"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.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

"Red River near Waurika," 5 x 7 140 lb Fabriano Artistico extra white cold press paper
The Red River is not a particularly striking  nor deep  river, nor is its valley, especially the farther west you go in its 1,306 miles before it empties into the Mississippi in Louisiana. 
Its history and stories are deep however, going back before Europeans invaded, and the valley upstream is more of a flood plain than river. 
There are days, especially late in summer or drought when you can walk across those stretches, or camp out on the sand banks, run trot lines and watch time flow by. But in rainy seasons, it can, and has, taken out highway bridges.
Downstream the bluffs get taller and greener, and Texoma Dam forms a huge lake, a testament to the power of the uncontrolled river.  Before it trickles away in the Llano Estacado of Texas, it gets redder--and its name, from the red soil it carries during  flood time. 
I've lived near it in southern Oklahoma for 12 years, and seen its seasons--fond memories, and there is beauty in its moods and scenery.
Why all this? Today's #WorldWatercolorMonth  prompt was "Favorite Song." I get kidded a lot by friends because one of my favorite songs is "Red River Valley." It's so Western, so nostalgic, so about lost love. The fiddle music, the western yearning echo with me, taking me back  years.
First recorded in 1925, "Red River Valley," about the border between Texas and Oklahoma, was first title as "Cowboy Love Song" in 1925 by Carl T. Sprague, one of the first cowboy singers from Texas. 
Many have sung it, and my favorites are Marty Robbins, Michael Martin Murphey or Connie Francis. 
So today's watercolor, Red River near Waurika, Oklahoma.
From this valley they say you are leaving
We shall miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For you take with you all of the sunshine
That has brightened our pathway a while
Then come sit by my side if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy that's loved you so true
For a long time, my darlin', I've waited
For the sweet words you never would say
Now at last all my fond hopes have vanished
For they say that you're going away
Then come sit by my side if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy that's loved you so true
Come go with me. Here's Michael Martin Murphey:

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