When people first enter the Trading Post it is our pleasure to strike up a conversation; to make them feel comfortable enough to get to know and trust us. As our dear old Daddy puts it: "You have to sell yourself before you can sell your product!" Because Craig, Steve and I are less than toothsome and showing plenty of wear and tear, we can not rely on good looks to make the introduction easier. As sister Cindy is fond of saying: "You have lost your luster." Because we are not and do not have the where-with-all to be "a character" like our father, we must put forth the effort to become better conversationalists. With this in mind, we do our best to steer clear of the easy and over-used intros, such as: "Can I help you?", "Where ya from?", or our three year old sidekick Lalana's favorite opener: "What's your name?"
Navajo Pastoral Scene Basket by Alicia Nelson
We are not, however, adverse to falling back on our surroundings to begin the banter. The main topic of conversation around the Trading Post these days is of the local lifestyle, the land, the vacillating seasons and, the hottest topic of all....moisture or the lack there of. After listening to us speak so eloquently of our fair landscape one thirty something year old, red-headed lass from the Emerald Isle told us: "You people are pastoralists." Not sure if I was being insulted or not I moved over to the computer behind the cash register and began to Google Pastor....I froze up on the spelling for a moment but was aided in my quandary by the young woman. She had slipped up behind me as if anticipating my action. "alists", she finished the spelling for me. "Leprechaun!" I muttered under my breath. It turned out that the pretty young lady was a teacher and proceeded to upgrade my vocabulary. The adjective pastoral refers to the lifestyle of pastoralists, such as shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasturage. It also refers to a genre in literature, art or music that depicts such shepherd life in an idealized manner, for urban audiences. As a noun, a pastoral refers to a single work of such poetry, music or drama. "That describes us perfectly!" was my satisfied reply.
There are some that understand and appreciate our bucolic attachment to local surroundings and others who do not. Steve was recently speaking with a visiting Hungarian economist and his family who became comfortable enough to blatantly ask "How can anyone live in this desolate place of rock and sand?" If Steve had not been so calmed by the influence of country life and a humble perspective toward nature he may have taken offense. My brother and business partner understands that sentiments of an ideal pastoral life is often something that is lost to those caught up in a cosmopolitan existence. We are but stewards of the Garden.
We do not always effectively present the philosophy we preach either. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a musing around a flight I took with a visiting pilot. In part it read: I shook my head, thinking, "No don't do this," and keyed the mike, which, of course, had a short in the wiring. As John glided left and dropped over the edge of the chasm a sense of calm overcame me. I breathed in the stream of cool, fresh air blowing across my face and relaxed into the dive. We leveled out somewhere around 500 feet above the brownish-red river, lined by green tasseled tamarisk. I looked up to the canyon rim and marveled at the highly textured rock formations drifting by. I was overwhelmed by the stream of stimulating visual impressions. We drifted over the roiling river and dipped our wing tips to the rankled rafters floating lazily below. As I watched the upturned faces and waving arms, I realized they were saluting us in an unfriendly manner. John informed me later that river guides do not much appreciate rip-roaring airplanes disturbing their peaceful float trips. No sense of humor I guess.
From this missive I received the following e-mail; Sorry Barry, Steve and the Team, I'm in agreement with "the river rafters"; I do not believe one human being should gain their pleasure by invading the space being used by others simply for their thrills. I have followed "Tied to the Post", stopped by for some good meals, purchased from Twin Rocks Trading Post, and encouraged friends to stop in when they were passing through Bluff. But I can't remain true to my belief that individuals should be considerate of others and stay on your mailing list, please remove me from your email list. Joe L.Meeker, Co., Talk about a faus pas. , much to my chagrin I made Joe angry. Unacceptable, unacceptable indeed! Sorry Joe and anyone else I may have offended. Time to get back into a more pastoral mode. While researching my word for the day I found a poem by Christopher Marlowe from The Passionate Shepherd. I have adapted but one word.
Come live with me and be my friend,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
With warm regards,
Barry, Steve and The Team
Great New Items! This week's selection of Native American art!
Our TnT's purchased new treasures! Check out Traders in Training!
Enjoy artwork from our many collector friends in Living with the Art!