"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.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Refuge in times of distress from pandemics and "Patriots"

"Refuge," 9 x 12 watercolor, 140 Lb. d'Arches cold press paper
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalms 46:1
Where are your refuges?
We all need them these days, as we strive to survive the pandemics of biologic virus, "patriotic" racism and political chaos.
One of mine is watercolor painting, though I'd prefer a cabin in the New Mexico mountains, but that's not possible at the moment.
We're used to reading about the thousands of unfortunate refugees around the world fleeing from oppression, from war and violence.
Needing refuge is nothing new, witness the words of David, who also needed refuge, in Psalms 46:1.
I never thought I'd apply the term "refugee"  to myself.  Though not in as dire conditions as those homeless hundreds, I am a daily refugee, spiritually and mentally,  in these times, from the constant anger and idiocy and sickness that constantly attacks us.
This started me thinking about scripture and the word refuge.It was first used by -Anglo-French Middle English in the 1300s from the 
 Latin refugiuma noun that meant “the act of taking refuge” or “a place of refuge or asylum.” Refuge  can mean both a literal “shelter” and a figurative “sanctuary.” Refugium came from the verb refugere (“to run away” or “to escape”), itself formed from fugere (“to flee” or “to avoid”).
All those meanings fit me, and I suspect, most Americans today.
The first use of refugee was to describe more than 400,000 Protestants who fled France following the revocation in 1685 of the Edict of Nantes, the law that granted religious liberty and civil rights to the Protestant Huguenots.
As I view the insanity of our times and the so-called "patriot" anti-maskers defending their "liberties," and threatening open violence against minorities or those who disagree, symbolized by the yellow flag "Don't tread on me," I thought of another appropriate use of the word, that applies today. 
In the 1700s, the figurative use of refuge was  used by the  English lexicographer Samuel Johnson, who famously quipped: 
“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
Thus today's watercolor, a metaphor for the stormy times in which we live.

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