Monday, December 11, 2017


Jan here, loving life in the Black Hills.

We had snow this week, but as you can see, it's gone already. No worries! We'll get more soon, hopefully after we get our roof fixed.

Yes, after last Sunday's gorgeous weather, a storm came through with a little bit of snow and a lot of wind. Three days straight of strong north winds. How strong? 20 - 30 mph winds with gusts up to around 50 mph. If we had had snow all three days, it would have been a first class blizzard!

But it was bad enough. That wind pried up the fascia on the north side of the house and plucked off the eave piece by piece, as if long, wicked fingers were trying to force their way in.

The storm is long gone, though, and this past weekend was beautiful again!

Two weeks ago, I wrote about going to Hill City on Black Friday to order our Christmas gift to each other. On Saturday we got to go back to the gallery to pick it up.

What a chore! (insert sarcasm here!!!)

Actually, we love going to Hill City. The Alpine Inn is one of our favorite restaurants, and we often go there to celebrate a new contract, or a book release, or...well...just about anything. We weren't in town during lunch on Saturday, though, so no meal at the Inn this time.

Hill City is small town America tucked into the center of the Black Hills.

In the summer the streets and sidewalks are filled with tourists, and we generally avoid stopping.

But in the winter, the place belongs to the locals.

Jon Crane's studio isn't the only art attraction in Hill City. One of John Lopez's pieces, "Iron Star," is on Main Street - you can't miss it.

Every time we walk by, I have to stop and see what new detail I can find!

Do you see the horse under the mane?
Even the front leg holds surprises!

To learn more about John Lopez's sculptures, visit his website.
There might be a sculpture near you - you never
know! Check out the map!

Finally, we headed toward Jon Crane's gallery and picked up our print.

It's called Tenacity. Do you see why?

Mr. Crane painted this picture early in 2017, and I'm so glad he did. After we left Hill City, we drove down the road where this ranch is located, just a few miles from Mt. Rushmore.

Time has finally taken its toll.

Even though the ranch is still holding on, the tree isn't.

Yes, that is the same tree. The trunk is at least four feet in diameter.

After all those years, it finally released its hold on life.

It reminds me of two things:

The first is that even though life is fragile, individual life is tenacious. A single tree will cling to life, even though the end is certain. It stands, rooted in the ground, strong and sure. The tree continues to cling to the earth with tenacity, even though the future cannot be changed. Don't we hold on to life the same way?

And the second thing is a truth that rings with hope - -

"The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever."
                Isaish 40:8 ESV

Thanks be to God!

As we head farther into the Advent season and our lives are crowded, our time short, and our plans often thrown into disarray, I wish you all a blessed and merry week! 

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.

You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan


  1. I love this post, Jan. And we have a tree just like that at the big house. It laid over during Harvey and we thought it was a goner, but its roots are still holding on and it continues to thrive. I told hubby we should put a little swing on it for the two youngest grands once they start toddling around, since the highest arch in the trunk is only about five feet off of the ground. I bet Max and Taegan would have a ball.

    1. It's amazing how trees can survive after a blow like that. We had a pear tree that blew down in a tornado once. We staked it and watered it well, and it survived to give us more pears! (Of course, the new owners have cut it down now...and that really was almost twenty years ago...)

      And you KNOW those little ones would love the swing!

  2. Jan, what a beautiful post! I love your painting and all it stands for. Enjoy your gift!

    1. BTW, my son was in ND when the snow hit last week, working outside mostly. My Georgia boy about froze his tail off while those winds whipped through! LOL

    2. We're enjoying our new print very much. It looks great on the wall!

      And yes, even North Dakota boys froze their tails off last week! There isn't much between these prairies and the North Pole!

  3. Beautiful post. That sculpture is amazing!!! I'm in awe of the talent that produces it. Creativity and technique in spades. And the painting gives me goosebumps -- especially compared to the photo after it.

    1. Yes, that painting give me goosebumps, too. There's something about it...and it just keeps growing on me. Many of Jon Crane's pieces are like that, which makes it very hard to choose something when we decide to invest in one!

      The painting also reminds me how temporary the things of this world are. A fire started in Custer State Park this morning, and is threatening several of our favorite spots, including Badger Hole (I did a post about Badger Clark a couple years ago and featured his home - called Badger Hole). It's too soon to know what the results of that blaze will be, but it's a reminded to never take our favorite things for granted.

  4. What a beautiful and interesting post, Jan. I'm sorry I missed stopping by to chat on Monday.