"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding watercolor, metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Thirst, and living water--Nine days 'til Christmas

"Living water," today's 5 x 7 #watercolor card
Are you thirsty? 
Winter can be a dry season, low humidity, scarce water. Watch the animals and birds, seeking moisture where they can find it.
If there is not enough snowpack in the mountains, drought will likely follow in spring because there will be little runoff.
In the West,  in other arid places in the world, you are always conscious of the need for water--living depends on it. 
In this season celebrating the birth of Jesus, a resident of a dry country, it is well to remember he knew about water and thirst.
He also knew that all people are thirsty deep inside, even if they don't know it...seeking for meaning in life, for purpose, for survival beyond the physical. Are we not all residents of a dry country?
Is that not what Christmas is really about--seeking "living water"?
"Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."  --John 4:10
"Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'" --John 7:37-38

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Where you can see stars--10 days 'til Christmas

#Where you can see stars," today's 5 x 7 #watercolor card
Urban life and electricity dims the power and wonder of stars.
Time was when you could look up and see the Milky Way. Now, only with binoculars or a telescope.
Unless you get out of the city, into rural areas.
Then, the farther your get from "light pollution," the more you can see.
The Milky Way and  billions of stars can actually light up the countryside.
In this season, we need stars to rid ourselves of the pollution of everyday life that blinds us to the wonder of creation. Where we can see the stars. 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Alone -- 11 days 'til Christmas

"Alone," 5 x 7 #watercolor card
It's easy to feel alone in seasons like this.
The Psalmist prayed long ago, "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted." (25:16)
For those who are not alone, or lonely, 'tis the season to reach out like that lone star of the Gospels, to try to bring warmth, and the spirit of Christmas to those who have not.
Let the stars remind us of that.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Star journey -- 12 days 'til Christmas

"Star journey," today's 5 x 7 #watercolor
Star-dust...humans, and all creation are stardust... composed of the scientific stuff of the universe.
Is it any wonder that we are also composed spiritually of creation, that we gaze at stars, that we are drawn to stars, journeying as they journey?
This season commemorates a star, its journey, and a journey it beckoned humans to follow, 2,000 years ago, and since. We are on a star journey.
"Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at the stars because we are human?" 
--Neil Gaiman, Stardust
"The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself."
--Carl Sagan

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Go tell it on the mountain--13 days 'til Christmas

"Go tell it on the mountain," today's 5 x 7 #watercolor card
Mountains call, and I missed it.
Yesterday was #InternationalMountainDay and that hashtag on twitter leads to many quotes and images.
This one, retweeted by Cambridge University professor and author Robert MacFarlane caught my eye:
"People were evidently looking for something in the mountains they believed they had lost a long time ago."
       (A Whole Life, Robert Seethaler, trans. Charlotte Collins).
A favorite song of mine is "Go Tell It on the Mountain," largely because we adapted it years ago when taking church kids to a mountain camp in New Mexico.
Mountains are deep inside me, and they always call, as they have throughout history and spirituality. They called the Israelites, Jesus and his disciples and religious people of many beliefs.
Christmas looms, like mountains.