Out for an Afternoon Ride

"An Afternoon Outing" by Elizabeth Luallen

“Out for the Afternoon” by Elizabeth Luallen

The fine upstanding ladies of this here town have come out to parade through the hot dry prairie. What are they doing here? There is nothing but wasteland. The mangey dog scrounges along beside the wagon hoping against hope for some sudden good fortune. And the men seem to be bit friendly with each other. They enjoy some discrete understanding or joke, or had a bit too much to drink, as they size up the wagon’s occupants in the desert plains just north of the middle of no where.

It could be the oldest profession, but even if you are well established, you’ve still got to get out and beat the bushes. And, if you don’t have a babysitter you might as well bring along the kids. Yes, the West was rude and brutish and often short, so one had better get to the point and make it brief. Marriage then was more like buying a car today. A test drive, two bits on the dresser for the trouble, or you got hitched, and in the most immediate way. Simpler times. Perhaps better?

Joy and Courage

"Above the Fray" by Elizabeth Luallen

“Above the Fray” encaustic painting by Elizabeth Luallen

We tend to think of eventless calm or some special circumstance when we consider the transcient and transparent experience of joy. But could courage be its secret companion? To face the perilous danger, to live for terror, to plan for a picnic on the razor’s edge: could this be joy?

A circus performer has abandoned all reason, perched tiptoe on the worn saddle of three-ring circus horse, in a dangerous cantor before the crowd. Do they hope she will crash into the muck and straw of the fairground? We know, as she knows, that success is inevitable. Whereever there is joy, there is courage; and where courage, you find that success is inevitable, regardless of the circumstance, or outcome.

Alone at last?

Must we be alone to find peace? Must we be in the midst of our cherished desires to be finally at rest? An artist steps amongst the stones of a shallow stream, distant in thought.

Stones become gems, and idle moments are rendered timeless when we are alone; that is, if we find ourselves a likeable companion. If not, being alone is a living hell that we feel obliged to share.

But when we’ve crossed the stream, when we’ve come this far to do what we set out to do, when we have finally arrived at a secret accomplishment, there is the possibility of peace with ourselves. And then, perhaps one can be a friend at last.

painting by Elizabeth Luallen

Original encaustic by Elizabth Luallen