I created this image in honor, after my first night of sleeping in a tipi in Fort Benton, Montana, while at an art fair.
The first day of selling my art, was the 200th anniversary year of Lewis & Clark passing thru there (2005), I told myself that the evening was mine. I have spent my life doing for others, but that night was different. That night I said to the universe, "Whatever you have in store for me, I am open to it. I don't have to be responsible for my employees, my family or anyone." It was an adventure. I felt free to be me in this place of history. At this time Fort Benton did not have cell service, so no one could even call me.
That evening, I walked over by the Fort and the three tipis, that were set up there. I was intrigued by the middle tipi, that had a fire burning inside. I asked if I could go in. "Yes," came the answer. Inside, there were buffalo hides and skulls lying on the ground. I thought that this must be more like how it really was for the Great Plains Native Americans. When I stepped outside again, I was asked if I would like to sleep in my very own tipi. I thought for a minute. Well, I would not do anything like that usually, but then I reminded myself, “I am not responsible to any one this evening. What do you really want to do, Nancy?” I said to myself, "Yes I would love to." I felt blessed to be given this choice.
Before long I began discussing the Fort's history with a gentleman who has been instrumental in its rebuilding effort. He told me about the mountain men and fur trappers. Darkness was coming and we were busy talking. The Fort had closed down and I'd never even made it over to go inside. But then a man and woman dressed in mountain man clothes had a key and seemed to be sneaking into the Fort. I asked, "Do you think we can go in there, too?" The man said, "Oh sure, let's go. I'm sure it's ok."
Nine people entered, all dressed in rendezvous (Mountain Man) clothes. I was the only one dressed in street clothes. The Fort was lit by a fire burning brilliantly in the massive stone fire place. As we sat in a circle, I saw everyone in silhouette with their faces lit by the fire. Where is my camera? I've just stepped back in time. This is incredible, I thought. Then the man who seemed to be the leader asked all of us to share where we were in our lives. It became intimate fast. He played music from the 1800's, on his guitar and before long I felt like my ancestors were all around me, loving me and urging me on. I have never felt so much love in my life. It was as if they were saying, "Nancy, keep on this photo trail, it is important and you are having too much fun." I believe this happened to me because I allowed myself to be open and to trust. This experience was right up there with giving birth--one of the most blessed things to ever happen to me.
What happened to me that night I will never forget. I created Opening, in honor of expanding my concept of God and the universe.