"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 metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

What kind of man was this?

What kind of man was this? 5 by 7 watercolor
Amid the joy, the emotion, and ceremony of the confirmation of Susan and her sister Sara at St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church this morning, I found myself looking at the beckoning Christ in front of a cross on the wall back of the altar.
What kind of man was this, that so many would follow?
His magnetism began when he was earthly, with dirty feet and sweat and words that riveted people, especially the poor and spiritually hungry, and drove others, especially the religious, away.
He taught love and forgiveness and acceptance and sincerity, trying to unite rather than divide--lessons foreign to the world then, and now.
Would he be welcome in many places that tout his name ? Where would he be on Sunday mornings? In fancy churches, or with the homeless? In political rallies or helping the poor?
What would he be teaching today, in this country, or in other countries where the languages, and religions and races are different?
Bishop Konieczny's powerful homily, delivered without notes but from a walker, told these new Episcopals, about the meaning of Jesus today.
Separate from the liturgies, the traditions, the regulations, narrow-minded judgments, the politics, the divisions, the vile acts and hatred performed in his name, this dark-skinned Middle Eastern Jew, who preached against hatred and judgment and hypocrisy, and said love your neighbor....
What kind of man was this who had the courage and truthfulness to  say and do what he did?
Episcopal confirmees, at St. Augustine of Canterbury, with Oklahoma Bishop The Right Reverend Dr. Edward J. Konieczny, under the outstretched arms of Jesus--Susan in white on front row left, with her sister Sara right behind her.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills"


What is it about mountains? They are deep within my soul...the high places of earth.
When I see them, travel in them, live even for a little while in them, I am lifted up. My eyes and spirit drink in their power. I am refreshed, as the stresses of traffic and noise and crowds and worries vanish.
It's been a week since I visited with my son Travis in northern Colorado, traveling the back roads, smelling the trees, gazing on the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains. 
I eagerly seek them on the horizon, and marvel at the constant change in shape and light as I get closer. 
Once in them you notice the large and small...the bark of a Ponderosa pine, the infinity of shapes and colors of rock, the breeze in the fir, the last few aspen leaves clinging to branches, the first snow in the high country and on the peaks, the silver glint of the sun on the water of a trout stream. 
Scripture comes to mind effortlessly.  "When peace like a river... ." 


Friday, October 28, 2016

Warm thoughts for a cold season

Holiday warmth, 5 by 7 card,
It's too warm...late October, and 80 degrees? I yearn for deep autumn and snowfall, especially after a trip to the Rockies last week to see my son. 
I bought pinon wood today...would like to sit on the back porch with a flannel shirt on. Not today.
The only cure...paint and dream.
Here's Christmas card number 20... adobe, a pinon fire, snow-covered hills and a nighttime sky glistening with stars.
Warm thoughts for a cold season.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bridges to peace

The call home...5" by 7" watercolor
Home.
That's what most people think about around Thanksgiving, Christmas and the holiday season.
Those who are far away remember the gatherings of previous years, especially when they can't return. As they grow older, they establish their own homes and the tradition continues.
For those who miss them across the years and miles, the tables bring memories in spite of the vacancies.
Phone calls and cards help, but it's not the same. The hope and anticipation for eventual reunion holds.  And for those who will never return, their memories still inhabit "home."
The holidays are bridges to peace, to love, to family and friendship, to home--like covered bridges in a snow-blanketed landscape in the upper Midwest, linking home with travelers, and years and memories.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Whatever happened to "good will toward men"?


Gateway to peace, 5" by 7"
America needs Christmas, and Thanksgiving to come early. Like right now.
Whatever happened to "peace on earth, goodwill toward men"?
The presidential campaign is out of control, full of hatred, meanness, intolerance, anger, falsehoods, stupidity, narrow-mindedness, violence. It's obsessive, depressing, dangerous, destructive and downright nasty.
For a country many people tout as a "Christian" nation, there is precious little evidence  that bears any resemblance to the teachings of Jesus in the Beatitudes,  or of the New Testament.
To wit: Galatians 5: 22-23:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Remind you of anything you see in American politics now, that represents us as citizens? I don't think so.
It's  so bad that for the first time in seven years, I haven't blogged in more than three weeks.  Creativity, which comes from The Creator, withered.
So finally, somehow this weekend, I began my Christmas cards. Only when my brush finally put paint on paper, did I realize what was pent up inside--Hunger for peace on earth, goodwill toward men.
"Living water"