"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.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Red River country

Red River Valley, today's watercolor, 9 by 12 140# Fabriano Artistico
"From this valley they say you are going... ."
The Red River valley, a broad sweep of sometimes desolate dust and mud, sand and scrub growth, rattlesnakes and catfish, and a meandering course of red clay-colored water. In drought you can walk across it and not get your feet wet. In flood stage, it can take out bridges between Oklahoma and Texas.
If you've lived any time in southern Oklahoma or North Texas, the Red River may be taken for granted, but it is more than a boundary, it is a presence you can't ignore. 
Long ago, I wrote this....
-->
My students

flow through my life

like the grains of sand

along the north bank

of the Red River.

They are journalists

who individually

are vital pieces

of type in a long story.

Swept by the current,

the grains are sculpted

into sand bars

or drifts snagged

against old trees.

The river water

submerges most

of the sand,

or dissolves it,

carrying it downstream.

But in the sand bars

on the north bank,

the sun glistens off

the crystals in individual grains.

The students attract attention,

and bring vivid

relief and beauty

to a muddy world.

The sparkling grains

stand out like memories,

before time carries

them down-river.

Lots of memories and years and miles. Always on my mind. Thus this Saturday's watercolor, "Red River Valley."

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