Cold and Dry

I’m not much for dry media. Even my colored pencils are watercolor pencils. I have a beautiful set — untouched for 25 years — of Swiss made Conté Crayons in all colors, but chances are I’ll never use them. But when we were kids, and my brother and I got Jon Gnagy Learn To Draw kits for Christmas, the charcoal was the coolest part of them for me. At that point in my artist “career” I didn’t know how to manage watercolors. Part of that, I now understand, was not having had real watercolor paper. That stuff is a big help. All I had was so called “good paper” (it was all white and had never been used before) and ordinary paper (we got to draw on the backs). Once in a while we’d get an entire drawing pad.

Charcoal was especially good for the exercises in Jon Gnagy’s book that pertained to “values.” My brother was perfectly happy to turn 2 dimensional circles into spheres through shading over and over. I wasn’t. I did it once and that was enough for me. “OK, I get it, NEXT!!!” When I got oil paints, my world changed.

For those who don’t know Jon Gnagy, here’s a video.

The Weather Forecast

This is the forecast for Monte Vista, Colorado. It’s going to be a wild and freezing shit-show with big losses for agriculture, and not just my beans. The total forecast indicates that Monte Vista could get as much as a foot of snow in the three or four day period of this storm. It’s still officially summer here in the US (even though I know those Aussies declare fall on September 1 or Spring, if they happen to be in Australia). It’s snowed in September before in my memory, the fall of 1983, but not this early.

And then it’s supposed to turn back to summer/fall and go on like nothing happened. I’m on the fence about how much I want to fight this on behalf of my beans and tomatoes. I’m going to pick the largest bean pods and bring them in. I’m going to try to cover everything, but four nights of below freezing might turn out to be too much for all of us. Too bad I don’t have one of those charcoal smudge pots they use in the orange orchards.

But I know deep in my soul that nature will as nature will and in the end I have no choice but to resign myself to her/it.

But, I woke up with this poem in my mind. I don’t even like the poem, but considering that last night I trimmed back iris under a fire-sky, red from smoke, and I’m now considering how to cover my plants from frost and wondering where my snow shovel is, it seemed right.

Fire and Ice 

BY ROBERT FROST

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

On that profound note, I leave you. I have to clean up the deck for a Covid-19 tea party, or wake for summer, not sure yet.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/09/07/rdp-monday-charcoal/

Rosy Fingers and Golden Arms

I’m enjoying the slow convergence of dawn with my waking up time. Pretty soon we’ll be “at one.” Just in time, too, because it will be “colder than a well digger’s ass,” and I won’t be able to open the back door and leave it open for the dogs until I get up a couple of hours later. That door opens to the laundry room, and the pipes would freeze. Yep. That’s how things are out here in the Back of Beyond.

Dawn has labored long as a metaphor. One of the coolest (long…) moments in my undergraduate life was reading The Odyssey in Homeric Greek and one of the coolest moments of that was learning to read, “Rosy fingered dawn.” Back in those days, when poetry was recited not read, little devices — like repetition — added music to the recital and probably made the long poems easier to remember. I honestly cannot see the dawn without, in my mind, thinking, “Rohodoctulous hos.” (ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς) Dawn — Aurora — wore a saffron robe, had golden arms and red fingers.

My two favorite literary dawn bits are in Thoreau’s Walden.

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.”

“All memorable events, I should say, transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere. The Vedas say, “All intelligences awake with the morning.” Poetry and art, and the fairest and most memorable of the actions of men, date from such an hour. All poets and heroes…are the children of Aurora… To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning. It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men. Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me.”

~~~~

Meanwhile, here in Colorado, the San Luis Valley is an island of sunshine on this Thursday morning while most of the state is enduring snow, high winds and frigid temperatures. The very cold temps will arrive here tonight. So, yesterday I winterized the front garden with the leaves that have already fallen from the trees in front of my house. My corner of the world — on the map above — shows dry roads (beige lines) and clear skies while all around? Purple (high wind) and blue (snow and ice). Highways and mountain passes have closed (red dots), people are skidding right and left. No one is EVER ready for this. Luckily, it will only last three days…for now.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/10/10/rdp-thursday-dawn/

Seventy Miles an Hour

I think it was April 2014. I was asleep. Suddenly I was awakened, not by any noise, but by the noiselessness that meant the electricity had gone out. I sleep with a white noise machine and a humidifier. I waited. It would either come right back on or… Then it hit. A loud rush down the country road in front of my house, a road that lined up between the mountains and the ocean some 45 miles away, a passage way for wind and storms. A rush then a bang. Never had I heard wind like that. 30 mph. 40 mph. 50 mph. Sure. What was THIS?

I got up and went back to the tedious and consuming job that was my life right then — packing and then getting ready for school. At 6:30 I headed down the mountain to school. Along both sides of the freeway were semi-trucks. The big illuminated sign let everyone know that the winds over the pass were too high for any high profile vehicles. I’d seen that many times before. Fire danger was probably off the charts, too.

“Gusts up to 70mph were recorded overnight on top of Cuyamaca Peak.” My hood. Roofs were blown off barns, barns were blown over, cattle were killed by flying debris and I knew I’d gotten off lucky with the escape of a few roof shingles.

Where I live now, the San Luis Valley, is famous for wind, too, especially in spring. Wind here has the great feature of being “visible.” Christina Rossetti’s poem, “Who has seen the wind, neither you nor I, but when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by” could be questioned here. In March 2015 I got to see an incredible thing. The wind was blowing from the east, pushing a wall of dust from the newly ploughed fields across the valley toward my town. Dustless wind blowing from the west hit that wall of dust and held it there in a standoff. And here it is. 🙂

Wind 2015 March MV Adriano

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/rdp-friday-cyclone/

 

Seventy Miles an Hour

I think it was April 2014. I was asleep. Suddenly I was awakened, not by any noise, but by the noiselessness that meant the electricity had gone out. I sleep with a white noise machine and a humidifier. I waited. It would either come right back on or… Then it hit. A loud rush down the country road in front of my house, a road that lined up between the mountains and the ocean some 45 miles away, a passage way for wind and storms. A rush then a bang. Never had I heard wind like that. 30 mph. 40 mph. 50 mph. Sure. What was THIS?

I got up and went back to the tedious and consuming job that was my life right then — packing and then getting ready for school. At 6:30 I headed down the mountain to school. Along both sides of the freeway were semi-trucks. The big illuminated sign let everyone know that the winds over the pass were too high for any high profile vehicles. I’d seen that many times before. Fire danger was probably off the charts, too.

“Gusts up to 70mph were recorded overnight on top of Cuyamaca Peak.” My hood. Roofs were blown off barns, barns were blown over, cattle were killed by flying debris and I knew I’d gotten off lucky with the escape of a few roof shingles.

Where I live now, the San Luis Valley, is famous for wind, too, especially in spring. Wind here has the great feature of being “visible.” Christina Rossetti’s poem, “Who has seen the wind, neither you nor I, but when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by” could be questioned here. In March 2015 I got to see an incredible thing. The wind was blowing from the east, pushing a wall of dust from the newly ploughed fields across the valley toward my town. Dustless wind blowing from the west hit that wall of dust and held it there in a standoff. And here it is. 🙂

Wind 2015 March MV Adriano

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/rdp-friday-cyclone/