From a stranger in Elk Grove, California
With December beginning tomorrow and the end of the year bearing down on us like a freight train, my mind is consumed with all things Christmas. Even if it wasn’t my natural inclination to focus on the holiday season, I’m not sure I would be able to help it, what with all the decorations in every place of business and constant advertising. But I’m not one to complain. I love this time of year, and I fully embrace every aspect of it, overzealous commercialism included.
Anyway, getting to the business at hand, when I look at this picture of these two playful wolves, I can’t help but be reminded of that timeless Christmas classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Maybe its the particularly round noses that these wolves have, or perhaps it’s the coniferous tree and somewhat smooth terrain that reminds me of freshly fallen snow… but regardless of what the specific triggers are, there’s simply something about this illustration that whispers “Rudolph” in my ear.
In the end, I don’t believe that the artist had any intention of creating parallels between that childhood Christmas tale and this particular illustration, but that doesn’t mean that the parallels don’t exist. For instance, if you were to really study the film, you would notice that solidarity and acceptance are major themes. Similarly, this picture presents not one wolf, but two, indicating that the message revolves around the importance of companionship, love and acceptance. This illustration teaches this lesson with wolves, just as Rudolph taught it with reindeer… and toys. In fact one, of the scenes in the film that overtly displays this theme is presented below. Also, this just so happens to be my absolute favorite part of the film.
Returning full circle, tomorrow is the first day of December, and I believe that a seasonal lesson is in order. With all of the distractions that come with holiday decorating and cooking and shopping and cleaning and weight-watching and family-visiting and traveling, it’s actually very easy to lose sight of one of the most important aspects of the season: love and acceptance for all.
And finally, I’d like to offer a very special thanks to this stranger in California. I know that this project is a bit out of the ordinary, and as a result, I have often felt like a misfit. But the generous donation of your artwork has made me feel valued and loved, and for that I am truly grateful.