To approach the badlands
is to find a gap in the known and expected world.
For several years I’ve had a friend trying to convince me to go on a silent retreat and so far I’ve managed to always find a reason to decline.
I’m just not good at that silence thing.
I seldom exist in it. When I’m home alone I have the television on in the morning, music the rest of the day. When I’m walking I’m saying my daily prayers or listening to NPR or classical music and if I don’t have that going in my ears, then frankly, I’m “taking” to myself….that voice in my head that keeps a running dialog with myself about what needs to be done at home, what’s going on with my family and friends….you know, that voice that’s always trying to solve the world’s problems.
Even in church….one would think I could appreciate the silence, but at mass I’m singing and listening to the readers and priest speak in addition to all that talking to God that’s going on in my head.
Honestly, most of the time there exists a cacophony in my head.
However, last August I visited an amazing place in South Dakota that’s all about silence. This sign greets you at the entrance to Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary:
If ever there was a place where I would welcome and perhaps find true silence, this would be a good place to start.
It might be a while before I’m ready for that retreat though…..
My week started out in Colorado and South Dakota where, although I looked for corners, they were decidedly lacking.
The landscape was more about wide open spaces and meandering trails.
And this kind of unique traffic jam, definitely not like the ones most of us are accustomed to on the corners of our cities.
All of us have favorite places that make us feel happy and complete. This is one of mine.
And it’s all because of this philosophy….
The artists who create in this studio never expected to be working artists. At one time they were simply people who received services from an organization called the Black Hills Works, which encompasses an amazing network of services for adults with challenges in the Rapid City, South Dakota area. The original art center was established in December 2001 in memory of Suzie Cappa, who received services from Black Hills Works. It was an office, a storage closet and one room. The newest center has just opened in an entirely renovated storefront in downtown Rapid, to fulfill a vision of providing a publicly accessible forum for artists of all abilities to come together to create and promote the arts.
Meet Colleen. She recently moved to Rapid City and has been a wonderful addition to the Art Center. She is very independent and loves stripes and bright colors. One of her favorite subjects is whimsical trees. From personal experience I found that although she initially hated the flash on my camera, she eventually came to trust me and ended up being one of my favorite artists to photograph, especially once I turned off that annoying flash!
This is her corner of the studio.
And here is Colleen proudly showing two of her finished pieces.
Better yet, Colleen herself is a work of art….from the inside out and the outside in!
These are the two people who make it all happen, Brad and Carla. I can’t say enough wonderful things about them. The are heroes in the true sense of the word. And they get it, they just absolutely get it.
And because pictures tell a thousand words, I’m going to stop writing and leave you with images taken at the Center over the course of one week in April. Have I said yet just how much I love this place?!?
To learn more please “like” Suzie Cappa on Facebook or visit this link.