This strange little countertop, tucked between the dining room and the basement stairs, is at the geographic center of our house. When we first moved in, it was a handy place to keep all the tools one needs for getting settled: hammer, screwdrivers, tape, pencils, tape measure, assorted screws and nails, sketches, and all the stuff you don’t know where else to put.
But when we invited a Feng Shui consultant over to help us figure out how to arrange the furniture with our quirky floor plan, she told us that the geographic center of the house is the most important location for something truly meaningful, something that reflects our values. So we cleared away the tools and have tried to make this little spot into something artistic. There have been a few holiday scenes, an arrangement of fruits and vegetables in a cornucopia, and now this.
A wonderfully talented artist (go here to see some other pieces of her work, and scroll down to the July 16, 2012 post) in our former congregation gave us these figures and the covered wagon at our retirement party. After all, we were moving to Oregon; what better way to commemorate this move than to create an image of the Oregon Trail? (Which ends in Oregon City, just down the road from where we live now.)
Side note: did you know that Conestoga wagons were originally built along the Conestoga River in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, PA? That was right down the road from where we lived in Carlisle, Cumberland County, PA. I’ll bet some of these wagons came right through town and down the street we lived on.
So here they are, these intrepid wayfarers westward, camped out for the evening after a long day on the trail.
There are always animals in the scenes our artist has created. One fellow has a dog literally attached to him at the hip, and the other one has befriended an owl.
The third fellow is preoccupied with cutting wood for the fire. (That’s a log to his left, and although the axe has a skinny handle, it is mighty!)
Look! Their hats come off! And the fellow on the right even has a little hair.
A real Conestoga wagon would be pulled by as many as eight horses, but these two guys are terribly strong. AND they’re really good friends.
Look at the faces on these two! Wouldn’t you love to ride across country on a Conestoga wagon with them? Oh, the stories they would tell…
The children try to stay as close to the food as possible. It’s hungry out there on the trail. Their mother bought a whole bolt of that blue cloth, so they are always dressed in the same color. One fellow has a pet bunny, and the other seems to have made off with a bowl of potatoes.
Now that they’ve made camp for the night, these guys have gone off to chop wood…
…while the women get ready to make dinner, and the dog has the good sense to stick around nearby.
The children play among the rolled up baggage, and this guy just sits around curling his feet up and holding his owl. He’s not good for a lot of help along the way, but he has something special to offer to everyone at the end of a long day.