The first time I saw the image I stood before it transfixed. Fully consumed by it as all sensory perceptions of my surroundings faded into nothingness. Certain images, and landscapes, have a way of drawing the soul in.
For me, Frank Howell's Blue Raven was one of those experiences. Each time I visited the Santa Fe gallery it was the same, until I finally succumbed one visit and purchased a framed print. This was not me, at all. I collected folk art, jewelry from vendors who walked through Earl's Restaurant in Gallup, beadwork at powwows, Morning Star quilts and Pendleton blankets for loved ones. But never anything like this. It took several months to find a vehicle roomy enough to accommodate the piece in order to get it from the gallery in Santa Fe to our home in the East Mountains of Albuquerque. Once it was home, Blue Raven lived in our dining room and kept watch over all the comings and goings of the entire household. Until the world as we knew it suddenly ceased to exist.
It was all a blur, sometimes impossible to parse out the sequence of events. The separation, the planes crashing into the towers, impending divorce, the questions: where to go, how to start over again, what to take, what to give up, how to survive, who do I trust? My 'Sister' made the arrangements ... 'Grandpa' would come. It would not be a blessing, not this time. The day came and went, and Blue Raven ultimately became a pivotal point in the ceremony. Blue Raven had to come with me when I left. For 10 years Blue Raven held a commanding place over the dining room table once again in what was 'The Sanctuary'. Having barely survived the divorce, with the war and political consequences of 9/11 still threatening, 'The Sanctuary' was all that was left. And then the recession hit, hard. Once again, the questions loomed: where to go, how to start over again, what to take, what to give up, how to survive, who do I trust? Much more was lost this round, and there was no 'Sister' or 'Grandpa'. But Blue Raven was a part of the gypsy entourage, once again, and ended up living a humble existence in storage on a Wyoming ranch while I set out to find stable work and a stable home, neither of which I have been able to find during the past 5 years. And, so, here I am. Back in Wyoming this week. And what greets me in this latest version of sanctuary at Linda's ranch as I once again attempt to piece things together? My beloved Blue Raven.