I've been pretty much thinking about that horse wandering in the desert since America came out with the song A Horse With No Name back in 1972. Was it about a journey in the desert, or was it a spiritual metaphor, or was it an armchair foray induced by a drug trip? Since “horse” is a nickname for heroin it inspired all kinds of paranoia and was even banned on some radio stations. This, of course, simply increased its popularity. The song still gets air play 40 years later.
No one really knows the true story behind the song so it remains on the musical mystery list, along with other titillations, such as just exactly who was it that was so vain in Carly Simon’s song? After decades of speculation I’m pretty sure that even she’s not quite clear on it. The same goes for Horse. Whatever the inspiration - be it innocent or tawdry - it spawns great visuals. You have a horse. You have a desert. You have a guy who, after three days in the desert sun, is regretting having forgotten his sunblock (which wasn’t exactly popular in the 1970’s when we sun-fried ourselves into bacon strips while tanning on the beach). You have at least the potential for a drug trip, and while heroin isn’t hallucinogenic, the visual elements mentioned in the song lead the imagination down the road to the psychedelic. And, seriously, could a guy not on a drug trip come up with lyrics like, “the ocean is a desert with its life underground”? I think not.
So here is the very beginning of this quilt – just the background, mostly all hand dyed/painted. The plants and birds and rocks and things have yet to be added. The white area will hopefully be where the desert turns to ocean. But I’m not that far along on the trip just yet…
Hopefully you haven’t noticed that there isn’t even a horse yet. When he does arrive I might just give him a name.