My great-grandfather on my mother's side painted this chair. I never met him in person. I met him through stories and photographs and occasionally I meet him in the mirror. And these mountains I now call home were his.
This modern pioneers life was manifest destined I suppose. Oregon trail from Arkansas.1865, Westward ho and all that. I'm not really proud and yet I am. It's complicated. I've read the journal my great, great grandfather left behind. Kill or be killed. Land grabs. I've listened to my grandma tell the tales of life just down the road from where I now live. She's 91, still alive, and can remember when...gravity fed cold water only, heat the kettle for the weekly bath, hand wash, hand sew, knit, grow, preserve. And great grandma really didn't want that 'lecricity... but the lines were strung and eventually they had electric light to illuminate their black and white world.
When things were good, it was due to hard work. No such thing as luck. Maybe a blessing or two, sure. But that was also from the hard work of daily prayer and righteous living.
Sometimes it's like he's sitting in that chair. He thinks I'm soft and a bad shot. I envy him. His virgin old growth forest and the straight line he could walk through it all. Things don't feel like that to me, cut and dried, right and wrong. The birds circle overhead, but I don't let them nest in my hair. And he's right, I am a bad shot. But I'm not soft. And I'm a pioneer, a warrior and a provider just as he was...only in a different time and with different tools.