Monday, December 12, 2011

Snow, and Lack Of

6x6 inches, acrylic on paper

The other night I sat with a large group of retired friends for Friday night fish fry, listening to the hardiest of the group bemoan our lack of snow so far this year.  I had to bite my tongue, having already declared my lack of enthusiasm for football, about my similar lack of enthusiasm for snow. I didn't want to be ejected from the table.  Despite my northern European genetic background, and despite having lived almost sixty-one years in Wisconsin, I don't like snow.  I don't like being stiff and cold, don't enjoy being afraid to drive on icy country roads or nervous that I may slip and break one a bone.  When one long-time friend and happy grandmother said she was thinking of organizing a sledding party - once snow actually falls - I just chewed my potato pancake and smiled.  For me, sledding is only a memory.  As a child I dragged my little sled up the small hills on the farm, and once, wanting more of a thrill, hauled an aluminum saucer onto the roof of the chicken coop and slip off the snowy incline onto a pile of plowed snow near the driveway, but that was when I was more resilient.  I also slid down hills at UW Whitewater on fiberglass trays from the cafeteria, but that was when I was dumber.

Anyway, I decided to attempt a painting based on a small 1935 black and white photo I found of my mother and her older sister.  They are standing outside in a dim and snowy landscape, bits of snow falling past the camera lens.  It was interesting, mostly fun, and frustrating.  The little girl in red is my mother, and the painting actually resembles her.  The older girl is  OK in a general way,  maybe a little old looking, but she in no way resembles my dear aunt.  I wish I could have tweaked her features more, but I feared overworking the painting even more than I had already.  At least the girls call to mind a time a place, and painting them gave me time to imagine their life between the two world wars, on a cold day in Wisconsin.

The Snow Man    
by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

2 comments:

Ann's Art said...

It's a lovely painting - I feel the same about snow!

jinxxxygirl said...
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