"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Five Days

"Spirit Country," 5 x 7 acrylic card

 
Deserts. And stars. Solstice.

Three of the world's prominent religions grew out of the aridity of deserts, where you intimately learn the stars to lead you to water. When you are people of the desert, you know how small you are in a gargantuan universe, where you seek and find Spirits to help lead you.

With human-ordained Christmas in five days, on this the longest night of the year, think of the three wise men who followed a star..."from the east" which means they traveled across deserts. It seems no accident that all the religious art of that story shows them riding camels. 

Growing up in New Mexico, camping in mountains surrounded by arid "deserts," or camping  and hiking on remote trails, you learn the power of the night skies, value the wide open spaces and long horizons.  

One of my favorite places on earth is at Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico, where you can camp and hike, see the Milky Way, watch the stars wheel above you, see time move. I heard a ranger say you could feel the earth move beneath you.  Camping in that desert place puts you in contact with  Spirits.



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