"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.

Friday, July 2, 2021

A half year is in the books, 27 of them.

The year 2021 is half gone...and that somber fact caused me to stop and reflect on time passing, and accounting for those hours.
Fortunately there have been some travels, several paintings, two vaccinations, reunions, and more events as I look back on gradual recovery from pandemics of biology and politics.
A favorite from childhood

 Part
of the accounting can be   measured in the 27 books I've been  reading. Some were discoveries of people I wish I'd known earlier. Some were old friends, a couple were rereads, most pressed my imagination and boundaries as an artist, a writer, as a spiritual person. 
 One was happening upon  a favorite book of childhood, A Tree in the Trail, brilliantly illustrated novel of a cottonwood on the old Santa Fe Trail. I had a first edition of it, and this was a paperback. I sat and read it in a couple of hours one afternoon in a Santa Fe Home. And I've since ordered a copy--the power of books and memories.
 Of the 27, I'm half way through one, a novel,  Stargazer, by Anne Hillerman.
Four others I didn't finish, and won't. The Complete Essays of Montaigne was monumental, and a mistake, as I just didn't get into it after just a few. Another, A Swim in the Pond in the Rain by Sanders, analyzed several great Russian short stories for their writing. Enjoyable, but deep. A third, Wonderworld, I bought by mistake thinking it might have to do with art. It was all about creative writing, and I just don't have time nor the inclination for that. The fourth, from the library, Dreamscapes, was neat and about painting mermaids, fairies, etc. Detail and good for scanning the art, but I'm not that patient.
Here's how the others counted: Non-fiction--nine; art--three; poetry--six; fiction--three.
Non-fiction, in reverse chronological order:
Remembering Santa Fe, William Clark; How To Do Nothing, Jenny Odell; The Bomber Mafia, Malcolm Gladwell; The Lost Spells, Robert Macfarlane; Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiesson; Winter's Hawk, (Oklahoma Redtails), Jim Lish; One Long River of Song, Brian Doyle; Four Churches of Pecos, National Park Service; Ladder to the Light, Steven Charleston; The Walk, William deBuys; The Big Wonderful Thing (Texas), Stephen Harrigan.
Art: At Home on the Great Plains of Texas, Laura Lewis; Powerful Watercolor Landscapes, Catherine Gill.
Poetry: The Big Red Book of Rumi, Colman Barks; Illuminated Rumi, Barks; Essentials, David Whyte;  Leaf and Cloud, Mary Oliver; Whispers from a Bench, Sara Sarna; In the Days of Our Undoing, Nathan Brown.
Fiction: Fungi, Greg Garcia editor; Siddhartha, Herman Hess; Tree in the Trail, Holling Holling.

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