Pale Shadows

Winter                                                             Full Moon of the Cold Month

“Even the smallest victory is never to be taken for granted. Each victory must be applauded, because it is so easy not to battle at all, to just accept and call that acceptance inevitable.” – Audre Lorde

This full moon, out in a cloudless night sky, cast long shadows onto the snow, pale threads of maple trees, birch, oak, lying dark amidst the luminous reflections.  These midwinter full moons have an especially lonely feel, as if the world they illuminate were devoid of animal life and the plants, all the plants have stopped growing, resting now, unconscious perhaps, perhaps unaware of the moon at all, only dumb branches and trunks casting shades of themselves into this quiet world.

There are days, nights, too, when I feel as if the full moons of these midwinter months inhabit my mind, where my thoughts can only produce pale shadows of themselves, the shades of ideas, not the full, living, breathing concept, but one quiet, moonlit and small.

Tour this morning with Hamline philosophy of art students, seniors.  It was all right.  We traveled with the expressionists while they rejected impressionism and the camera, used colors and shape and line and flatness instead, pushing inside, painting the heart and the mind, regions not accessible to the senses or photographic techniques.   The kids themselves, all seniors, seemed a bit dull to me, misshapen and doughy, indifferent to their own learning.  This saddened me, made me wonder what’s happening on college campuses these days.  Is life so barren?  To be sure there were the two girls, young women, who gamely noticed Matisse’s color scheme, Rouault’s thick shapes, the flatness of Bacon’s canvas.  Perhaps it was the formal analytical method that we used, a nod to the class.  It was a substantive tour, but it seemed uninspired and uninspiring.

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