"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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Desert magic

"Desert Magic," 7.5 x 11.5, no-brush water
"What draws us into the desert is the search for something intimate in the remote." 
                   --Ed Abbey
When you grow up in an arid climate, you learn the value of water. Where there is water, there is life, usually marked by greenery of some sort.
But you also learn to value of wide open spaces, of vast skies, of far horizons. There is magic there, far beyond just the scenery and the imagination.
The desert teaches you humility and perspective as a human. And that leads to its atmospheric, geographic, geologic and especially spiritual power, its magic.
The word "desert" isn't just the stereotypical sight of sand dunes, though those are part of it.

  • Consider that the largest desert on earth, the Sahara in North Africa, is as large as the United States, and less than 15,000 years ago it was green.
  • Consider that some of our greatest knowledge comes from people of the deserts--algebra from the Arabs of the Sahara, respect for of the cosmos from them and also the Anasazi at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, for instance. 
  • Did you ever wonder why  Jesus was led into the desert after baptism to prepare him for his coming ordeals.? "Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert," Matthew 4:1

"Polish comes from the cities; wisdom from the desert," wrote Frank Herbert, author of "Dune."
Remember that not long ago, the Great Plains of North America were labeled as "the Great American Desert.
Just as I hunger in this pandemic to go back to the mountains, I also yearn to travel back to the Southwest, to the deserts of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, for the scenery of course, but also because the quietude and the space gives me room to think, to find magic.
Thus today's no-brush watercolor, "Desert Magic."

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