POTD: Patriot’s Dream #20

Patriot’s Dream #20
Scenic, South Dakota
2011

I’ve been traveling the last two days, arriving today in Topeka, Kansas for my first art show of the season. I’ll be on the road a total of about twelve days this time out and will post photos from along the way.

Scenic, South Dakota is on the south border of Badlands National Park. Composed primarily of a string of business buildings obviously designed to cater to tourists, I don’t know if it was named Scenic and then became a tourist trap or was a tourist trap that they named Scenic in hopes of drawing more travelers into town. Either way, it didn’t work. Except for a few private homes and one repair type business, the town is all shuttered, abandoned, faded and dilapidated.

POTD: Cave Nuggets

Cave Nuggets
Pictograph Cave State Park, Montana
2011

Some rather large (maybe three feet in diameter) chunks of rock embedded in the walls of one of the caves at Pictograph Caves State Park. From the looks of them, they may be about to become unembedded. (Or is that dis-embedded? My spell checker seems to think so.)

One on One
Pictograph Cave State Park, Montana
2011

A lone cloud and a lone tree…or maybe that’s two clouds, in which case the title is about the two clouds not the cloud and the tree.

POTD: Cave Ghosts

Cave Ghosts
Pictograph Cave State Park, Montana
2011

I took a little trip to Pictograph Cave State Park while staying in Billings for a few days a couple of weeks ago. The actual pictographs in the caves were so faded and hard to see, I found the stain marks from water seeping out of the cave walls as interesting a subject as the actual pictographs. This shot shows what looks like a crowd of ghosts, or maybe they’re space aliens.

POTD: Memorial Day

Memorial Day
Bozeman, Montana
2011

A lot of my Patriot’s Dream photos, such as the one from yesterday, perhaps have been interpreted as being a bit irreverent and indicating a lack of patriotism on my part. That’s actually not the case. In fact although I don’t see the flag as anything sacred, I take at least mild offense at times when I see the way it is used in a questionable or commercial manner. I mean, to the extent that it represents our country’s ideals, is associating it with dog poop the way it out to be displayed?

Patriotism is not the cavalier and trivializing display of the flag in every conceivable context as if that symbol consecrates any mundane activity with which it is associated. I find that mindset ironic and humorous in a cynical way. I think true patriotism is the willingness to do what your country asks of you (within reason–we don’t want anyone mindlessly participating in atrocities for the “sake of country”) even when it means sacrifice, perhaps extreme, on your part.

All wars are bad, but some are more righteous or unavoidable than others. WWII takes the top of that list in my book. I just finished reading a book on the war in the Pacific during WWII that chronicled the terrible human toll that occurred during that conflict as well as the unimaginable (to my generation in this country anyway) suffering and sacrifice of those who served in our armed forces during that time.

Memorial Day started as a tribute to those soldiers who died on both sides during the Civil War but has morphed into a time of remembering of all veterans whether they died in a war or not as well as to non-veterans who have died, or to many just another day off from work or yet another meaningless excuse for a big sale at your favorite retail outlet. Because WWII is on my mind, I chose to honor on this particular Memorial Day my father and his six brothers and half-brothers who all volunteered for the Navy during WWII and who fortunately all came back from the war alive and went on to live their lives as quiet examples of what true patriotism is really about.

POTD: Patriot’s Dream #19

Patriot’s Dream #19
Bozeman, Montana
2011

Do you suppose that appealing to a person’s patriotism lessens the chance their dog will poop on your lawn?

POTD: Remodel

Remodel
Billings, Montana
2011

Another new building construction abstract. This one was actually a remodel of an older building I think. I liked the lines and shapes as well as the pattern on the wall where the darker areas were caused by moisture from the rain storm that had been going on earlier soaking into the wall panels.