Spring in America, Part 2


This season is one of the times when I most wish I still lived in a rural area...to be able to watch the slow unfolding of green is an amazing thing. One can find this in the city as well, but it doesn't have the same impact as it does when it is en masse; the luscious inevitability of it; the unstoppable burst of season change...as indefatigable and constant as a sidewalk giving way to a tree root: persistence made powerful.

That said, I've always admired things that are limnal; that are on the edge...that have elements of both sides, but are still their own. For that reason, I have long admired people like Thomas Jefferson, Wendell Berry and others, who so wonderfully bridge the common cliche of the "country person" and the "city person". And not necessarily in a sense of simply spending some time in the city, and some time in the country, or even being a wealthy person buying a country estate. Jefferson, for example, was intensely interested in farming and horticulture, as well as more bookish concerns such as philosophy and politics. He was not just a city person living off the fat of the country; he was intimately involved in rural concerns - at the least, in a somewhat American-style feudalism.

Wendell Berry is someone born and bred and dyed-in-the-wool country; but he too has a bent which normally lends itself to a "citified" definition: he is a poet; writer; essayist, as well as a tireless farmer and proponent of agricultural, environmental and political reform and protest.

These two gentlemen I hold in the highest esteem. When I encounter someone who is both interested in the fine arts and is a hunter, for example; or someone who is a rough-handed farmer who writes poetry; or someone else who is an amateur theologian and socio-economist, but plants peas throughout his backyard: these are the people whom I admire the most of all when I meet them. I once met a man from central Pa. who is both a surgeon and a beef farmer. These people who aren't afraid to hitch their brain to a plow, and get dirt as well as ink or paint on their hands: these are on my pedestal. In the same way, I secretly revile people who play up the element of the "yahoo" or the country bumpkin, for their own political or social motives...this is the twisted, malevolent side of what I've mentioned above.

Well, what does this have to do with spring, you ask? This is the season when I consider what it is that I'm doing; who I am and where I'm going, and I hold myself up to my ideals. Gaugin entitled one of his masterpieces (I can't remember the exact title) Where have we come from; where are we going? (link to the painting, compliments of Rob Matthews...thanks Rob: http://www.harley.com/art/abstract-art/gauguin.html)

My ideal is to be an individual such as these two men...unafraid of books and plants, skyscrapers and cornfields alike; unequivocally unafraid of, and unashamed in, any place, be it city or country, and able to question and challenge regardless.

Rob Matthews  – (Saturday, 25 March, 2006)  

http://www.harley.com/art/abstract-art/gauguin.html

It's not a link because I'm stupid but that's a web address for the Gauguin painting.
It's a good'un

Vicki @ PTA  – (Saturday, 16 October, 2010)  
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piccolotakesall  – (Saturday, 16 October, 2010)  

Perhaps a rehashing of this would be appropriate for GRID?

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