Are there Caribou or the Northern Lights in Colorado? Is December magical for an artist?

"Caribou and Northern Lights", digital print, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2013, 8.25" x 11.66"

“Caribou and Northern Lights”, digital print, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2013, 8.25″ x 11.66″. Click to enlarge view.

The answers all Yes.

(This color sketch was made with a drawing by hand and colored in Photoshop. It makes a nice digital print. I am fascinated with caribou, reindeer, elk and deer.)

Question 1. Are there Caribou in Colorado?

A: Yes, one was found in Colorado in 2006 when sadly killed by a car in 2006, hundreds of miles from its normal range. Wildlife officials could not explain its presence in the state.

Question 2. Can you see the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) in the Colorado skies?

A: Yes, on occasion. The Northern Lights have been spotted in unusually southern places, and there have been reports from 2013 and 2006 with some photo references, in Weld County and in Beulah, Colorado. In the mid 1980s, I felt privileged to see the Northern Lights in Longmont, Colorado one night, coming out of a Sunday night church service. People were just gathering on the lawn outside the church, and quietly watching in amazement. There were lights shooting up in vertical streams in reds and bluish greens as I remember. Who knew? It was wonderful to see. Later I read about the actual phenomenon, and realize how rare that sighting was this far from the North Pole.

Question 3. Is December magical for an artist?

A: This answer is a personal one, and I say yes. Having grown up in Colorado, I enjoy the snow and seasons, especially Christmas season. Not a huge or elaborate holiday by today’s commercial standards. But since our family encouraged reading and creativity, making things from scratch and finding my way into the mountains to ski as a teen, December was and still is very magical in the excitement sense of the word. Plus I got married on December 31st, New Year’s Eve, in downtown Denver at the beautiful Brown Palace Hotel. It was a very cold night. Our sweet Pastor Miller (from our church in Longmont where we saw the Northern Lights) told us it didn’t matter that we weren’t getting married in the church. I believe it was the only ceremony he ever performed that was not under a church roof. After the small reception in the same suite, we caught a horse and buggy ride to an Italian restaurant in Lodo and it was so cold that a taxi was the only option back to the hotel.

This week we are in the deep freeze in our state, with temps dipping below zero. We can find beauty anywhere, though, in any circumstance of weather and nature. We face power outages now. Bad time to be left in the cold!

In tough times, that’s when it’s more important than ever to see things with a creative mind. I  look beyond that which is in front of me to finding faith in things that can’t be seen, but what can be understood with the mind’s eye. There is more to the worldly picture, if we use our eyes of imagination. Then we can make new things happen, again and again. Maybe it feels like a magical experience, but it’s much more than that. We are engaged, not just witnesses.

Do you believe when you create something new? Do you see things that will come to fruition?


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