Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Freeing the Soul

I just flew in today and took these on my phone.
Better ones to come tomorrow. 
     There's something about Colorado that just turns my creative spirit free. I don't know if it's the mountains or the people or anything else under the sun, but being here really makes me feel alive. I'm out here with my parents through Sunday and couldn't be happier. The short break gives me plenty of time to write and catch up on some under-attended but not under-appreciated aspects of my life currently.
     I think the baseline is simplicity. I can come here and not be barraged by all the extraneous, nagging details life requires everyone to juggle on a day to day basis. I can write, I can paint, and most importantly I can let me brain start perceiving and examining again. Life is less about making a living and more about living.
     I can't remember who originally said the quote I'm about to paraphrase, but the message is that there are two main facets of the arts. There's the element of nature, which is the same for every artist because it only involves one interpretation of a landscape that doesn't change. Then there's the element of man which can never be the same for any two artists because it involves multiple interpretations of an ever changing subject. I'm not sure I wholeheartedly agree with whoever said it, but I think that there is some true wisdom in this thought.
     Einstein once observed that people are given just enough intelligence to know that we lack the intelligence to comprehend nature. I think I walk a fine line between the two perspectives. On the one hand I think man is a creature so complex, so changing, and so innately unique that I agree with the first. However, I do also believe that we cannot and will not every fully understand nature (There's been some scientists recently who think they have discovered a particle that has potential to move faster than the speed of light. Talk about proving Einstein's point by proving him wrong!). 
     I guess my question then, is why are the two mutually exclusive? Man and nature both bring out wonderful sides of each other that would not exist otherwise. In the same way that Thoreau, the Hudson River Painters, and Einstein have brought awe inspiring and beautiful perspectives to Nature, so has the world around us brought an incredible perspective into our lives. We wouldn't be the creators we are today without the complex harmony that exists around us daily. It opens us up and in return we use our own complexity to portray it in an infinite number of ways.
     Here's to Nature and its ability to free the soul. 


  1. I'm covering William Cullen Bryant in one of my classes, and his beliefs seemed appropriate to share in a comment on this post. According to Bryant, the natural world inspires the human imagination that never sleeps and therefore is "awake and busy...fabricating dreams" while we rest. Thus, the connections between nature and our inner emotions are "the sources of poetry, and they are not only part of ourselves, but of the universe, and will expire only with the last of the creatures of God." (I'm paraphrasing from the biographical notes in our textbook...)How fortunate for you that you get some time away from the distractions of daily life to connect with that inspiration and to realize it through various forms of artistic expression!

  2. Incredibly fortunate! And how wise of WCB.

    'To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms'

    Seems fairly fitting. Thanks to both you and Mr. Bryant for the wonderful perspectives!

    PS forgive my poor poetic notation. Line breaks and all that.