plans are not in the palate a public, yet. Today I had a line from the novel I am working on ( "The Ewewan" -- not available to the public yet and unfinished -- Ed. 2009 ) and it went something like this ... " ...if God has a voice, then it is the whisper of the universal experience which has been before us ..." and to me it meant that which we call God is not a person per se, but a personalized set of ideas we have created to satisfy our needs. And I feel that a set of ideas and specialized anything gets in the way of us learning about it all. And by specialized ideas I mean things like the unknown ( to us ) which is not often considered. God has become the Master of everything we know, instead of everything we do and do not know. I felt this line while writing my novel as stating itself as a definition that God both knows and does not know, as much as we do, and do not, no more and no less. Thus God is as much us as we are Him, or all the great masters are nothing but yakkers and talkers.... And she returns with something like " ...praying for Satan's salvation, ... " which I immediately know it means the final end of dualities as we know them...

...and, of course, time passes by, always on the phone trying to set up something with a bookstore or two. Maybe we can find a psychic show we can afford and do, while also enjoying ourselves for a chance. One can't just believe in spirits, if they are in the books and tapes they sold out there, don't you think.?? I mean do we all love spirit, but can never figure out when it walks in the door.?? Really, if you believe all this stuff, you wouldn't be reading about it, or deliberating on it. You would be working with it in some capacity, wouldn't you.?

We have spent the better part of our friendship figuring out how we are going to make a couple of dollars here and there to help begin covering some of our expenses here and there. We have gone as far as setting up a few workshops, and we lost money in both of them,... couldn't do them. Let's see, got our plugs pulled once, no support; had to cancel the second, baddest atmosphere this side of ...; the third one, Marion wasn't feeling too swift. And when one goes for several weeks without a single call, to even ask a question or two, there are only two possibilities left. We aren't very good, or they aren't really into it. You see, we violated the code most used here,... don't call us, we'll call you when we can make money off, and with you. We don't have time for investing in new endeavors, and you're a little strange anyway. We spend much of the time fighting the desire to dump it all, were it not for the beauty of the work and the fact that we have done a series of workshops and readings ( sold out, too ) in Northern California where the response was not only good, it was incredible. There are times when it all feels like our very own teenage off-springs, doesn't it.? They have to forsake their parents, just so they can find some piece of mind, some space to grow, I mean anything which helps them discover who they are...and is that a crime.? No.!!! We have to leave town to 'verify' our own integrity, abilities and beauty of the art ( some four hundred pictures, and then some ) and what we talk about. Vision. VISION. VISION. We know it's human nature. Unfortunately, what we end up finding is that some of us still have to hide a lot of the things we do during our own time, just so our husbands and loved ones do not find out that we met with a real psychic, today...let me tell you, ... many have done that with Vina, or something like that, anyway. At least that's the only reason I can muster why most people respond to the art with awe, sheer impressiveness, incredible looks,... and then they do not respond to some of our mailers... like hi and hello and we are alive and well, would be soooo nice. This always renders us speechless and not knowing what to do next. I mean, we do have emotions, too. Our favorite expression arrives at this point before we have a big bonfire of our very own vanities,... water under the bridge. What else is there to say, think and hope,... any advice.?

Somehow we had been able to get into the Art's Crawl. It had a nice ring to it, and I thought, why not. This should be a bit different. I called around to find out what this was going to be all about and then see if we were in the mood. Hey, it didn't look too bad. You invade a place, which is offering snacks for the wandering hordes on their way to another store, with more snacks, and having fun drinking while they are at it. Hey,.. artists just love people drinking around their art,... it usually helps them spend a little more money on a picture or two. We had a place, a patisserie, or small restaurant with the appearance and outlook of a sidewalk Cafe in Paris, which was agreeable to us, and now we were ready to bowl them over with the WORK.

I was done thinking, ruminating and writing for the night. Tired in ways more than one, I finally went to bed. I fell asleep so fast, that I don't remember even counting the sheep jumping over the fence, running away from a bad wolf...it's a wonder I EVEN remember that much.

 

NEXT DAY

The next day I got up and went to work early enough for my supervisor to let me go early, so I could spend time setting it up the show.

Let's see. I had to go and get the Gingerbread House and whatever art we decided to put up for the show. We definitely decided on the biggies because we figured they would set up the mood and blow enough people away, and of course, attract some attention. Unfortunately the Gingerbread House is extremely heavy, in a glass case and gold frame molding. It needs several pairs of hands to get moved. I had to find a pair of hands to help move it. The only pair I could find was Cathy's, my neighbor and a bit of a friend with whom I have wanted to have an affair (a Scorpio lady .... yak, aren't I just awful.??.) but never really felt that it would be alright to do so without feeling like I was taking advantage of her person and situation. Cathy was great. She's tough enough and can carry more weight than most men I have met...and she has guts where most people have lip service. We took it down there, despite having to ignore Marion's pride going for a walk, when he saw it was a woman helping me. He's a bit disabled, and not capable of doing physical work that is body wearing...but it was all ok. We got to the place, set up the big table with ten thousand throws ( the colorful liners on the table ) and everything we had thought of and placed the mastodons on top of the table. I took Cathy home, and promised her, lunch or dinner. We did share some 'dates' here and there, but never went beyond the point of respect and care for each other.

I now had to get the rest of the art and Vina. And then go finish setting it all up.

We arrived, lock, stock and barrel, my van full, and met Gary G., the owner. Nice guy. We took down his pictures, which is all they really were. And after a few typical arguments with Vina as to which picture goes next to which other picture, we put up ours. Since we could not put new holes in the walls ( there were some the size of golf balls, already, we were limited to as many pictures as there had previously been up in the wall, about seven or eight, and we made sure that all spaces were taken up, and we invented a few spaces of our own to end up with twelve or thirteen of the primo pictures. The others went on a table inside a gigantic (26x36 or so) wedding picture album, which people could paginate and admire. All told, there were at least two hundred pieces people could look at.

We were ready.

We had a glass of wine, courtesy of our host and sat down to wait for our spoils and fortunes. We had such high hopes for these shows. We much prefer art shows to psychic shows, although the crowd is different. In the art circles you got the hunters praying over the wolf skins, and the wolf is hungry on top of it; in the psychic circles the wolf has had it, and the folks are the prey, that is, some readers are so concerned with money making that they prey upon people as a french king once did over blackbirds. ( I presume God is the hunter is this fairy tale ). It's called target practice on their predesignated goal of attention. It would do William Tell proud. but I still can't understand why their ability varies according to their smile, itself the result of their target practice ability on any given day....

And people started coming.

And did they ever.

From the halls of this city, from the offices of the tie wearing companies, from spaces where 'professional' is the only word in the vocabulary. And they came for the free wine and chocolate strawberries. They were good, too. And they saw the art and were stunned by the Gingerbread House. And they were impressed with Vina, dressed in one of her typical Hollywood star/goddess dresses ( it's actually called the fairy dress and looks exactly like Tinkerbell's dress in Fantasia ) and it all was looking so good that it was hard to believe it could get any better than this,... I mean, what artist does not dream of a room full of people..?? would we sell anything,...? would we gain a friend or two,...? the president of a bank told us to come

by and talk about this venture...

And the aforementioned indian lady and her husband entered the space and wanted to talk to Vina and I. He was terribly upset. He didn't look any more like an Indian than I did at all, and was formally dressed. He had a rather boorish appearance. And he was pist. I mean really pist. That's the only word that could define his attitude. He was upset that Vina had drawn a spirit picture for his wife, and he wished to let us know that it was extremely taboo to do such an ugly deed. To the indian it meant that his spirit was being stolen from them, which in reality is an old throwback to the early days of photography when many indians saw for the first time a picture of themselves. There are many indians who now accept that it was an over reaction at the time, as they had not seen anything like it before, a bit of a culture shock, more than true reality. He asked me if I knew of the curse of the white buffalo. I said that I was not totally unaware of it (which is true,...I had read some Ruth Beebe Hill by this time) and that it had more symbolic meaning to me than any real threat. He said that he was so upset that he had the mind to set the buffalo after us for doing such a dastardly deed. We finally prevailed with cooler minds and saying that we would do away with the picture and reading without anyone knowing. I remembered thinking that I had never met a true man of spirit and heart that feared his shadow or reflection of any kind. And Vina cried, right there. And magically, all of a sudden there was no longer a crowd, only a few people here and there,...still impressed with the work.

We finished the day on a sour note.

A few people had said that they would return around 9pm and maybe even set up an appointment with Vina for either showing the art personally and explain it, or perhaps, simply, for a reading. At 8pm Gary G. said he had twenty minutes to close shop. Vina and I had to pack in a few minutes, loading my van as best we could.

And we were done.

We never heard from anyone at all and somehow there was not even a single call or invite for us to do another show the following year. To Gary G. we must have been a hindrance that came and went. It felt that way. We never even got a thank you or any indication that the art meant anything at all, other than adding to the work load of a restaurateur, which I knew was a lot, even after all the commotion and outstanding response we were getting. We did get a paper mention the size of an ant, nooohh, make that two ants, in the Portland paper courtesy of a nice critic and gentleman who liked Vina's work. It felt like (and still feels) that we are blacklisted from the local ragamuffin paper. Mr. Firstenmeyer is still the bank president who said at the show that (he did have a few glasses of wine...) we should come by and he would see what he could do about helping us, I think that meant some financing. Mrs. Horowitz is still the council member who thought we should be better treated by the local arts community that is run by rich old ladies who do their aquarelles for their rich and colorful fireplaces. But she's too busy playing the role of important person in the city council, and she's one of these old ladies....

And we were left thinking that Art has nothing to do with a nice picture for a bathroom or living room, not what it should be. Thus a second rate copy that was found on the back of the frame shop, that's all we saw in at least two other places one with a good reputation for 'art', with a well thought out framing job should command a three hundred dollar price, while the hand carved specialty we offered with silk wings, miniature beads and powdered glass was expected to be sold for twenty dollars. And we can't even make copies of one third of these pictures since they are so specialized, that a copy can never approach the level of the original. No profit there. And there are many that think we are really obnoxious, and they do not care for my view of art.....gosh, I don't suppose they have been to the Louvre, or the British Museum, except in the little book they may have once seen in their school days, ... wonder if they ever looked out their window to see the truest art form of all right in front of their eyes.... ohh Georgie, that's just too ugly, ...and I am not about to admit that my job pollutes the air, not to mention the mind.

We cried when we got home.

Marion was disappointed, for he thought he would sure gain a dollar or two to help pay for his investment in his wife's indulgence. I have spent over four to five thousand dollars in the course of time and am paying for it in interest, which should make it ten ggg's by the time it all gets paid, if not twenty by the time Mr. F. finds out that he does care for an artist or two. Apparently, and she will not confide too openly on this to me, they have spent nearly six to seven grand to satisfy our needs to get this whole thing right. Such is the price of perfection and a serious attempt to define the vision or two included in the process.

Regardless, and of course, everyday, we meet these little beings of light and are glad. Next to those sights, it's difficult to get disappointed by what people do and say. I know all this feels sad, and this account shows some of it. It really isn't my desire to make it sad. I wish to help them all see their errors, if that is truly the case, and hopefully they will not do it again to somebody else. I still love them, Mr. G., Mr. F., Mrs. H., and the many others. I do believe they mean well.

We were tired.

Marion had a wonderful snack for us. That bowl of soup and slice of bread was just too scrumptious. And I did have some wonderful dreams that evening. But since I had been abstaining from any physical contact with members of the opposite camp, for over two years, I was not thrilled to meet any spirit lover. It felt pointless at the moment. It all did. Love and life. It felt like death.

The next morning I went to work. I was hurt and had fallen so sick that I had to go home early.

Vina called me later. She had cut up the angel and the wisdom that went with it, in small pieces, and had burned it. She then, had buried the ashes with a prayer. Sachalkta, one of our most efficient spirits assisted by appearing and helping to smudge the grounds. We were told not to worry. But we were hurt, no matter how much we could deny, and hide, and be consoled by truly friendly spirits.

And disappointed.

And no friends to talk to.

And a family that still thinks Vina is playing with her arts and crafts and that her work is another potpourri.

We were further in debt.

The next day I sat up and wrote a poem.

...

( I don't title them... ed)

 

Never in my, mine, yours, have we met

a true spirit anything, man or woman

whose gait was so bright, so awesome that

they feared losing their many shadows.

Oh god, dear god, where have we come to,

that we all speak of you, think of you,

but we don't see you, or be with you,

in person,

or in the flesh,

or in the spirit,

when it all must count.

My shadow stalks every being

and in due time will teach the way

of doing

of playing

of seeing

until the fear we carry will decay

their inner, small heart of thought

and

onthat day they will learn

that all was setup for nought

but for you to grow and yearn

like knights who have grown

fought, and fought, and sown

more truth for the spirit

in one battle,...

Never shall I again fear my shadow

as that of love, or perhaps fear,

lest I discover that I am hollow

and haven't shed my skin, my tear,

...

And no true spirit of heart

shall ever gain the insight

until they too forever part

with their imagined light,

...

True lightllives here with me

and it shall forever live and see

...

I didn't have the courage to call those people back and tell them of the poem and experience. Or find out at a later time how they felt about it all, and could we have a nice discussion about the subject, it may help us understand indians, and help them get more modern with no loss of character or spirit. I hope, one day, they can see it all written down in the annals of time, and discover that we meant no more and no less than true love; and that we went about our way with as much ardor as a child does his imagination and love. And hopefully there aren't many indians out there who fear their own strength because they believe in superstition or an out of date belief. I suppose the difference between them and I is apparent here, as I was born, reared and educated amidst people who were superstitious, but all in all, they at least knew that their history was laden with mistakes and superfluous superstitions. It says something about true belief, history doesn't lie, and neither does it hide the truth. It's ok to be an indian today, but not ok to be an educated and an intelligent indian...that understands the relationship between vision ( true sight ) and ideas...? or a real person at that....I hope the new age will help change all that.

I am finding that all this movement appears to be doing is replacing old symbols with new ones. And eventually these symbols will have to go. And then one has to start all over again attempting on top of it to figure out where they went wrong. I tend to think that life is too short for us to have enough time to deal with these errors.

Vina and I haven't been quite the same since. Even our loved ones would rather quote an article about someone who did, or didn't, than they would ask a question or two about what we are doing or trying to do. We aren't verified. The paper is.

We still believe what we know.

We still are moving and growing.

Most of our old friends have given up to situations which are material, not fully blessed, and go to church on Sundays to make a feeble attempt to excuse themselves.

We begin each Sunday in the early morning with a meditation.

It includes a prayer for all.

We know that soon, very soon, we will be heard.

And I hope I am not being vain and merely blowing hot air, by saying that this work is extremely meaningful...and helpful to a lot of people, that the only thing missing is an inch of understanding by the other side, instead of some xenophobic ideas.

The next day we found Ken Carey's far out little book called The Return of the Bird Tribes, which someone had told Vina to read.

The day after that, I had to go to Vina's at 4AM to help her calm down as Marion hadn't been able to do it. She had been crying for several hours. He couldn't figure it out. I knew it was a letting go of sorts related to the work we had been doing.

She had wished me to read the book and then put it on tape for her. I said no and told her she had to read at least one book in my lifetime. She is not the avid reader I am. And she took upon herself to do it. As it turns out she was found out much later that the reason for her not reading very well has to do with dyslexia. That tells all of us that dyslexic people should always be artists or musicians,... period... that may even explain a Picasso, don't you think...?

She had been bombarded. And I think she finally realized the importance of her own work and its relationship to the Bird Tribes, as they had been so lovingly described.

I am seeing that one glorious sunny day, when this work will be found out and then it will get carried out of the doldrums of our minds and into the eyes and hearty hands of those who need, and above all, absolutely deserve it.

I have come to think that if we haven't 'made it' yet, it is because it could still get corrupted, which Vina and I have fought time and again. It is going to be done right, and with the proper people, and at the proper time. We believe in the clarity, the beauty and the continuity of loving for the whole duration of each and every millisecond of each day.

I think, in due time, we will meet the friends necessary to help us achieve our goals, when the right time comes, and we can finally say that we are indeed doing the work of God, this time not only for ourselves, but for those who need it. And we will enjoy sharing a cup of tea ( and Marion's biscuits, or bread ) with each other as .....all the spirits in this immense pool of shinning stars and hearts do ... and have for so very long, since time immemorial, illuminated our hearts of life.

 

with much love,

And a Soria Maria for all the lost spirit tribes out there, knowing how much we all need you as much as you need us.

 

a slight bibliography...

Ken Carey, The Return of the Bird Tribes (book)

Dorothy MacLean, To Hear the Angels Sing (book)

Jan Garbarek, Eventyr (album of music)

Terje Rypdal and David Darling, Eos (album of music)

I believe in the true WORK of the spirit!

 

 

   

      

 

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