|Frank Harmon, In Praise of Curved Roads, November, 2018|
I know what he means...bends in the road always spell me, too. And also curiously, I had been thinking of those rolling roads, though in rather a different way, when his message came through. For instance, this watercolor by artist Kathleen Vanderbrook. Once of New York State, she and her husband Terry (whose elegant ceramic jar is also a prize among my pottery) moved to the tiny community of El Rito, New Mexico, where a few other artists came to settle and to begin a journey of desert proportions.
|Kathleen Vanderbrook, On a Clear Day, 1993|
|Road on the Hill|
Since my own art began with small, rather clumsy watercolored drawings like the one above, I admire Frank Harmon's for their effortless wash. His have the quick-sketch charm of travel journals, accompanied by the few words that skirt across your mind as you pass by a place that turns your head. Like him, I myself prefer to take 85 going north, just as, when I lived farther east, I would eschew the maniacal interstates 64 and 95 and ride the saner and waterier US 17 to 13, over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, through the flatlands of coastal towns to the Lewes-Cape May ferry, then up the parkway through the beaches and the pine barrens, around bend after bend. Even now, I will drag my tires along narrow quiet US 15 as long as I can before even 85 becomes a necessity; taking the small roads allows me access to the live worlds along the roadsides in ways that interstates never can.
|Rachel Victoria Mills, Solitude, 2000|
Bends in the road, though we cannot see around them, bring us to the points where we leave old roads behind and open ourselves to the new ones.
The other day, my friend Lee and I, coffee cups in hand, chatted awhile about the way our lives had changed, how with each change the years segment, forming their own characters, one by one. Our old versions follow along behind us, and yet there is a separateness about them, a theme in each, undeniable and dominant, with its own landscapes and undercurrents. I think of the roads I have traveled, bend by bend. Who am I? I ask myself each morning. Have I been to this place before? And what is this new perspective I am treated to today? The ever-changing view as the road twists this way and that lets us know we are traveling farther, further, day by day. Where we end up is another story entirely.
A grateful Thanksgiving to each of you, wherever you have been, wherever you are on your way.