Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fog Girl: The Most Wonderful Time of Year

most wonderful time of year train
The most wonderful time of the year.

It's something we say, rather flippantly, pretty generally, about the Christmas season. As if the days, themselves, are better by default. And in some ways, they are. As the famous Christmas song says, it's a time for family gatherings, parties with friends, enjoying delicious foods, and well-wishing in general. For students, it's a time without classes or responsibilities. No complaints there!

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" was released in October, 1963 by Andy Williams, mere weeks before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Racial tensions were high that year, as Dr. Martin Luther King lead protests in Birmingham, and gave his famous Dream Speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was the middle of the Cold War, US troops were on the ground in Vietnam, and tension permeated every aspect of society. You might say there wasn't a whole lot of wonderful happening that holiday season.

1963 and 2016 have a few things in common, between political uproar, race-related violence, and ongoing conflicts around the world, particularly the War on Terror. 

It's the most wonderful time of the year! But there's a sense of melancholy that goes just as deep, if not deeper, than politics, social justice, and war. You know what I'm talking about; you've felt it, or seen it. It's more than the stress and expense of shopping for gifts. It's the question of whether to bother buying them, or whether there will ever be someone to buy gifts for. Lost loved ones, past traumas, and family conflicts become most painful during the holidays. Like the song, we all like to gloss over such shadows around this time of year, but in reality those painful parts become the hardest to ignore.

It may be the most wonderful time of year, but it's also the most difficult. 
fog ASL love

I drew this quiet little piece a while ago, set it aside, and didn't look at it again for a long time. It wasn't big, fancy, or flashy. It drew no attention. But as I was going through my things recently, pulling together some pieces for an art event, I stumbled upon the little 8"x10" pastel on mattboard.

Again, I set it aside. It didn't fit the themes in my arrangement. It has no bright colors (no colors at all!), no grand compositional features, and none of the crazy materials in my collage/mixed media work. It's barely a finished piece!

I came across it once again yesterday, while photographing my recent work (to be shared here, eventually, love ya!). And finally, it struck me. This little one,  hardly even a finished piece, can mean a whole lot this time of year. 

It's about what this season is entirely dependent on. Love. Without love, the shadows can overtake everything. Love is what holds the darkness at bay, and allows us to experience the joys between the dark times. 

fog ASL love detail
If you're familiar with sign language, you'll see that the Silhoeutte Girl is crossing her wrists over her chest in the ASL sign for "love".

When everything is foggy, clouded, and unclear, dreary and drab and lonely, there is still love.

This barely-finished, smudged and imperfect little drawing demonstrates it perfectly. Love doesn't take much, and it doesn't require an intact family or a romance worthy of a Nicholas Sparks movie. Love is kind words to a cashier at the end of her stressful shift. Love is taking a woman's cart to the cart corral after she's put all her purchases in her car, tipping your waiter a little extra, and buying a coffee for the man on the street corner. Love is offering to walk your neighbor's dog, or babysitting for your coworker so she and her husband can go on a much-needed date.

The holidays are in full swing. Christmas was two days ago, and this weekend we celebrate the beginning of a new year. There's a lot of uncertainty in the air, A lot of fog and smudges. But if we all work together, maybe our love can show up strong and clear through the fog. 

Have you shown or felt some of that simple, smudgy love this holiday season? Comment and tell me about it! If you're in need of some love, comment below or hop over to the Contact Me page and let me know.


1 comment: