Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Christmas in the Air

Christmas in the Air (The Arroyo Seco), 14" x 14", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! Wishing you a peaceful holiday season with all the enjoyment it brings and none of the stress that tends to accompany. I'm looking forward to plenty of good things in the new year for everyone out there. I was able to get outdoors briefly last week to paint amidst all the bustle of the season, and found this great spot along the Arroyo Seco in South Pasadena. You can see all the colorful trees in the distance - of course, no comparison to Maine! - but see, California does have seasons, also evidenced in the multitudinous vineyards up and down the state.

Since this time of year lends itself to reflection, I thought this would be a good time to quote one of my favorite prose poems by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008).


On the surface of a swift-flowing stream the reflections of things far are always indistinct; even if the the water is clear and has no foam, reflections in the constant stream of ripples, the restless kaleidoscope of water, are still uncertain, vague, incomprehensible.

Only when the water has flowed down river after river and reaches a broad, calm estuary or comes to rest in some backwater or a small, still lake - only then can we see in its mirror-like smoothness every leaf of a tree on the bank, every wisp of a cloud and the deep blue expanse of the sky.

It is the same with our lives. If so far we have been unable to see clearly or to reflect the eternal lineaments of truth, is it not because we too are still moving towards some end - because we are still alive?

[Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Stories & Prose Poems, Translated by Michael Glenny, The Bodley Head, 1971, p.232]

Since I didn't have a photo of a partridge in a pear tree, I'm substituting a cat in a persimmon tree. Merry Christmas!