Monday, October 11, 2010

Sacred Ground!!!

For the past 4 months I've been running though the mountains of Montana like a wild indian on a war path, complete with face paint and a terrorizing war cry. Up until a few days back I even had a bow and arrow, but it was confiscated by the local law enforcement after a few misfired flaming arrows were shot down the streets of down town Missoula after a poker game that didn't go my way! After escaping that incident I decided it was best to get out of town and lay low for a bit to gather my thoughts and come up with a plan to get my bow back from the law. So a good friend of mine who we'll call Woody and I decided to hit the road and head into the southeast territory of the state. The plan was to soak in some hot springs, enjoy a few Montana brewed cold beers, and to formulate a new plan to take over the world. Seeing how the last one didn't work so well! I'm not going to go into much detail but it was good attempt and we almost got the plane off the ground on the second try.

On the way to the hot springs we turned off the main road to a place I've been wanting to visit for a while. It's where in 1877 the landmark Battle of the Big Hole between the US Military and a large camp of Nez Perec Indians who were on the run went down. This part of Montana is a very special place there's no doubt about it! A man can set out in any direction and explore here and indulge himself with good hunting, spectacular fishing, fantastic camping, and the 360 degree view of the landscape is definitely worth writing back home to Mom about!!!

The weather on this day was as perfect as perfect can get! A cool crisp 70 degree day with a slight breeze that was fluttering the freshly changing fall leaves on the trees under neath a beautiful Montana blue sky. I think we commented on how gorgeous the weather was at least 100 times between the two of us.
After packing up the camera gear we left the Jeep behind and headed down a trail that lead to the area where the battle took place. Walking down the path Woody started telling me how he was 3 percent Cherokee Indian, and also added that the first 4 years of his life he was raised by wild wolves in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. I don't think they have wolves in North Carolina I told him, they must have been coyotes! He smiled and agreed with me on the coyotes and added that they were the wildest, meanest, and biggest damn coyotes anyone had ever seen in those parts!

Looking up from the trail I glanced over to read a sign that read " You are now walking on Sacred Ground"! Chills instantly ran all the way down my spin and the ground beneath my feet took on a whole new meaning. I've been to several old unmarked Indian burial grounds back home, and I've experienced a mixture of different feelings when standing in the middle of them! This place was different though, it had a whole different touch and feel to it. A feeling of uneasy peace!

Rounding a left hand bend in the trail all the sudden we stopped dead in our tracks when we first laid eyes on the camp. There were up to 30 or 40 erected tepees with no skins on them that in a way resembled old skeletons to me. We made the observation that we were the only ones there and then proceeded to enter into this sacred place quietly and respectfully. Walking to the center of the camp, we found different tepees and began to photograph. After a while we then decided to lay back on the ground in the tepees close our eyes for a while and see how it felt.
Call it Visions, call it Dreaming, call it Spiritual, call it Bullshit if you want, doesn't make a shit to me! But whatever it was, it could be felt, heard, and envisioned all around!

After getting up and shaking it off I walked over to the creek that ran behind the camp to see how cold the water felt. While splashing water on my face I had to rub my eyes when looking up to see what I though was an Indian standing in the middle of the creek. Focusing my eyes I saw that it indeed was an Indian! A 3 percent Cherokee Indian that was raised by coyotes and goes by the name Woody!!!

I'd like to take the time to acknowledge and thank a few friends of mine. I've had the pleasure over the pass few months to hang out with these guys to talk shop about photography, take photos, and just sit around and bullshit. Their all good people and very talented photographers who I'll always admire. Thanks for everything!!!

Forest Woodward "Woody"
Athena Lonsdale
Nicole Wickens "Green Door Photography"
Tim Cooper
Doug Ness