Climbing upward from the river basin through washed out eroded paths, I summit the plateau, overlooking home, not visible. Here I sit listening to silence, awed by what I see: the openness of the sky, the bluffs carved out by the path of two great rivers, miles wide, joined into one. An endless terrain that seems to bend and disappear with the curvature of the earth, as sky and land become one.
I can hear the wind coming in rhythmic waves before it hits my face. I can smell the coming of rain with a storm on the horizon, while watching the grasses sway. Born and raised here, I know of the heritage of the land on which I sit. Even though time has brought about many changes, I can feel a strong, powerful, spiritual presence.
Could it be the spirit of the first ancestors of the great Lakota people who called this land “Flat Water”, which to us today has translated into “Nebraska?”
Could it be the spirit of the buffalo that came through this region by the thousands? Today, it’s hard to imagine seeing the ground move in the shape of thousands of buffalo, with thunderous sounds traveling across a land of free flowing waters and no fences.
Could it be the convergence of all powerful things in nature that has attracted and sustained humans and animals in this region for hundreds of years? My mind races with inspiration and thoughts as it’s emptied of modern day tasks and filled with the solitude, power and majestic beauty of nature.
Strikes of lightning and thunderous booms approach the valley, so my journey of inspiration, peace and serenity is coming to an end. I must start my descent. Leaving nothing behind except my initials carved on a wall of the cave in Initial Canyon, I begin my journey home. As I return to the river valley walking through grass waist high, I feel the thunderous presence of the buffalo and the heart of the Lakota people.
Material and Construction
- One fiberglass heart and Nebraska base created by Patrick Keough.
- Deconstruct a center portion of the cast in order to rebuild the frame to support additional weight of the new frame and wire mesh.
- The relief will be covered with fiber cloth and then resin to a finish. String and other cloth material will be used to create the bushy mane of the buffalo and the smoother rear surfaces.
- The base will be textured to look like grass with two buffalo tracks embedded into the base as well as the North Platte and South Platte Rivers.
- After all surface construction, the sculpture will be ready for primer and paint.
- The albino buffalo will be painted in two different shades of white, while the hooves, horns and mouth will be painted dark brown with eyes of blue to match the Lakota pattern.
- The Platte Rivers on the outside surface of the base will be painted in the same blue and silver.
- Finishing stage includes three coats of a UV protectant.
- Deliver Art to site location.