What is it about endings that cause my heart to ache? It is December, the final calendar month when the shoppers, chipmunks and squirrels have much in common, dashing about stuffing goodies away for winter feasting. Whitetail bucks and does flirting about in the woods, stirring up the last leaves now deeply layered over the long slow autumn of this year. Drought finally easing with rains customary this wet last month. It is as it should be, with anticipation of celebrations twinkling among cozy homes everywhere. 2022 is almost finished. Letting go of this year, each year is part of celestial cycle repeating itself in a singular way with each passing. And yet this year, I feel it more than others. A gentle low aching.
Is it an easing of things? Less fear of contagions or shelves more reliably stocked? Packages arriving on or before expected or somewhat smoother transitions of leadership? No going back to a normal past, but a feeling the intensity of the last two years coming down a notch or even two.
There is a shift.
Responding here by simplifying to lighten my burdens, readying for what comes next. Slowing my pace, pausing when anxious, including the simple act of reducing the impact on trees felled for paper goods. Making room for what 2023 brings and beyond.
So a modest eulogy is in order. Just below you will find a colorful retrospective of a lovely tradition which sadly has come to its conclusion. This year is my final year of painting snow for Christmas cards sent more years than I can remember.
“Twin Firs” c2004
Snow has been a consistent muse teasing my palette with light and shadows in blues, greys, greens and vivid sunny whites.
“The Clearing” c2007
Year after year, images of paintings created out of love for the white frozen fluff Ullr (pronounced EWW-lore), the Nordic God of Winter, sends each year have landed in friend’s and collector’s mailboxes.
I really couldn’t help myself.
“Well Hello” c2009
Each fall my brushes twitched longing to be dipped into puddles of pigment attempting to say all they could say about snowy days ahead. Of light falling on fir, pine and aspen.
“Snow Shadows” c2010
Everywhere the flurries fell, inspiration accumulated. From fleeting Tennessee snow on cedar lined wooded trails at Radnor Lake to……
“A Light Dusting” c2008
dramatic drifts of Colorado snow on ski slopes at Steamboat Springs and Telluride.
“Aspen Cathedral” c2012
Snow banked then frozen in and along Ten Mile Creek near Frisco, Colorado.
“First Light” c2008
Sheets of crusted snow clinging dangerously onto granite mountains at Ten Mile Canyon.
“My Side of the Mountains” c2008
Snow carved up by lucky alpine adventurers snatching up first tracks outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“Doublewide Tranquility” c2010
Pristine moments of snow covered places so cold and still the sound of breath could be seen and heard at Copper Mountain.
“The Stand” c2010
Creekside snow and ice in Denver erasing the clatter and clutter of the city for a moment at Bear Creek Park.
“Winter Bear Creek” c2018
A favorite hike in any season, though barely visible on packed powder trails in Summit County.
“Morning Glory” c2013
Snow at the dimming of winter daylight along the Gore Range, Eagle’s Nest Wilderness bidding a glowing good evening.
“Winter Solstice” c2021
I have an old friend from Vanderbilt Divinity School days, an artist, gardener and nurse among many other talents. Wendy Gravitt has saved these snowy cards over the years gathering them together in a garland she hangs in her festive holiday dressed home. I called to let her know this would be her last addition.
If you didn’t receive 2022 edition in the mailbox, here is what found its way onto the final holiday greeting:
“Deep Drifts” c2019
One last snowy scene honoring the winter solstice.
Nature turning the corner of darkening
moving now toward more light as each day passes.
Trees undressed or layered white rest
waiting for warmth to return.
It is the love of those trees that has called to me-
bringing an end to this lovely tradition
of color tucked into paper stamped and sent to you.
Thank you for the privilege of sharing winter’s magic.
Let this cold season be warmed
by those you love here and in your silent memories.
May each of us use the power of our Love
of Nature and our Goodwill toward All
sharing what we have with those in the greatest need
during the days ahead.
As always may you find or create
Peace on Earth
wherever you are able.
As witnesses to a catastrophic event during these last years where many were lost and many still suffer as the world of people meets so many challenges, I feel overwhelmed at times. Especially, when digital news intrudes. I know I am powerless over so much – time, weather, global politics, my own aging body. How shall we respond?
Reviewing this sampling of past artworks and of my 2022 adventures, gratitude fills places that sometimes felt empty for me. Experiencing astonishing beauty, often alone, fed resilience into me, a prize, consequence or silver lining of surviving the chaos of the recent past. Such natural abundance bolsters my faith in possibility and goodwill. Focusing on what is good and how I can help, as one small person riding on this Earth of 8 billion souls has been my answer.
And with that, my wish for all of us is to go forth into next year changed for the better. May you find more gratitude, empathy, grace and forgiveness – love in action- for whatever way feels right. Share that limitless Love, our collective ultimate superpower.
If you are still reading, thank you. And Happiest Holidays to you and yours.
Here is what is coming up next at the studio:
Go Big! workshop
Painting on the Mountain
Monteagle Sunday School Assembly
Bringing Wildlife Alive workshop