Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Black Elk, Campbell, Jesus and me

I often speak about Old Barn as if she is a creature in and of herself, because she is.

While I spend enormous amounts of time in Old Barn it is often to fulfill my daily duties as shepherd or animal caretaker. But I do stop, more and more since I am aging and I need to take breaks more between walking loads of hay or water to and from stalls. These moments of rest give me the opportunity to really be of her, not just in her or with her, but of her.

I did not grow up in a church going family and I searched in my early adult hood for what my faith was. I had some ideas, no doubt. When I moved to New York City in my mid twenties I was very alone and began going to a high Episcopal church of an old friend. I found it comforting - the hymns, and the feeling of community. The history of such an old building intrigued me - who had sat in the pew I was in, I wondered? I never felt anger or judgment from the stones, brick and beautiful light emanating from the stained glass windows, but eventually I did feel like a misfit and the sermons began to feel like one man telling me his fears, twisted into a sermon.

I could always walk into a church - in New York, in Minneapolis, in Paris or Zurich - and take shelter and comfort, knowing the walls would engulf me, the light would warm me and room itself would silence me into clarity. I would not be judged by the building itself.

That's what Old Barn is for me, my church, where I worship with pitch fork and donkey breath over my shoulder. When I am in her care on a windy or rainy day with only whisperings of straw fluttering about, or a hen scratching, I am of her.

If I could meet Jesus, and I would love to have him out, especially if I could have Joseph Campbell on the same visit, and maybe Black Elk, I would take him to Old Barn and we would break pie there, and just sit.


Debra said...

Beautiful. I think Jesus would be right at home in a barn, in a stable...

Sharon Stanley said...

beautiful katherine...old barns offer a particular comfort that in my opinion is very like church. it's the perfect place to worship....and be thankful.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~