Category Archives: Seasons

Gallery

For These Days – Spring Thaw in the Marsh

Trees and soil
Tremble on the edge
Of Spring growth
Waiting for days
Of sun and warmth
Continue reading

Gallery

In the Mist

This gallery contains 1 photos.

…In that strange season
When winter lurks
Around the corners
Of every warmer day… Continue reading

Gallery

Spring Dance

This gallery contains 2 photos.

…Warming with the sun
Breathing with the wind
Flowing with the clouds…
Continue reading

Gallery

Our World, Our Hands

This gallery contains 1 photos.

Thinking of: spring time, when hope comes dreaming… Continue reading

Gallery

And a New Year Begins – Again

This gallery contains 1 photos.

I wish we could go forward into the year to come like children, eyes wide open, looking around with wonder, looking forward to the adventures that await. Continue reading

Spring Rhythm

Margaret Mair, Dancer in Green, Original Art

Margaret Mair, Dancer in Green, Original Art

My dancer makes me think of the world in spring. She radiates restless energy, attention turned inward, dancing to a rhythm only she can hear. And she’s clothed in green, like the new-grown leaves that promise deeper greens to come.

Spring has been a long time coming this year – cold winds, falling snowflakes, icy hail have all conspired to keep it at bay. As March turned into April those winter friends did not linger long when they came – but they refused to stay away, bracketing each promise of warmer days with their cold storminess. We might declare that is was time for Spring to be here, but they did not agree.

But now they have retreated. Spring is actually here. There’s green grass and the promise of leaves on the trees. There are buds and birds and warming temperatures that bring the hardy (or foolhardy) out in shorts and shirts. The sun shines differently though my window as it comes closer to our northern climes, lingering longer each day and angling its beams towards where my plants sit, waiting. Like me, they are hungry for its light.

And then there’s the feel of things, a kind of restless excitement that tingles the body and wakes the imagination. There’s a sense of good things coming. As day follows night and happiness follows sorrow so spring follows winter, and after the dark days we are glad again. It’s the rhythm of being, the dance of life.

As my dancer in green reminds me.

Stormy Times

WinterStorm_Francisco_de_Goya_y_Lucientes_016

Francisco Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes), Winter

February has been a very stormy month, here and elsewhere. The storms have rolled through, coming up from south of us or in off the sea. I’m glad I can watch them pass from the safety of our apartment, while our boat sits – safe too, but rocked by the waves and wind – at a dock not too far away.

And I think about the fact that the same storm can feel completely different to different people. So much depends on where you are and what resources you have. I’ve experienced bad storms tucked safely away inside a sturdy building. I’ve also experienced them out at sea in our sailboat, surrounded by the noise and turmoil of waves and wind.

Goya, too, knew how different the same storm could feel to different people. And he wanted other people to know. That’s why his picture of Winter is not of some beautiful, snow-filled landscape but of people struggling through a winter storm.

You can tell how cold it is. Three of the men huddle together as they walk, blankets or shawls wrapped tightly around their heads and their thin coats. Their heads are down, their arms wrapped around themselves, their faces grim. You can see snow on their clothes, on their leggings; you can almost see them shiver. The poor dog beside them, tail between his legs, looks as if it would rather be somewhere else, somewhere warm and out of the wind.

These three men are empty-handed, returning home with nothing to show for all their work.  No wonder they look so grim and tired.

The other two walk independently. They are dressed more warmly: one has his head covered with a hood of the same material as his coat; the other has tied his hat on so that it shelters his face from the wind-driven snow. They have been hunting, and their hunt has been successful – one has a gun, the other leads a pack animal, a horse or a mule, with the carcass of a pig tied across it’s back. Wherever they are going these men will be well fed, and probably warm.

The painting is a sketch painted by Goya, the design for a tapestry to hang in the dining-room of the Pardo palace near Madrid in Spain. It’s one of a series of four depicting the seasons. So there is a third layer here – those who gazed at the stormy cold of the tapestry would be warm and comfortable themselves.

And people would gaze at it; Goya has made it beautiful. No doubt he hoped at least some would see beyond its beauty, beyond the richness of the colors and the skillful use of technique, to the differences between these two groups caught out in the storm. Maybe they would compare what they saw with their own lives.

Because Goya himself saw these things.  In many ways he was unusual, a tempestuous man who lived in stormy times, though his life started conventionally enough. Born in Spain in 1746, he spent his early years in Fuendetodos before his family moved to Zaragoza, where he began to study art at fourteen. From there he moved to Madrid to study more, then spent time in Rome before returning to Spain and to Zaragoza.

Despite his talent and growing skill, he found it hard to find work as an artist when he came back. Then he became part of the Bayeu family when he married Josefa, sister to the artists Francisco and Ramon. Her brothers were working at the Spanish court, and through them Goya was offered work painting designs for tapestries for two newly-built royal palaces. He went on to be a court painter and to paint for the nobility – though he broke from the courtly tradition by painting portraits of people as they were, not as they wished to be seen.

His later work was touched by an illness that left him deaf, less communicative and more introspective, and his fortunes fluctuated with changes at the court and the effects of wars and revolution, particularly the war between France and Spain. In his later work there’s anger, a sense of pain and despair, and a recognition of the ironies in life.

Because through it all he continued to work, to share his thoughts about difficult things and tragic events in stark and beautiful paintings and dark prints. Beauty has its limitations, though. Some of his paintings and drawings I find very difficult to look at. The horror overpowers the beauty.

But not the compassion. He understood that the storms of life can blow most cruelly when we are least equipped to deal with them.

A compassion we all should share.

Winter Tales with Monet

It’s the middle of January, and the middle of one of those blasts of winter that make you remember why you love summer so much.  There doesn’t seem much to say about this – after all snow and blasts of cold air will come in their season.

I suppose that I could spend my time longing for summer, dreaming about warmth and long sunny days.

Or I could find my comfort somewhere else.  Perhaps in Monet’s paintings, which are so beautiful they could make a person love winter. At least for a while.

Thank you, Feishtica.

Sunrise, Sunset – Playing in the Digital World

Margaret Mair, Sunrise/Sunset, Digital Image

Margaret Mair, Sunrise/Sunset, Digital Image

The holidays are just past. They’re a time for playing, so I spent some time playing with one of my toys – a digital drawing program on my phone. Creating shapes and playing with color are a pleasure, and when even the act of creating is pure play then creating can only be pure pleasure – and the process more important than the results.

And then I played with words:

Sunrise, sunset,
rolling over
night to day to night.
beginnings, endings,
renewings –
smile hello, wave goodbye,
cry hello again…
 

It’s all endings and beginnings, and life flows on in between.

Last year ended with storms of wind and snow and icy rain. This year is starting with winds that toss the waters and sing in the window cracks, making cold into bitter cold. Old year, new year, the days come and go in much the same way, and weather doesn’t care much for our attempts to corral and predict it with dates and times and seasons. It has its own cycles.

And so do we – wake and sleep, give and receive, work and play, birth and death. Each part of the cycle has its place.

So let us not neglect play, an activity ripe with possibilities and full of joy and discovery. For life, like weather, doesn’t care much for our attempts to corral and predict. As John  Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans…”

Wonder what life will bring this New Year?

Notes: On Color in Spring

M. Mair, Flowers in the Sunset, Original Art

Margaret Mair, Flowers in the Sunset, Original Art

Seasons are not the same everywhere.

I grew up in a place without Spring – or winter. The closest thing to spring was the coming of the May rainy season, when grass grew greener and the poui trees lost their leaves and burst into flower for a short while; when, if all went well, the reservoirs filled; when the sweet sop was ripening and we looked forward to buying bunches of guineps from roadside stalls.

So when I moved to this northern place both spring and winter were a revelation, strange and cold and beautiful.

My first real winter was an adventure in learning about cold and snow and the shortness of days and the slipperiness of ice underfoot. Unaccustomed to months of short days and much time spent indoors, to rising to dark mornings, and nights that fell before the day’s activities were done, I welcomed my first Spring with joy and appreciation. There was a sense that life was expanding again, and we would enjoy the return of green and sun and warmth.

I remember sitting outside on damp, green grass with my books, “studying”, enjoying being in the barely-warm sun with my friends. It was time to breathe deeply and stretch out again, to shed coats and boots and dream of summer clothes and sandals. We were re-emerging from the clutch of winter and the depths of indoor life to the freshness, openness and changing colors of outdoors.

It took me a while to be aware of the many different colors of spring. The yellow-greens and deep reds of buds, the browns and greens of new branches, the deeper brown of mud, the gritty grey and lacey black of disappearing, smutty roadside snow. The coy blues of the periwinkles, the fragrant purple of the lilacs, the sunny yellows of the forsythia and the dandelions. The evergreens seemed a softer green. When the spring rains came they washed the air clean and made the new leaves shine.

And when the sun went down it added its sunset colors to the colors of the day.