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  © brigitte bruggemann2009

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On this page I am sharing with you some of my journal entries and some paintings or drawings that relate to thoughts or experiences recorded in the journals.

As the paintings are always very personal the writing is even more so. But I would like to believe that my experiences are often universal also.

The first two stories are memories I hesitated to publish but decided

to put it here to show hthat it is possible to come from a "dark place" into the light. This is my intention with my paintings.

I appreciate your thoughts and feedback through my contact page.


Children of War

My earliest memories are images of war, sometimes mixed with the stories mother told, she talked about it without much emotion, detached, but when a plane flies low over her head she ducks her head in fear.

I had a re-occurring dream: I was uncomfortable sitting in the dark on a pile of something lumpy, unstable. I knew I was a small child and was not alone in the dark. I could see the frame of a window with a 2 iron bars forming a cross, it was a small square window and on the other side, the outside were flames.

One day, I was in my fifties, I had a conversation with my older sister about dreams and i told her about this one. She cried out: but that was real! You remember what actually happened! She explained: we all sat in the root cellar on a pile of potatoes and the village was burning. Our father was there with the three of us children and mother was upstairs, "keeping an eye on things!"

I asked my mother about this and she told me the whole horrible story :
the village was in the south of Germany where towards the end of the war French and American soldiers were fighting the retreating German troops. German soldiers were hiding in the forest near our village.
The farm-house we had been evacuated to from the city was in the center of the village with a small fountain running with fresh water.
At night mother would see German soldiers, in socks without their boots, sneaking to the village fountain to get water in their helmets, then quietly retreating back into the forest.

One day a German motorcycle with a sidecar marked with a Red Cross ambushed a French Ambulance unit killing two French nurses. the French cried "revenge" and ambushed a German army truck carrying many soldiers in the back, mowed them down like wheat in the field and set the village a fire.
As we children and father hid in the cellar, my mother was upstairs doing the best she could to prevent our house to burn. My father even tho he had never been enlisted into the army had to be in hiding because he would have been taken prisoner of war.

Upstairs we heard footsteps, a moroccan soldier had come into the house and forced my mother to go ups the stairs with him behind her putting a gun to her back. "komm mit Marie" he said to her, his intentions were clear. While they moved up the stairs my mother said in french "Je suis malade, j'ai syphillis" which was a lie but it saved her from being raped and possibly killed. the soldier left after taking our little piggybanks from our bedroom in the shape of little houses in the style of "Black Forest Chalets" with little trees and rocks on the roofs, balconies and flower boxes on the windows.


Deal in the Tramway

As a special treat of the day I was traveling on the streetcar with my mother a couple of years after the war ended, things were still difficult, food was sparse
but people started to rebuild and find a way to live in the ruins.
Streetcars were running again but it was a treat, after we walked to where we had to go sometimes for miles, the return trip we had saved for the streetcar.
That day my mother and I sat in my favorite seats on the tram right by the door, there is only one seat on that aisle with another seat opposite so the passengers could face each other to talk .
What I loved most about this seat was this little tray table and in my imagination someone could eat lunch or have a cup of tea there? An older man got on board and I stood up next to mother holding on to her seat so he could sit down opposite my mother. He looked foreign, spoke with an accent thanking me for giving up my seat for him.
He took a long look at me and then looked at my mother. He asked her if she had other children, she said yes I have two more girls. He nodded and slowly pulled out a big wad of money, put it on the little tray table and said: then you would not miss this one? I buy her from you, things will be easier for you then.
We left the tram at the next stop and walked the rest of the trip home.


children of war

this drawing shows the destruction of the street I grew up on. Our house was on of the last standing on the left side of the street . the Micky Mouse image is another story

  May 16th.08 
  Le Petit Prince 
  I played a game with this little yellow bird today.
  He was  so pretty,  never seen him before:   
  He was bright yellow with a red cap, black wings with white stripes. 
  it  must have been  his wedding  outfit - so spectacular 
         So,  he was  hopping around various places to drink from the water 
  splashing into the pond, in competition with the bees swarming around,  
  thirsty so thirsty and of course the goldfish below the surface 
  looking up at him 
  This little bird definitely noticed me, 
  how nice to be noticed by a handsome prince. 
  He knew I loved him, talk with him, and adored him: 
  the beautiful prince of my garden here and now.
  Then he started playing this game; making passes at me in the garden 
  left to right, right to left, wush can you see me? 
  Always making sure I watched him. 
  I asked: where is your wife? You are so pretty - 
  I am sure  you have a little wife somewhere? 
  He ignored the question and kept flirting with  me. 
  Then he flew away
  I hope to see him again. 
  I am in love with the yellow bird with the red cap. 



little finch

June12th 2008 
The first thing I do every morning in the summer time
 after  getting up before I have my coffee and feed Blackfoot:
 I go outside in the  garden, 
This morning is total perfection:
 the stillness is ripe like a seed pod about to burst.
 I hear a bird singing his morning song, the river is mumbling,
 rushing and on his way to Texas, 
         There is no time, all is in this moment
 and I am part of it like a swimmer in the ocean.
          I am that drop in the  ocean.
 I see everything different this moment:
 the leaves on the apricot tree are shining in all colors,
 the lilies have just opened their blossom for  the day,
 their eagerness to be all they are is - breathtaking.
         Here comes the first bee on her morning run
 the day starts to get busy…
There is the sun – east of the moon


the gift

September 9 2008 
       The air is cool, and not just in the mornings,
    I have this wonderful feeling of change into  another season.
 Not that I am ever getting tired of the sunshine -
 but the  rains, the dark clouds moving in the afternoon 
across the sky are just too spectacular not to like.
         In my studio I have this incredible bunch of Dahlias
 I received for $10.00 from a good looking farmer
 with a pony tail at the new Farmers Market in Santa Fe, 
         To paint or not to paint -  such  a wild bunch -
 some look like they are having a “bad hair day”
 one is a ripe brownish red with some yellow,
 all  tussled up and looking  a little confused,
 her sister shines in all her glorious whites and violets  with a yellow center.
 And there are the virginal white ones untouched and oh so  proud.
 And there is the “Hello Yellow” one
, not to be questioned about why she  is here at all.
         They are  all definite attention catchers and I am paying attention,
 I am painting them  or trying to anyway.
 What is this about I ask: the movement in the leaves the  color,
 yes the colors, glorious and challenging.
So I am making a mess on the little panels I chose to paint on.
 I like the flat unresponsive surface of the panels
 it gives me a different texture and changes my way of working,
 making me not so sure at all about what I am doing.
          I like that.
          It is like jumping off a cliff.
 I have done that often and am in it for the thrill of it. 
Yes I can! Maybe not – so well.



Cottonwoods on the pecos

Farewell to  Summertime
 I was  working outside today, 
         in the  garden. of course, 
         there is  much to do before the winter:
         gathering leaves, cutting the grassy clover patch
         trimming and transplanting 
         bringing in some of the plants to live in the little studio for the next months 
         Still feeling the sun on my back, 
         the rain clouds have a rendezvous in the sky
         rain starts and stops and starts up again 
         playing this game of hide and seek with me.
         I could get nostalgic and I am 
         the summer is gone.
       Winter seems so cold and hostile at least from this vantage point,
Listen to  the birds sing 
         a song of  gratitude I want to learn from them 
         a grasshopper leaping to find another meal somewhere
         the plants are going to seed 
         I sense richness in this moment of closure.
Busy, but I stop a moment to take notice of the change
         I can almost see the color of the leaves change as I look 
         a while ago a few hours ago, there were still green no?
         Now they are yellow. Is this time warp or my imagination of both?
I planted some pretty  tulips, 
         something to put to bed so I can wake up in a few months
         adoring the pretty pastel colored tulips. 
         Dream time – I make a fire inside. 
         Blackfoot, so in the moment, happily settles down on his favorite chair. 
         He stretches out in front of the wood stove with gratitude – he too…
         The best place to be in the next few months. 
Farewell summertime when the living is easy. 




a rose is a rose

 “Feel the Wings You have Grown”
  Searching the distance between the stars
         I have grown wings in my sleep 
         Traveling through darkness
   To find what I have lost long ago
   I do not remember what I am looking for
         I know it is for me to find
         A feathered wing soft and strong 
         Caressing me with love 
         Slicing through darkness holding me
         Guiding me 
         To find what I have lost 
       Long ago. 
   Here on  earth 
         The sun still warm on my back
         My hands are digging in the soil
         To plant new hope:
         To sing the first song of new life                     
         After winter has gone 
   I am  preparing to find what I have lost long ago





January  27   2009 
   The sun rises thru the mist
         There is a little snow on the ground
         It came quietly during the night
         Now, in the sunlight a beautiful blanket of purity
         Covering all dead things and  despair
   Distant hills - 
         Someday I will climb them -
         Hills veiled like a bride
   This moment full of beauty  and promise
         A new day
         Everything is possible
    If I can keep my faith
         If I can look with compassion and understanding
         Garima can forgive herself
     Yes I say
on my way to san Marco
   Butterfly fly fly
   The sun lights up the golden  yellow of the chamisa in full bloom! 
   a glorious color: like gold leaf in a medieval  painting or a Russian icon.
   Sacred it is, the chamisa. 
   It is not only covered with  the  golden color of heaven
   the bush is also covered with Monarch butterflies!  
   Covered, as I walk close to take a picture they fly up in the air, a swarm of  them, 
   but quickly sensing my good  intention or just drunk with joy,
   they settle down again onto the golden  branches.
   And imagine behind all that the blue sky!
   As if that was not enough  for one day for me to be happy about,
   another gift came along: my little yellow   bird
   with the red cap and black and  white striped wings, he said hello,
   The  prince of my garden said hello,
   nibbled on the  willow tree going back and forth in his typical fashion
   to make me watch him  and then flew away again.
  a  bientôt mon ami!




Gold upon Blue
A door opened
         Heart - breaking  into the wind
         A thousand pieces  flying to the stars
         Seeking joy in a  million places
         Gold upon blue
         Circle of wisdom
         Mind not knowing
         Body still
         Heartbeat  expanding to the Universe
         One for this  moment 
         Gold upon Blue
         A touch of wings

Gold upon Blue


   snow drops in my garden
         the lilac is in bloom!
         Not in years
         have I been blessed 
         with lilacs. 
   the day goes well
         I am happy 
         river rushing with snow melt 
         sun feels warm and loving on  my shoulders.
   the sweet air is filled with  bird songs
         a dog passes by 
         Blackfoot the cat runs inside to  hide.
   I am fine so fine




   To Fly 
   setting sun in the blue sky 
         a touch of pink along the  horizon
         the golden glow growing  stronger and stronger
         filling that empty place in  my heart 
         that place that has been  hurting and wanting.
       stay in the moment the best  I know how.
   I look up into the sky 
         so many birds flying with  nowhere to go but here 
         darkness sets in 
         a wondrous thing
         to fly. 


Nowhere to go


 For Mom 
   a day in heaven 
         beautiful I can hardly find words to describe
         a summer day
   the cool morning, lavender greets me
         as I brush by the drying spikes reaching out to me
         releasing an intense scent reminding me of my mother
   I walk down the path to the pond
         fish still sleeping
         nothing to report here
   I have my coffee out on the terrace 
         looking down into the valley 
         where the sun is just now reaching the bank of the river
   moving slowly, sap green, on its way to Texas
         I listen to the sound of the wind in the tree
         the first hummingbird arriving for his breakfast.
   For a while I am not sure what to do with this day
         I puts around, doing the dance
         I know I want to paint
   first I get the paper
         then i talk to my neighbor
         finally I go to the studio
   the day goes well I finish the painting
         it is about the flow
         water, life, everything.
         It is for Mom 
   the work is done 
         for now
         I get to play
   I go down to swim
         the sun is hiding behind a big cloud
         looks like a Disney Character 
   I wait for the sun to come out standing in the cool water.
         walk around a little water just up to my knees
         then a rock slips me up and I go in
   Oh what joy it is!
         I swim against the current 
         never move just manage to stay in place
   I find a current that lets me swim up 
         then float down with the current 
   I sit on a rock 
         the water is massaging my back
         no health spa whirl pool could be better
   I spread my arms out to the sides
         pushing against the current
   I am growing wings
         the current is moving around my arms
         making angel wings in the water.
   I laugh 
         I am that. 
     Good day this is




Hey June


   a day fresh and filled with promise
         the sun comes over the eastern horizon
         filling the valley with light
         and my heart with joy
   no thought, 
         my eyes drink in the beauty 
         last nights raindrops 
         hang on the tip of an iris leave
         asking for redemption
   a yellow bird comes to say hello
         with a  chirp 
         a big bird cruises by close 
         little yellow bird flies away 
     to hide in the thick branches of the next piñon tree. 


Tree of Life