Weekly musings on the arts and current events.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Autumnal Reflections

Autumn at its most stark. My mountain has been visited by a frigid cloud and I can't see farther than a tree or two past my property line. The black oaks' leaves are yellow and they alone find something to glimmer about in the subdued morning light. Our October snow was untimely and warm days followed and melted it, but now there's no question that winter is nigh.

Thanksgiving is a harvest holiday and those are always the best. Traditionally, grain bins and smokehouses are full, the weather is not yet forbidding, and memories of summer are still fresh; indeed my tan hasn't fully faded. After Thanksgiving come the Winter Solstice holidays: Christmas, New Years, Hanukah, and Kwanza, and they'll be observed around fireplaces and with candles and colored lights. But today, it is the autumn leaves that blaze.

It is my custom at this time of year to reflect with gratitude upon my life, my family, my friends, and upon the state of the world. In this space, I've written before that I find hope in the fact that our dire economic straits are distributional and not born of famine, disease, pestilence, or want. We have food, energy, products, markets, and capital. We just need to learn to manage them better.

In the Bible, the first commandment given by God after finishing His creation is: "Be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth, and subdue it." Thanksgiving should make us ponder how well or ill we are carrying out our charge.

Autumn Hills & My Studio by Robert Vonnoh (1858-1933). I don't know much about the artist other than that he was an avid student of French Impressionism, a beloved teacher in the US, and said to be of a gentle and melancholy disposition--a man who liked nothing more than to set up his easel in the open air. In short, a man of autumnal temperament. Click on the picture for a closer look.


Annie said...

Harvest holidays are my favorite as well. Must be the pagan in me. Speaking of Thanksgiving, are you going up north? If not and feel like coming down to the floor, you are always invited to ours. The usual suspects will be there.

dragonfly said...

Lovely post, Richard. Our Thanksgiving (in Alaska) is well past harvest season and well into winter (-40F this past week!). But we're getting our ski/sled gear ready for warmer temperatures, braving the ice fog to shop for holiday dinner fixings, and doing LOTS of baking of comfort foods. There is much to be thankful for, isn't there? Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

TallTchr said...

@Annie: Thanks for the invite but I'm driving up to San Francisco. We'll celebrate the holidays, I'm sure.

@Amy: Forty below? Yikes! Hope that new car turns over.

dragonfly said...

No trouble with the car - it's a Subaru and though I don't have a garage, it's plugged in on a timer to keep the engine warm. Did you know we plug in our cars in the winter?

Hope you are having a warm & happy holiday weekend :)