It was a gorgeous Thursday evening in Bluff. I was posted at the cafe, and found myself staring west out the plate glass windows. The air outside was cold and clear, and I could see a young couple walking up the road in my direction. Even though they were two blocks away I could tell by their posture and the steam of their breath they were chilled. Highlighting the advancing duo was the makings of a spectacular sunset. The high level cirrus clouds created by the north wind were brushed across the horizon and ablaze with refracted light from the setting sun. Toss in textures of gnarled and twisted cottonwood trees and the vibrant orange glow of surrounding cliff faces and we had the makings of a memorable picture postcard.
The server on staff that evening walked up to me, texting on her cell phone as she came. Momentarily looking up to see what I was looking at, she noticed the advancing couple. "The first customers of the evening?" she asked. Closely inspecting her while she thumbed the phone, I could not help thinking what an abbreviated lifestyle these kids lead, so I asked, "Did you even see that magnificent sunset?" The young woman looked up from her handset, spent a full three seconds eying the spectacular event and said, "Oh yeah, pretty." "That's it?" I blustered, "That's all you can muster?" The waitress gazed at me strangely and took second look outside, to see if she had missed something. Her expression confirmed that, yes, that was indeed, it, nothing had been overlooked. "You know," I said, "not so very long ago a sunset like that might have caused the local tribes a great deal of anxiety. They may have seen it as foretelling an ominous event." My words had double meaning. Our staff has been warned that electronic devices are barely tolerated in this workplace, and the abuse of cell phone privileges was ill-advised.
My young employee either did not catch my double meaning or consciously chose to ignore the metaphor, because she maintained her digital conversation. Stopping only briefly, she inquired, "Ominous, how?" I told the server the Sun and the Moon were once considered powerful deities, and the earth-surface people paid close attention to their subtle, and not so subtle, actions. Those people were in-tune with the natural world, and respected visually stimulating warnings from those in control of their agrarian world. I told her that if a war party, a trip or an event was planned and a sunset like that occurred, the people would reconsider their intentions or, possibly, suffer the consequences. More seriously, if an eclipse occurred the chances of a catastrophic event might be expected if one did not duck and cover for several days.
Ceasing to text for a moment, the waitress looked at me to see if I was serious and then looked out at the fading sunset's dying embers. As the young couple enter the cafe, the server slipped the phone into her pocket, picked up two menus and, before delivering them, said to me, " I guess we all now understand the science behind the event, and that the myth is just a bunch of nonsense." "Yeah, well," I said, "don't come crying to me when the god of thunder throws a lightning bolt down on your head, frying your bacon. Overlook the warning, suffer the consequences." The waitress ignored me the rest of the night. After closing the cafe, I hopped in my car and navigated up Cow Canyon. The nearly full moon was brilliant; lighting the monuments, mesas and sparse vegetation in a most spectacular manner. As I drove north, I felt cheered by the luminescence surrounding me.
The next morning my work was centered at the trading post. When I arrived at the store, I found Steve camped at the computer behind the cash register, shaking his head in a frustrated manner. He was logged onto the news of the day. Thinking back to that ominous sunset, I asked, "Uh oh, did something bad happen?" "Nothing more than an indecisive Republican party and a whole lot of negative campaigning," he replied. "Oh good," I said, "last night's sunset and the overwhelming moon-glow had me worried." " I saw that," said Steve, "I just figured the Sun and Moon were flattered by Elsie's latest basket." "What are you talking about?" I asked. Steve pursed his lips and nodded to the right." My eyes followed, resting upon one of the most spectacular baskets I had seen in quite some time. "Elsie brought that in just before sundown," he said. Continuing on, he told me, "That basket was made to compliment Sun and Moon, and I believe it did." "I believe you're right." I said. "That was not an ominous sunset and moon rise at all, that was a blush and a beam."
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!