For Kimowan Metchewais

Kimowan, I find myself thinking about you a lot lately.

While in grad school at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, I had my studio right next to his for a couple years. Wow. Can you even imagine how amazing that was? It would be so cool to just go out my door and shoot the breeze about what's going on, see what he was up to or ask him what he thought about some new stuff while it was still being made. The creator was generous with this setup, it was clearly no accident. Kimowan nicknamed us the UNM McIndians. Ha (it was when he still had the McLain handle).

I can clearly remember working on certain prints and would dash out the door to show him."What would Kimowan think about this?" He'd nearly always give me a short, poetic answer that made me think "Oh!" a couple hours later.

Here's the deal. Kimowan has the uncanny gift of speaking to the part of your brain that understands obvious intellectual information, but part of it also sneaks into the more intuitive part of who you are. I think this may explain the delayed burst of clarity. I'm still not sure though. How'd he do that? It reminds me of how our elders used to talk to us kids back home; not condescending, but full of respect for us, yet explaining something important without pretense.

Right now we have a family of dogs, mother, father and son. The dad "Munster," is very unique, I've never met anyone like him from the dog clan. He loves contemplating views while taking him on hikes in the Idaho mountains. He'll stop and just admire the view, then run nearly as fast as a deer up the hill like it was nothing. A year ago he lost his vision, but he still runs faster than the rest of his family and is way more curious about life and explores more too. He has another kind of vision now, one that I don't pretend to understand.

This is why Munster reminds me of you Kimowan. You've always had not only a very rarefied vision, but also a poetic way of talking about what you experience. I love that, and value the memory of it.

Here's to the journey and the unexpected. I always thought that life is not so much about what happens to you, but how you respond to it and the sense of grace you offer along the way. And you've taught us so much about grace and humility with not only your everyday presence, but the beautiful legacy of your art. Gunalsheésh, Thank you.

Like I mentioned earlier, I think of you nearly every day. Especially on those long hikes with Munster when I stand in silent awe at the grandeur he sees with his gentle spirit, like what you've done all these years. Your gift to the rest of us.

Story by Larry McNeil, All Rights Reserved, © 2011

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