"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.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Granddaughter days

Taking a walk with granddad in the bright sunshine of 65 degree mornings hands and shadows connected in adventure and exploring, wondering at butterflies, picking flowers, trying to open gates, tasting herbs, stooping over  to examine every rock and thing, running, squealing for the fun of it, opening doors, pushing the limits of discovery.

Inside to the soft rattle of the ceiling fan you watch muppets on TV, and hear songs about "toileteers," laugh at cartoons about the bear and the blue house, say woof and meow and car, color in books, sit on the potty, try to climb out of highchairs, sing the ABC's and twinkle, twinkle, and play with granddad's hat.

Outside are soft breezes and the drone of lawnmowers, daddy planting flowers and mommy preparing fresh farmer's market vegetables for the evening meal, listening to NPR. Breakfast included eggs with fresh onions, blueberries, basil and coffee.

Curly blond hair, tanned skin, eating a juicy pear for a snack with juice and mess everywhere. Then you crawl up on the couch to be read to, curled up in a blanket. Riding in the car seat late that day, listening to granddad sing simple lullabies.

Liberty Faye Clark. Earlier today your daddy called you "Miss Faye." I hadn't heard that in decades, something my mother's sister used to call her.

Granddaughter days.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A flag and woodsmoke

The grey clouds were spitting snow and hiding the Truchas peaks as my uncle Mike and I drove up the High Road to Taos one Thanksgiving afternoon.  Winter had come to northern New Mexico, and we had left the sanctuary of his Santa Fe apartment to retrace separate paths we'd both taken years before. 9/ll was still fresh on our minds.

We turned off the main road to wind our way to a village named Cundiyo. It's a small place with thick walled adobe homes perched on the hillsides leading down into a valley. Less than 100 people live here. It's unincorporated, inhabited as the result of an 1743 land grant from the governor of Neuvo Mexico in the capital at Santa Fe a few miles south and more than1,000 feet lower.

Pickups of families were parked on gravel and dirt outside the homes where Thanksgiving feasts were underway or where people were watching football games, telling stories. Woodsmoke poured from metal pipes, and beside each door were stacks of split wood for the coming cold season. Corrals held horses huddled against the wind, and the smell of pinion and juniper and smoke filled the air. They have electricity and plumbing, but heating most heating comes from wood stoves.

And on several adobe walls and coyote fences, far from New York and the Middle East and hatred, hung American flags, and the black POW/MIA flags. New Mexico car tags with "Veteran" labels were everywhere.

People  may wound America by bringing down the towers or killing at the Pentagon. But those who do so have no idea of the depth and breadth of America's people and country. When  the American flag drapes on walls in places the world has never heard of, like Cundiyo,  the woodsmoke of a free people will endure.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Grand opening of 50 Penn Place Gallery relocation was last night, next to Ful Circle bookstore. Great crowd. Been a while since I displayed there, but one of the new principals of the coop is teacher and friend Cletus Smith. Fellow student and painter Phyllis Pace is also displaying there.

Before going there we toured the photo exhibits at JRB at the Elms in Paseo. Afterwards we ate at Paseo Grill--terrific musroom soup, and then a little something in the terrific Red Piano Bar at historic Skirvin Hotel.

So much to write about, to paint, to do.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Pages of September

Include Dr. Suess, in a rocking chair...with Liberty Faye

Three books before bedtime, after guitar music in the kitchen with  Dad, while Mom makes homemade banana pudding... .

Down the road, a brooding statue of Churchill stands outside a Christopher Wren church from England, on Westminster Colelge campus in Fulton Mo., next to portions of the Berlin Wall...

Photos and thoughts coming about Liberty Faye and liberty...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Out of the corner of my eye...

Out of the corner of my eye
I saw it plunge
out of the morning sky
toward the rooftops.
At the last second
it swooped upward,
swerving toward the trees.
Landing gear extended,
flaps down on gray wings,
 tail twisting for control.
Mississippi Kite "landing"
on a branch of a dead tree,
breakfast in its mouth.

"Landing" is such an ordinary
word for nature's ballet.

September morn

Grey clouds in the sky, muggy, breezy, cumulus building in the humid sky, sun in and out.

Ninth month...but Septimus means seventh in Latin and September was the seventh month of the year until 153 BC when the Romans changed it around, moving first month March into third place and January to first month.

Uh oh. Does that mean all those predicting the end of the world are three months off? And what time zone are we going by?  And what calendar?

Proving the point, autumn has arrived:  In the Northern hemisphere, the beginning of the meteorological autumn is 1 September. In the Southern hemisphere, the beginning of the meteorological spring is 1 September.
So the idea of equinoxes  is just another man-made measurement.. And September marks the beginning of the ecclesiastical year in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Something I didn't know: September begins on the same day of the week as December every year, because there are 91 days separating them, which is a multiple of seven (the number of days in the week).
Ah, but here in the heat, autumn is only hinting, teasing. Further north, it's here already. You can tell it by the air, the leaves, the measurements that we all went by before there were calendars...like the other animals.