"Betwixt and Between" is the frontal piece of the 2022 holiday card I sent to a select group of friends and family.
I began researching Oklahoma history after I relocated in Norman, OK following my retirement from Union College. This was in an effort to "locate" myself in this very different environment
The grid behind the bird is a reference to the surveyed grid that underlies Oklahoma's distribution of land.
The bird is perched on a piece of barbed wire and I think it aptly describes the complexity of this place - somewhat treacherous. I see the bird as a sign of beauty and hope.
In my research I discovered Washington Irving, along with a party of federal people, visited Oklahoma in the 1830s. They began their trip at Ft. Gibson, OK and made a loop south and then east again ending up in Ft. Gibson. Their trip passed them through Cleveland County where Norman, OK exists. The following quote is from Irving's response to what he saw somewhere in Cleveland County:
"After proceeding about two hours in a southerly direction, we emerged toward mid-day from the dreary belt of the Cross Timber, and to our infinite delight beheld 'the great prairie' stretching to the right and left before us. We could distinctly trace the meandering course of the main Canadian, and various smaller streams, by the stripe of green forest that bordered them. The landscape was vast and beautiful. There is always an expansion of feeling in looking upon these boundless and fertile wastes; but I was doubly conscious of it after emerging from our dungeon of 'innumerous boughs'"
From A Tour on the Prairies