Friday, December 23, 2005

Lantern, Lantern and Mistletoe


I would like to share my Christmas Present with you!!

Reagan Emory Dahl, December 21, 2005

Sunday, December 18, 2005

What is memory
without memory?
Writing on the water
of time.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Worm was so surprised,
that ants were trying to get his snacks!!
That only goes to show, Worm wasn't very bright.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
~William Blake

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Small Cherry Tale...
There was a lady named Jean who lived deep in the Mojave desert. She wanted a cherry pie so she planted a little cherry tree. She watered it every day for years and years to keep it green and growing, but the tree never gave her any cherries. At last she grew angry with the tree and told it, "If you don't give me a cherry crop, I'm going to going to stop bringing you water!" The very next day as she was watering, she noticed the tree had grown one small, green cherry. Jean was very excited about her cherry crop and covered it carefully so the birds wouldn't find it. Every day she checked the cherry to see if it was ripe, and every day she saw the cherry had grown larger and more red. Jean thought, "If I wait a while longer it will be a great huge cherry and I will be able to make a great big cherry pie. Finally the cherry was almost perfectly ripe and quite large for a cherry. Jean said to herself, "Tomorrow morning at dawn, I shall pick this cherry and I will make a pie and eat it all myself".

That night, a terrible storm came thundering out of the western sky. Horrible, sizzling lightning strikes shattered boulders and booming thunder flattened cacti for miles around. A years worth of desert rain fell in a few minutes. Coyotes hid in their rocky dens, covering their ears with their tails, while poor rattlesnakes and Jackrabbits had to swim for their lives. Jean's house rocked back and forth in the wind but she didn't care, she was only worried about her cherry crop. As soon as the storm went grumbling away, Jean lit her lantern and went out to see what had happened. She was so shocked! Her tree was bare and the cherry was gone! Jean was very sad as she as she went to bed, all that work carrying water to her tree and now there was no hope for a pie.

When the earliest dawn came, someone woke Jean by tapping at her door. When she opened her door, she saw a tiny little elf standing on her doorstep with her whole cherry crop in his hands. Jean said, "Thank you very much." and tried to take the cherry from the elf. He chuckled and ran past her feet as quickly as a mouse. He ran into her kitchen, leaving his little wet footprints where ever he went. She ran after him and saw him scampering here and there, grabbing this and that, running up and down, mixing and patting and making a PIE!! It was the worlds smallest pie, but when it was baked, he shared it with Jean. They ate the pie as the new morning sun shone on a desert blooming with flowers. It was very small pie, but it was delicious!

~*Worlds Smallest Cherry Pie*~

1/8 tsp flour
1/64 tsp butter
Place flour and butter
in clean half walnut shell
cut with two toothpicks
until crumbly.
Add drop water and mix lightly
until a dough forms.
Roll into a pea sized ball
and wrap tightly with
one inch of plastic wrap.
Refrigerate one half hour.

1 tsp apple jelly
1 cherry cut into small pieces
3/64 tsp sugar
3 grains salt
tiny pinch of cinnamon
mix all ingredients

Roll out dough and carefully
line clean large thimble with it,
trim edges.
Fill with cherry mixture.
Decorate top with trimmings.
Bake 5 seconds with
a magic wand.
Serve warm.

© LDahl 2005

Monday, November 14, 2005

Strength In Numbers
When it gets a little scary, it's good to have friends.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tom was eating a piece of cherry pie and drinking a cup of black coffee. He could hear the old couple in the booth behind him arguing about something they had seen falling from the sky when they were driving down the mountain road that lead into this town. Tom wasn't intentionally eavesdropping, it was just that the old man was hard of hearing and if the volume was any indication, his wife wasn't much better. Tom felt his jaw muscles clench as he set his cup back in it's saucer harder than he'd meant to, he felt so irritated. He thought it was probably because Sheryle was late picking him up and he hated feeling trapped and dependent on someone else. Besides, someone was always thinking they had seen something up in the mountains above town, strange lights, or strange animals. People just wanted to see something that relieved the boredom of their lives.

Old people were the worst, you would think at their age they would have learned better, but here this couple was, making something out of nothing. Maybe he was lucky after all. If Sheryle had shown up when she was supposed to, she'd probably be poking her nose in, getting the old folks to tell her all about it. God, Tom could just see it. They'd all be animated, their eyes suddenly bright as light bulbs on a Christmas tree just before they burned out. Sheryle would be waving her hands around and asking "deep" and "meaningful" questions, leading them on. She was always saying how she was a people person, but Tom believed he must not count as a person anymore. He felt he had been reduced to a pair of ears and a head that could nod or shake as needed. She talked, he listened, nothing more.

Tom suddenly felt queasy. Too much coffee he thought and reached for the roll of antacids he kept in his shirt pocket.

At least the old people were getting ready to leave. They stood by their table digging for change in pockets and purse, digging for keys, digging for cough drops. All this digging and doddering seemed to go on forever until they finally made their snail trek towards the diner's register. Even before they had managed to get halfway there, their booth was taken over by a batch of teenage kids bumping about. Tom could feel them telegraphing their energy through the red plastic seat, the random awkward bumps were snapping at his last nerve. The kids were just as loud as the old farts, but harder to understand.

Tom pulled the foil tab off one of those horrid pots of fake cream and dumped it into his coffee. He wished the waitress would come by and get the kids order. Maybe then he could snag her for more coffee, and if the kids got something to put in their mouths, perhaps they would settle down. Lord they were wound up, what was their drama all about he wondered. The kid's language was nearly incomprehensible but Tom understood that was the point of the secret code of the young. He also knew in time, the "dogs" and "yo's" of today would go the way of "blast " and "groovy" of the past. Cool now, embarrassing later, Dodo words.

"That's what I'm talking about." declared the bulky kid with a shaved head. Tom had already gotten a face full of the black spider tattooed on the back of it a couple of times as the kid had bounced in the seat. "Man that thing was sick, why'd I have to forget my phone tonight? Maybe we could have gotten a video clip or something, then they'd have to believe us! We could have shown Sheriff Jackson..." His voice trailed off.
"Yeah right," the soft blond girl sitting across from spider-head said with a snort, "The sheriff would think we were idiots. Look, it was probably some kid in a costume out pranking and you dudes were just lame enough to fall for it. Whoever it was, is probably laughing his ass off right now".

"Whatever, but I'm telling ya..."

Spider-head's personal thoughts on the subject were cut off in mid sentence by a shriek from the old woman by the register. Everyone in the diner turned as one great beast, to see what event had brought about this most interesting occurrence. She screamed again stunning everyone and they remained stunned as they witnessed the cause of her distress. Stunned and silent. You could hear every dime, nickle and penny of change drop slowly from her hand. She shrieked again and ran, ran like she had been hit by an electric cattle prod, ran like she was six years old again. Ran for the door with her old man right behind her, a couple of geriatric football players who knew the score.

Tom slowly set his coffee cup back down and rubbed his eyes. If this was what the kids were talking about, no wonder they were so excited. This might even cause ol' Sheryle to shut up for once.

Right here, in plain sight of Tom and everyone else, was a thing they all knew about from fiction. They'd all heard of it, everyone had seen pictures, seen it on TV, in cartoons and in the movies. Their kids drew crayon drawings of it and believed it could talk to you, but no-one could believe it would come shuffling right in here, into this diner where nothing of real interest ever happened.

Man if this was a kid in a costume, Tom thought, he was good. It would have to be a kid, because it was only half the size of a man. It was almost colorless, white, somewhat human shaped but with long skinny arms and the wrong number of fingers. It had an impossible nose, like no human would ever have without some serious surgery. It's mouth was just a slit. Tom couldn't tell for sure but it didn't look like it had any lips or ears, but then, he didn't expect any. It was the eyes that Tom couldn't stop staring at. Big and black, with no irises, no whites, just big black eyes imbedded into its pale face. The eyes didn't move, but the head did, it was turning, scanning the room, as the arms gently waved about. Tom thought it looked as it was trying to say something, as if it was in distress.

"Help" a word from the creature drifted into the silence. Tom thought he could hear it whisper "lost, hot". Tom could swear he heard it sob, "Sick, help me." He believed it said, "Lost.", again but the word was covered up by the sound of Joe coming out to the front with bags of ice from the big cooler in the back room. Tom could plainly hear the big stainless steel door snick shut, and then all hell broke loose.

A piece of the creature's body gave way and dropped to the floor. It wasn't a kid in a costume, it had no guts, and it was on the move. It was shuffling for the back room, arms waving in excitement as women screamed and men stood up in shock and alarm. Water glasses were dropped, plates were knocked to the floor, people were yelling as the sheriff came barreling through the diner door. He had his gun drawn and was hollering "halt!" when his feet slipped on the wet floor and he went down on his butt and slammed into the creature with full force. The creature blew apart, the gun went off and the bullet struck the jukebox at the end of the room. It was a lucky shot, the jukebox started playing the Christmas tune "Winter Wonderland" as it burst into flames.

Fifteen minutes later the babble had started dying down. Tom had given up on getting any more coffee. The fire was out, the broken glass had been cleared away, and Joe was mopping. The sheriff and everyone else agreed the best thing for them all to do, was pretend this had never happened, no one would believe them anyway.

That's for sure, Tom thought.

People were leaving, it didn't seem right to order food or continue eating after what they had seen. Everyone wanted to get away, to get back into their cars and trucks and get back into a world they were comfortable with. In time, most of them wouldn't believe they had seen what they had witnessed in this diner. The rest of them might get a shiver thinking about it the next time they saw a picture or movie, but what could they do? If they told their story, they would be laughed at, at best, or at worst, be accused of being nutcases.

Nutcase, who needs that, Tom thought to himself as he watched his wife walk into the nearly empty diner. She was all apologies and multiple excuses for being late to pick him up. Strangely, he felt a wave of affection for her, she worked so hard and Tom suddenly realized her life was pretty boring too.

He drank the last swallow of his grey coffee, stood up and put on his coat. He kissed her forehead and whispered, "That's okay baby, don't worry about it." He gave her an innocent smile and his ticket, "Can you get this for me while I leave the tip?"

She was bending over picking something off the floor under a counter stool when he walked up behind her. She stood up with a carrot and two lumps of coal in her hands, they were still wet. She showed them to Tom with a questioning look in her eyes.

"Here sugar, let me see those." Tom said, as he gently took the coal from her hands. He examined them carefully and then put them in his pockets, one lump on each side. He shrugged and shook his head. "Strange night I guess, but my God, you do look terrific! Your new haircut was worth the wait, my dear. Lovely, simply lovely." Sheryle giggled and placed the snowman's carrot nose on the counter.
It was still rocking gently as husband and wife walked out into the night.

© LDahl 2005

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Friday night set hard in my brain, it wasn't that I couldn't think of an idea, it was that I couldn't think at all. My brain had all the mobility of chewing gum forever parked under a table in an old diner. I had painted Thursday night and all I had produced was a tiny piece of crapolla. The dried paint on my pallet plate was more interesting. I was tired and feeling grey, but the new theme word was "night" and it was now time to work on it.

Brain dead, I dutifully started drawing, it was easy enough, I can draw crap in my sleep, I drew crap. It was perfectly acceptable crap. I hated it. I looked at what I had done, and found it boring, unimaginative and trite. The gum in my head hardened further. I went outside and looked at the midnight sky, Orion rising in the east. What would the night be without stars? What people looked at the stars and saw giant men with clubs, flying horses, bears, lions and bulls? Who were they, what lives had they lived, what had been important to them? What had been their dreams?

Daytime is busy with all the everyday work and worry of the world but night, night is a time for dreaming. The work of the day is over, night gives time for visions, for thinking of the past and of the future, of seeing things that aren't really there, yet. But what would the night be without the moon, the stars and the ancient constellations which make visible the dreams of the past?

Stamps, United States Postal Service®

The wonderful, talented people of I-Friday had done their job. I had spent much time in the past couple of weeks viewing their dreams, I had been surprised, delighted and many times, been in awe of what I had discovered. Now those visions were dissolving the gum in my head, I felt it go with a pop. The stars of Orion had ignited an inner fire, and I had an idea that wouldn't be trite. I knew what I wanted to do and it would be fun, and if I've learned anything as an artist, it is that when you are having fun, the work isn't trite or boring. It might not be well thought out or perfect in execution, but it has a life of it's own.

I spent the night working on my "Night". I offer you the constellations found in my pallet, my visions of what I see after the work is done.

The Nightplate......

See if you can find all five of these in the plate.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Physical quantities like the speed of light, the attraction of electric charges and the strength of gravity are, for us, the unchanging foundation on which everything is built. But if we are the products of self-interpretation, this stability may simply reflect the delicacy of our own construction - our biochemistry would malfunction if physical constants varied, and we would cease to be. For the same reason, the rules must have held steady over a long period, so evolution could accumulate our many intricate, interlocking internal mechanisms.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Tale of Two Gardens

My garden is related to archeology. It is a raised garden, a layer above an older much better garden, my father's garden. His garden was a scaled down version of the farm that he loved and coaxed and sweated over, until life gave him no choice but to abandon it. When at last the tide of change swept on, it left my father with a space that was small by his standards but enormous by those of his new city neighbors, and he began to craft his garden. By the time he left this world of the living, his garden was famous. But like other fame, it disappeared in one season, evaporating with my father. It became another memory covered by grass.
This year I moved back to my home town to care for my mother. I thought it would be nice to have a couple of tomato plants, maybe a summer squash and a pumpkin vine. My "thought" rapidly turned into a "family and friends" project, out of my control. Everyone had ideas of what should be planted and the list grew and grew! And so did the garden space. Not just once did a dump truck arrive with topsoil but twice. Up, up went the garden, lifted by railroad ties brought by a friends' son. Two tomato plants turned into eighteen, they were surrounded by garlic and various pepper varieties. Summer squash was kept company with winter squash and giant pumpkin vines began reaching their great arms out into the world. It wasn't enough. Giant sunflowers, moon flowers and morning glories found a place with pole beans and new rose bushes. Green onions hung onto their patch of ground and all had to be fenced in to keep the roving bands of hungry bunnies at bay.
As the days turned violently hot under the Kansas sun, I spent early morning hours dragging the hose about to water and water and water. It was hot and I burned, but I had to admit it was fun having a daily excuse to play in the water. I fought bugs and weeds and burned more.
The first part of July the first tomato turned from green to red. I was so excited! Like pop-corn the tomatoes, peppers and squash exploded in the heat, I was suddenly inundated by the storm of veggies! I picked and picked, with joy. Family and friends returned and ate and ate and their praises still make me smile. I hope never to forget the look on my youngest son's face as he bit into the first slice of tomato. "Mom", he said, "These are the best tomatoes I've ever had in my life!." He ate three of them that day and for a couple of weeks kept coming back for more. I gave bags of veggies away and picked and picked more. We had salads, stews and sauces and mixed vegetables. I filled the counters and fridge with vegetables, and picked more and gave away more. But still they came. I was totally swamped, I couldn't use them up fast enough, and still.... there was more! Finally I found tomatoes kept better on the vines and I quit watering. With a little guilt, I retreated to the house to let the garden just be the garden, out there with the birds that came for the sunflower seeds and the squirrels, rabbits, possums and raccoons that came for what ever they wanted. By this time they were welcome to it!
It frosted on the pumpkins last night. The garden is done, black and wilted. I looked at it this morning and realized that I planted more than a couple of tomato plants, I had planted memories, memories like my father had planted and loved. I know as I put my garden to bed, I'll remember the pot-luck lunches we had to feed everyone that came to shovel and rake the huge piles of new dirt brought in, the tea drank under the pine tree after a morning of watering, and I'll remember all the smiles given to me as I handed over grocery store bags filled with home grown veggies. I'll remember the laughter and the colors and the storms and the mornings. It frosted, last night...

Saturday, October 22, 2005 a remote and forgotten land, lived a creature of such girth and ferocity that even the bravest of men would not attempt to defeat it.

All the best tales have remote lands and fearsome dragons!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Flight Of The Old Monster
They say the handle of her broom was made from the taproot of an ancient oak. The oak still stands at the heart of the woods, growing greater and darker with every passing year. Darker, branching ever darker... and in the village, if you hear someone speaking of the "Old Monster" you know not whether they speak of the tree, or of the one that rides it...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A cold moon was rising...
The days were getting shorter and soon someone was going to come and take away the pumpkins.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I haven't ever felt the need to "blog" before, but today Ray Dillon got me interested in a site called Illustration Friday I had been to the site before and thought it was fun to visit the artwork of others inspired by a word of the week. Ray convinced me to give it a try, so here is my first attempt at a blog. The word this week was "Lost" which is how I'm feeling now!