"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons 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 metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Healing earth--Adobe therapy

Adobe therapy--from a Susan Clark photo, 5  by 7 watercolor, 140# d'Arches
Have you been to El Santuario de Chimayo' and scooped up some of the miraculous healing dirt?
Evidence of healing faith and dirt--Chimayo'
If you have not, you probably don't believe. But walk through that adobe church and the room where the crutches and other offerings hang of those who been healed, and you might feel differently. The Santuario attracts more than tourists, as thousands of make pilgrimages to it during Holy Week.
The Santuario draws faithful pilgrims
You're entering Northern New Mexico and one of the last bastions of medieval faith. You may not have the penetents' faith, but you have to put your scientific mind on hold. You encounter a different world.
There is something about adobe, earthen vessels, dirt that is healing. Even those of us gringos touch on it when we talk about the therapy of gardening, getting our hands in the earth.
These were thoughts today when I sought something to paint, something to help healing, and chose a scene from one of Susan's photos of Taos Pueblo. That ancient civilization also knows the power of the earth. Attend Native dances and see it reaffirmed--for all their rhythm and traditions, one stands out...one foot of each dancer is always in contact with Earth Mother.
Small previous watercolor of Taos
So I started painting adobe again today. Yes, I can go get my small bottle with some of the holy dirt of Chimayo' in it. I have not painted the church other than a quick sketch, but my Dad did. But I love painting watercolors of adobe.  And with these thoughts today, I now know another reason I'm drawn to painting adobe. It's therapy in more ways than I know.


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