Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Blessings

The other day, I picked up a print at the Washington Printmaker's Gallery, upstairs from Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring. I bought it several weeks ago, when I was taking those printing classes I mentioned in an earlier post, but I had to wait for the show to be over before I could take it away.

The print is by Pauline Jakobsberg, whose work I have been following for a number of years, ever since she had a show, A Story to be Told, here in our own Dadian Gallery.  The piece is called "Life in the Mountains", and refers to her late husband's time in the Altiplano many years ago. A small, golden-toned square floats against a mottled, gray field, separated from it by a narrow black band. Within the square, a few broken lines suggest a man wearing a tall hat, but it's hard to make out what is happening.The wind blows the snow in every direction, and I think I can make out a hand or a foot, but then I think that I must be mistaken. Maybe it's only a rock or a distant peak. It's all like a dream, or a memory that I can't quite catch hold of.

The year that is coming to an end right now feels a bit like that, too. I can't quite make out the shape of those moments that loomed so large last summer, or remember if I actually kept the resolutions that I made so confidently at the turn of the year. In the rush to finish everything at the end of the semester, I lose track of time, of what I was going to do next, of what I was thinking about just a moment ago.

That's about right for Advent, I think. Advent is a time to prepare for what is coming, not for looking backward. While I grade end-of-term projects and tie up all the loose ends of the semester, I wait for Christ to emerge from the maelstrom and guide me on the paths of peace.

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