(So, I have really neglected my website this year, especially my Blog. Hopefully, in the coming year I will be better about this. But, isn't that what everyone says about their website? Websites are one of those "out of sight, out of mind" kind of things. You can always find something fresh here at my Instagram. And speaking of sites or specifically "sight", here's my annual Christmas tale. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it helps in getting you into the spirit of the season. Peace, PG)
“Morning against morning, splits the night and rubs the soul.”
—4:54 pm on a December evening
I watch as the color leaves the day. It follows the light, you know. And as Winter settles in, all grays and darks, there is a residual red that clings to thin clouds scattered in the south. I wait each day for that red. As it reflects back to the mountains and the east, it hangs there like a promise, like a poignant prayer, like a blush on the day.
Truth be told, red has become an obsession. Not just any crimson or carmine, though—Venetian red. It’s the red of the Italian Renaissance. The tincture of blood. An earth pigment of clay tinted with iron oxide, favored since prehistory. And now, unexpectedly, it shows up in my drawings as a splash of watercolor or a scratch of crayon. It drips down my canvases like a long lover’s sigh. And worries my dreams like a hidden accomplice, though my sleep is deep.
—4:30 am earlier that December day
The dogs flap me awake. (to flap - a full body shake that causes the ears to slap together creating a sound more urgent than an alarm clock and more determined than a cock’s crow.) So, with hat pulled low and flashlight in hand, two dogs and I step into the morning. Outside, we move about in the cold and dark, habitually. Paths are made this way. So too routines, the thieves of the intellect. I scan the the area expecting nothing, but notice a sparkle of frost on the grasses and weeds. And overhead, countless stars respond in kind and I marvel. I no longer seek sleep. I am awake!
A year ago Christmas, I received a telescope as a gift from my beloved. Now on cold clear nights, you will find me in the dark exploring the heavens, serenaded by coyotes. Where once there was a sky full of “pretty” stars, now I see patterns and movement.The winter sky has returned, with Orion and its nebula (a birthplace for stars) and Ursa Major (the greater She-Bear, the Big Dipper), forever bright and straight overhead. And with them, gathers a memory of a late January night, when I stumbled upon a smudgy brightness in the west—the Andromeda Galaxy. Our nearest galactic neighbor, and yet, the farthest these eyes had ever seen!
—later that same December morning
I finish my run under a cloudless blue sky, as Matchbox Twenty blares How Far We’ve Come, through my earbuds. It is colder than I expected, still I sweat. As I come to a walk, I point to the heavens and silently pat myself on the back, grateful. I cannot help but smile, because I feel...well...alive! And, in part, I know it is the season.
I have come to believe one grows to be a Winter person. Warm hats and scarves make me incredibly happy. Bare trees lay bare improbable truths. Snow falling eases age in the eyes and the heart. Winter seems to scrape away the superfluous bringing one closer to the soul. This I believe, as a guitar somewhere gently plays a 19th Century Christmas carol.
May you truly see your world this season and every season.
Pat, December 2017
Pat Greenwell is an artist. A painter and sometimes poet, he has been searching the New Mexico desert for several years now, looking for lost possibilities and probable intentions.
"...mostly stream-of-consciousness stuff, you know...