While the north appears motionless under its mantle of cold, its workers are busy preparing for another summer season.
Palm and sand, by Carol L. Douglas
The temperatures have been cycling around zero since before Christmas. A blizzard is winding up its rampage across the northern states and a Nor’easter is climbing up the coast. There are freeze warnings in Houston and in central Florida.
But enough of that. If you look carefully, you can see that winter’s back is already broken, no matter what the thermometer says. The days grow perceptibly longer.
Fish Beach, by Carol L. Douglas
Yesterday I visited the North End Shipyard. The former Isaac Evans is up on the railroad. Under her temporary cover, her new owners are stripping her down and rebuilding her. Captain Doug Lee of Heritage was in the shop, cheerfully smashing glass panes out of window frames, preparing to rebuild and paint them. And Shary was sitting at her desk sorting a big pile of reservations for next summer’s sailings. While the world appear motionless under its mantle of cold, its workers are busy preparing for another summer season.
In the grey summer garden I shall find you
With day-break and the morning hills behind you.
There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;
And down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings.
Not from the past you’ll come, but from that deep
Where beauty murmurs to the soul asleep... (Siegfried Sassoon)
Just reading the poetry fragment, above, makes me feel better. And that is one of the main points of art. It transports you from your current situation and reminds you that better days are ahead.
Erie Canal, by Carol L. Douglas
Hanging in my studio-gallery is the above painting of my daughter biking along the Erie Canal. She was my model, but as she has grown up and away, the painting has assumed an elegiac sweetness to me. Almost all the paintings I own, either by myself or others, are of summer scenes. They bring me more joy than does ice and cold.
Even for those who can’t collect original paintings, there is art to warm our souls. Consider Claude Monet’s or Vincent Van Gogh’s hot, buzzing countrysides, or the long grass in an Edward Hopper painting. Or Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin’s fresh strawberries, or Wayne Thiebaud’s San Francisco streets. All of them evoke not just a sense of place, but of season. None of them are farther away than a click of your mouse.
In a sense, I needed to write this as an antidote to yesterday’s post. After it was published, a reader directed me to this video. It is cynical, but it accurately describes the high-end art market.
But here in the hinterlands, art continues to plug away at its primary job of sparking the human imagination. It can transport us away from our current reality of snow and cold to the warmer climes of memory. I urge you to indulge just a little.