A Glittering in the Dark

My wife, Kay, and I were married two years ago. That was the summer of the Covid shutdown, and there was no thought given in June 2020 to taking a honeymoon any time soon. We were stuck in Tennessee for the duration.

Well, almost.

In the fall of 2021, we decided to plot a course to visit somewhere based largely on what areas of the U.S. were red zones and which weren't. We decided to head to an Airbnb in a remote part of northern New Mexico. (In case you're wondering about the state of our health as those pandemic danger zones shifted around, we came through it all in full health.)

The house where we stayed was north of the small town of Questa maybe 15 miles south of the Colorado line.

Front porch, New MexicoIt had no air conditioning, just fans, and we arrived there, a mile and a half from the nearest paved road, in the late afternoon. (That's me, baggy jeans, hands in pockets, looking west.)

Our first impression after we moved our bags in and went back outside was the quiet. I grew up a suburban kid, and I've lived in towns and near cities for most of my life, and every place I've lived has its own sound; this place had no sound, apart from a warm breeze in the hollow of the ears and the greeting of the house's resident cat. Sound, let's say, but not noise.

The sunset was a gorgeous interplay of the sun's light and the density of the atmosphere, but that was just the beginning of the silent, stunning display we took in once the sun's light was no longer visible, apart from what reflected off the crescent moon.

I've seen the galaxy, the Milky Way, several times in my life. But never was it as clear as it was during our stay there. The size of it, the quiet of it, and our layman's knowledge of how it all came about brought the title of a book I read as a child, Loren Eisley's The Immense Journey, to mind. I say that because our time on this tiny rock is just a moment in the life of the universe. A wink of light in the dark.

This is the sort of window to something greater I seek to present in my art. Often I'll have my subject looking directly at the viewer, because I want that viewer to see into and through my drawing to something immense, something outside his or her everyday, ho-hum life, even if it's "just" our place in this planet's web of life.

Success in that endeavor, of course, depends as much on the viewer as it does on the artist and his subject. I can't force people to look at nature with amazement.

But I hope they do.

I'm here, doing my best to provide a lens to something holy in nature . . . something almost beyond belief.


© Stephen D. Wedan