When my grandson, Grant, was about five years old, his younger brother and I joined him for a winter walk in the woods. Initially, we were on a trail with well-packed snow. Suddenly, Grant said, “I see a portal over there. Let’s go!” and off we went, not far from the trail but into deeper snow and certainly off-trail. He led us to a place near a cluster of trees and showed us how to navigate going in and through the portal a certain way. The first portal he identified as being surrounded by purple. The next one was gold. Our trek through the woods that day was via trail and portal, from walking on solidly packed snow to soft drifts that led to places only he saw.
I think the walk was longer than my adult son expected because he came looking for us after 45 minutes. Finding us off-trail was a bit upsetting to him. My explanation of Grant having found portals did not seem to settle his concern one iota! I apologized to him, offering assurance that we were never in danger—we were only exploring the portals a short distance from the visible trail.
Inwardly, I was quite excited that Grant had been able to see and track portals in the snowy woods. Perhaps his own portal of vision was still open to worlds and mysteries no longer seen by adults. The experience gave me great hope and increased my curiosity.
Now in my late 60s and free from the intense demands of a daily job, I have greater spaciousness in my days to notice portals and go off-trail to explore them. Abstract painting guides my way as a snowy drift led Grant’s way.
This year I’ll be writing about the colors, marks, images, and feel of these artistic portals, beginning with this abstract painting of doorlike openings. It was my first painting on a summer adventure to Taos, NM where I rented a small cabin to be on a solitary art retreat. Just being in the desert surrounded by pinon trees and new smells opened something in my soul that I had not accessed for some time. Ah, a portal. May there be many more for me in 2022—and for you! Keep creating!
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