There is frost on the roof of my neighbor’s shed and the fire logs in from last night are embers in my fireplace – in this early morning, this house looks so warm and wonderful. Wonderful to me, not wonderful to any standard for it is a scattered mess of Christmas remnants, holiday leftovers and empty boxes but, for me, it is all as it should be.
I love the days after Christmas, the days that gingerly take us into the new year, into January, the coldest month. I love that I can be home and can piddle and explore this space that has contained my life for nearly 3 decades. I know exactly how the winter sun comes in through the back door and how the sunsets through the keeping room and glazes over the room with amber – it is a friendly cast, unlike the morning sun that reveals the dust and smudges that are always there beneath the chairs and along the baseboards. But the evening sun, that is my friend; it blankets the room in a glistening haze that makes it all seem magical and warm and no mind is paid to the dust.
I am so happy to be here at this point in life , both physical and metaphysical, where I see beyond, this place beneath the surface of youth and beneath the surface of “dust”. I have been there. I have had my share of superficial moments and I am happy that I did; it enables me to understand it all a bit better. What I can’t seem to understand, however is getting stuck there – life is one big reveal but it seems sometimes some people don’t turn that page.
Like you, I look ahead to the new year with hope for a better world and a new batch of goals for myself. I need to write then down this year so that next year I can read them. Not to check them off or to see if I was successful, life is not a “test” – but, hopefully, to see growth, growth in my interpretation of what is important. It seems life is somewhat of a funnel – our expectations and wants are so huge and diverse when we are young and as we get older they tend to funnel down and we want only the intangibles , we understand more about want and need and how true happiness only comes from within.
Anyway, nothing about that today on this crisp winter morning when the house is still, the coffee pot is full and the long December day is ahead. I have not painted in 3 days now and I am feeling the void. I have to start something today, just some paint on a surface, just a burst of color to give more purpose to my day. I wish more people could find the courage to create – art soothes your soul. In our art classes in the high schools there is barely a word spoken – all typical classroom problems disappear and the space becomes a zone, a zone of Zen, a space to be you and to reflect. I just don’t think enough people understand the value of art.
Vincent van Gogh got me through college and still lingers in my life – when I think of pure art, art for the sake of art, I think of him. One summer I was able to go to the south of France and through the windows of the train I saw the cypresses, van Gogh’s cypresses, and time transcended and I grew more appreciative of his work and who he was. His short life was filled with reveal and he turned pages rapidly, too fast, for he reached the end before the world realized who he was.
I end this post-Christmas, post season of commercialism entry with a quote from him that I hope may inspire you and become something to build upon in the new year. Remember art is not just paints and canvas, it is private words in a journal, a poem on the back of your lunch bag, a walk in the woods, a meal well prepared, a small garden or the just way you wear your hat…