Ever feel lost in a crowd…a faceless bystander watching the world go by ?
Looking, but never seeing…life slipping away ?
Often, in my travels, I pass farm animals of various kinds. One thing they all have in common is ‘looking’. They are intrigued by what is passing in front of them…just like people.
However, I don’t believe they feel like they are missing out…unlike people.
Sometimes I think I should be more like our farm friends who often appear like silhouettes, but in actuality are experiencing (enjoying) life one day, one moment at a time…easier said then done, but not impossible.
Art means many things to many people. Mike Savage, a vibrant Kansas City artist, states the following “Art is simple; either you like it or you don’t”. In my opinion, that sums up art appreciation rather well.
Rather than delve into the various (and debatable) view-points concerning the definition of art, we know it when we see it…kind of how I like to shop.
From crude hieroglyphics scratched into cave walls to modern graffiti painted on subways and trains, what some call art can also be construed as vulgar. Why do so many folks collect Classical European art and visit art museums with ancient artifacts; sojourn through markets looking to buy that perfect sculpture, weaving or painting; treasure an oriental vase from a long ago dynasty?
There is a man in a southern city in the United States who carves boxwood trees into recognizable and eye-catching living sculptures. His mastery with the hedge trimmer is sought by individuals and the city government which has employed this individual to shape a myriad of trees along the main streets of their town. Locals call his work ‘art’.
Ice sculptures, wood carvings, various types of paintings, fabric dying, rug weaving, pottery, sculpted metals, and ornate jewelry are often recognized as art. So are some buildings, bridges, totem poles, and botanical gardens considered works of art. However, not all art is static. Some of the most recognizable art is fluid: music, dancing, flowing waters, bird mating rituals; the Autumnal color spectacles. Occasionally, even some folks are called “works of art” . Although, I don’t believe that is always used as a compliment !
I so enjoyed seeing this whimsical painting on the face of an abandoned barn that I stopped and walked a bit just to snap a photo with my cellphone camera. I like to think of this painter as an artist. How about you?
This past weekend we returned from a trip we made to Ft. Worth, Texas, where we visited relatives. There is a section of Interstate I-35 between Emporia and El Dorado, Kansas where the famed Flint Hills are intersected by the highway. The Flint Hills are a geological feature with tall mounds covered with natural prairie grass and gullies cut into the rock. These hills stretch across the eastern portion of Kansas at a North to South direction for 200 miles and are approx.80 miles wide. The elevations vary, but average about 1,400 feet above sea level. They are similar to a mini-mountain range. Due to the flint (chert) near the surface of these hills, farming is not possible. However, the great stand of Blue Stem prairie grass is perfect for cattle grazing. Cattle dot the landscape like trees do mountains at the timber-line. When atop one of the many hills, the visibility is astoundingly far, as if one were looking across a great ocean of blowing grasses. To view photos and learn more, please check out the Flint Hills via your browser as there are multiple sites which display this region.
On our return trip, as we were well into the Flint Hills, there was broken cloud cover. These clouds were moving very quickly. As the shadows of these clouds blocked the sun momentarily, racing shadows swept across the ocean with great beauty. Only a video camera could really capture the essence of what I am trying to describe. A still photograph would give you a static version of a moving thing which would be of some benefit, but it could not convey the race that was taking place. Although we were traveling at the designated 75 miles per hour speed limit, these shadows swept over us like planes. I wanted to catch a shadow, but knew it would be a futile effort so I chased them instead. As the highway would wind and climb then drop and climb again, each group of shadows would laugh at us. They were free of the restrictions of earth and gravity and pavement.
So, I thought as I drove. I marveled at the sheer beauty of clouds and their offspring. I calculated their speed and distance. I was in awe of their ‘light as air’ design, and the ability of each cloud to obscure our view of the sun…even for only a few seconds. The shapes and heights and colors of clouds amaze me, especially at sunsets when white becomes gold or possibly red-orange. And the shadows. They are shift and elusive. They ply across the ground, covering everything in their path as they dart past our field of vision. Magnificent is the word for what I saw. I wish you could have witnessed it for the heavens put on quite a show Monday afternoon.
Have you ever chased a shadow? Caught one? Why not try? Free yourself from anything that holds you back and simply ‘go for it ‘. While you’re busy chasing shadows and staring at clouds, consider who made them and rejoice that we have been given yet another reminder that this world was created for a reason and not by accident. That reason just happens to be you…and me. By enjoying the simple, yet most profound things this world has to offer, you may discover a new dimension to living…peace.