American Art – Part I of IV: Bil Zelman
In the words of one writer, “Zelman photographs at parties, festivals, on the street, at gatherings of all sorts, occasions and places where people assemble. He focuses on the middle-aged and the middle class, the young as well as the established, reveling teenagers through upscale gala-goers. He shows people pressed together in body, starkly separate in spirit.”
“From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.” – From “The Garden of Proserpine,” by Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet, playwright, novelist, critic, and six-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, who died 10 April 1909.
From “Atalanta in Calydon” – I. Chorus: “When the Hounds of Spring”
WHEN the hounds of spring are on winter’s traces,
The mother of months in meadow or plain
Fills the shadows and windy places
With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain;
And the brown bright nightingale amorous
Is half assuaged for Itylus,
For the Thracian ships and the foreign faces.
The tongueless vigil, and all the pain.
Come with bows bent and with emptying of quivers,
Maiden most perfect, lady of light,
With a noise of winds and many rivers,
With a clamour of waters, and with might;
Bind on thy sandals, O thou most fleet,
Over the splendour and speed of thy feet;
For the faint east quickens, the wan west shivers,
Round the feet of the day and the feet of the night.
Where shall we find her, how shall we sing to her,
Fold our hands round her knees, and cling?
O that man’s heart were as fire and could spring to her,
Fire, or the strength of the streams that spring!
For the stars and the winds are unto her
As raiment, as songs of the harp-player;
For the risen stars and the fallen cling to her,
And the southwest-wind and the west-wind sing.
For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remember’d is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the Spring begins.
The full streams feed on flower of rushes,
Ripe grasses trammel a travelling foot,
The faint fresh flame of the young year flushes
From leaf to flower and flower to fruit;
And fruit and leaf are as gold and fire,
And the oat is heard above the lyre,
And the hoofed heel of a satyr crushes
The chestnut-husk at the chestnut-root.
And Pan by noon and Bacchus by night,
Fleeter of foot than the fleet-foot kid,
Follows with a dancing and fills with delight
The Mænad and the Bassarid;
And soft as lips that laugh and hide
The laughing leaves of the trees divide,
And screen from seeing and leave in sight
The god pursuing, the maiden hid.
The ivy falls with the Bacchanal’s hair
Over her eyebrows hiding her eyes;
The wild vine slipping down leaves bare
Her bright breast shortening into sighs;
The wild vine slips with the weight of its leaves,
But the berried ivy catches and cleaves
To the limbs that glitter, the feet that scare
The wolf that follows, the fawn that flies.
Fancies in Springtime: Raymond Chandler
“Television’s perfect. You turn a few knobs, a few of those mechanical adjustments at which the higher apes are so proficient, and lean back and drain your mind of all thought. And there you are watching the bubbles in the primeval ooze. You don’t have to concentrate. You don’t have to react. You don’t have to remember. You don’t miss your brain because you don’t need it. Your heart and liver and lungs continue to function normally. Apart from that, all is peace and quiet. You are in the man’s nirvana. And if some poor nasty minded person comes along and says you look like a fly on a can of garbage, pay him no mind. He probably hasn’t got the price of a television set.”
American Art – Part II of IV: Jane Whiting Chrzanoska
Painter Jane Whiting Chrzanoska (born 1948) has studied and worked in Paris and Peru. She currently lives and works in Mays Landing, New Jersey, where she is the owner and operator of the Mill Street Art Center.
A Poem for Today
“There is a gold light in certain old paintings”
By Donald Justice
There is a gold light in certain old paintings
That represents a diffusion of sunlight.
It is like happiness, when we are happy.
It comes from everywhere and from nowhere at once, this light,
And the poor soldiers sprawled at the foot of the cross
Share in its charity equally with the cross.
Orpheus hesitated beside the black river.
With so much to look forward to he looked back.
We think he sang then, but the song is lost.
At least he had seen once more the beloved back.
I say the song went this way: ‘O prolong
Now the sorrow if that is all there is to prolong.’
The world is very dusty, uncle. Let us work.
One day the sickness shall pass from the earth for good.
The orchard will bloom; someone will play the guitar.
Our work will be seen as strong and clean and good.
And all that we suffered through having existed
Shall be forgotten as though it had never existed.
“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.” – William Hazlitt, English literary critic, essayist, and painter, who was born 10 April 1778.
Some quotes from the work of William Hazlitt:
“Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.”
“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.”
“He will never have true friends who is afraid of making enemies.”
“The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.
“We are never so much disposed to quarrel with others as when we are dissatisfied with ourselves.”
“The world loves to be amused by hollow professions, to be deceived by flattering appearances, to live in a state of hallucination; and can forgive everything but the plain, downright, simple, honest truth.”
“Travel’s greatest purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
“The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure much.”
“If I have not read a book before, it is, for all intents and purposes, new to me whether it was printed yesterday or three hundred years “I’m not smart, but I like to observe. Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”
“Prejudice is the child of ignorance.”
“Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when we were not: this gives us no concern. Why, then, should it trouble us that a time will come when we shall cease to be?”
“We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Jane Hirshfield
under stars in a field.
They lie under rain in a field.
are like this as well—
like a painting
hidden beneath another painting.
Here is part of the Artist Statement of painter Karina Rungenfelde (born 1978): “I’m Ukrainian by nation, but I was born in Riga and received my Fine Arts Master’s degree in painting in the Art Academy in Latvia. I got irresistibly inspired by Ukrainian folklore fairytales and old classical paintings of Russian school.
I have never been in Spain, but I have always admired Spanish art and culture. Some of my works are inspired by several different influential Spanish artists, ranging from the 17th to the 20th century.”
Fancies in Springtime: Seneca
“I’d rather be homesick than home.” – Leo Vroman Dutch-American poet, who was born 10 April 1915.
In Paradise there stands a tree.
Its trunk is gray with streaks of white.
Its leaves are gray but give off light.
It is the forbidden tree
of Knowledge of nuclear energy.
It is so great that everywhere
we must breathe its lethal air,
and its millions of seeds
are our lethal deeds.
We may close our mouth and eyes
to leave this past behind us,
but in or out of Paradise
Fate will find us.
A Third Poem for Today
“Photo, Brownie Troop, St. Louis, 1949”
By Margaret Kaufman
I’m going to put Karen Prasse right here
in front of you on this page
so that you won’t mistake her for something else,
an example of precocity, for instance,
a girl who knew that the sky (blue crayon)
was above the earth (green crayon)
and did not, as you had drawn it, come right down
to the green on which your three bears stood.
You can tell from her outfit that she is a Brownie.
You can tell from her socks that she knows how
to line things up, from her mouth that she may
grow up mean or simply competent. Do not mistake
her for an art critic: when she told you
the first day of first grade that your drawing
was “wrong,” you stood your ground and told her
to look out the window. Miss Voss told your mom
you were going to be a good example of something,
although you cannot tell from the way your socks sag,
nor from your posture, far from Brownie-crisp.
This is not about you for a change, but about
mis-perception, of which Karen was an early example.
Who knows? She may have meant to be helpful,
though that is not always a virtue,
and gets in the way of some art.
Below – Girl in 1950 Brownie Uniform.
From the Music Archives: Bobbie Smith
Born 10 April 1936 – Bobbie Smith, and American singer and member of The Spinners.
Fancies in Springtime: Edward Abbey
“This sweet virginal primitive land will metaphorically breathe a sigh of relief –like a whisper of wind–when we are all and finally gone and the place and its creations can return to their ancient procedures unobserved and undisturbed by the busy, anxious, brooding consciousness of man.”
“You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?”- Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese poet, artist, and author of “The Prophet,” who died 10 April 1931.
Some quotes from “The Prophet”:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
“The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.”
“When you part from your friend,
you grieve not.
For that which you love most in him
may be clearer in his absence,
as the mountain to the climber
is clearer from the plain.”
“You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link. This is but half the truth. You are also as strong as your strongest link. To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of ocean by the frailty of its foam. To judge you by your failures is to cast blame upon the seasons for their inconstancy.”
“Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Guatemalan painter Erwin Guillermo (born 1951): “He is actually one of the best representatives of Guatemalan Art. His style: expressionist, figurative, and symbolic glows in themes such as, traditions, politics, festivities, popular icons, social contradictions; like anguish, despair, and love. Colorful works where fruits, animals, the exuberance of the Guatemalan Tropics, and a particularly stylized sensuality of the human figure, mesh to transmit emotions and establish a dialogue between spectator and the artist.”
Fancies in Springtime: Albert Einstein
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux, American travel writer, novelist, and author of “The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia” ” and “The Mosquito Coast,” who was born 10 April 1941.
Some quotes from the work of Paul Theroux:
“The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown.”
“Luxury is the enemy of observation, a costly indulgence that induces such a good feeling that you notice nothing. Luxury spoils and infantilizes you and prevents you from knowing the world. That is its purpose, the reason why luxury cruises and great hotels are full of fatheads who, when they express an opinion, seem as though they are from another planet. It was also my experience that one of the worst aspects of travelling with wealthy people, apart from the fact that the rich never listen, is that they constantly groused about the high cost of living – indeed, the rich usually complained of being poor.”
“Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.”
“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.”
“You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back.”
“I think most serious and omnivorous readers are alike- intense in their dedication to the word, quiet-minded, but relieved and eagerly talkative when they meet other readers and kindred spirits.”
“Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation– experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way.”
“Reading alters the appearance of a book. Once it has been read, it never looks the same again, and people leave their individual imprint on a book they have read. Once of the pleasures of reading is seeing this alteration on the pages, and the way, by reading it, you have made the book yours.”
“Travel is flight and pursuit in equal parts.”
“I cannot make my days longer, so I strive to make them better.”
“The measure of civilized behavior is compassion.”
“A society without jaywalkers might indicate a society without artists.”
“‘Connection’ is the triumphal cry these days. Connection has made people arrogant, impatient, hasty, and presumptuous. …I don’t doubt that instant communication has been good for business, even for the publishing business, but it has done nothing for literature, and might even have harmed it. In many ways connection has been disastrous. We have confused information (of which there is too much) with ideas (of which there are too few). I found out much more about the world and myself by being unconnected.”
“The wish to disappear sends many travelers away. If you are thoroughly sick of being kept waiting at home or at work, travel is perfect: let other people wait for a change. Travel is a sort of revenge for having been put on hold, or having to leave messages on answering machines, not knowing your party’s extension, being kept waiting all your working life – the homebound writer’s irritants. But also being kept waiting is the human condition.”
“All travel is circular. I had been jerked through Asia, making a parabola on one of the planet’s hemispheres. After all, the grand tour is just the inspired man’s way of heading home. ”
“You define a good flight by negatives: you didn’t get hijacked, you didn’t crash, you didn’t throw up, you weren’t late, you weren’t nauseated by the food. So you are grateful.”
“Ever since childhood, when I lived within earshot of the Boston and Maine, I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it.”
“I always found myself in the company of Australians, who were like a reminder that I’d touched bottom.”
“In countries where all the crooked politicians wear pin-striped suits, the best people are bare-assed.”
“The trains [in a country] contain the essential paraphernalia of the culture: Thai trains have the shower jar with the glazed dragon on its side, Ceylonese ones the car reserved for Buddhist monks, Indian ones a vegetarian kitchen and six classes, Iranian ones prayer mats, Malaysian ones a noodle stall, Vietnamese ones bulletproof glass on the locomotive, and on every carriage of a Russian train there is a samovar. The railway bazaar with its gadgets and passengers represented the society so completely that to board it was to be challenged by the national character. At times it was like a leisurely seminar, but I also felt on some occasions that it was like being jailed and then assaulted by the monstrously typical. ”
“Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindness of strangers, putting yourself into the hands of people you don’t know and trusting them with your life.”
“Delay and dirt are the realities of the most rewarding travel.”
Fancies in Springtime: Frank Close
So this is the day the fat boy learns to take the jokes
by donning funny hats, my Amaryllis,
my buffoon of a flower,
your four white bullhorn blossoms like the sirens
in a stadium through which the dictator announces he’s in love.
Then he sends out across the land a proclamation—
there must be music, there must be stays of execution
for the already dying.
That’s how your pulpy sex undoes me and your seven
leaves, unsheathed. How you diminish
my winter windows, and beyond them, the Atlantic.
How you turn my greed ridiculous.
Now it’s as if I could believe in having children after forty,
or, walking these icy streets, greet sullen strangers
like a host of former selves, so ask them in, of course,
and listen like one forgiven to their crimes.
Dance with us and all our secrets,
dance with us until our lies,
like death squads sent to an empty house, put down,
finally, their weapons, peruse the family
portraits, admire genuinely the bride.
Stay with me in this my exile
or my returning, as if to love the tyrant one more time.
O my lily, my executioner, a little stooped, here,
listing, you are the future bending
to kiss the present like a sleeping child.
Here is part of the Artist Statement of Brazilian painter Claudio Dantas: “There is debate about what is the meaning of art. Since the twentieth century we deal with the questions about the meaning of the Art and try to establish it as and if we could mold it… I also hope to contribute my small part to this eternal discussion.”
Fancies in Springtime: Christopher Hitchens
“As he once wrote of Kipling, his own enduring influence can be measured by a number of terms and phrases—doublethink, thought police, ‘Some animals are more equal than others’—that he embedded in our language and in our minds. In Orwell’s own mind there was an inextricable connection between language and truth, a conviction that by using plain and unambiguous words one could forbid oneself the comfort of certain falsehoods and delusions. Every time you hear a piece of psychobabble or propaganda—’people’s princess,’ say, or ‘collateral damage,’ or ‘peace initiative’—it is good to have a well-thumbed collection of his essays nearby. His main enemy in discourse was euphemism, just as his main enemy in practice was the abuse of power, and (more important) the slavish willingness of people to submit to it.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“My Mother’s Pillow”
By Cecilia Woloch
My mother sleeps with the Bible open on her pillow;
she reads herself to sleep and wakens startled.
She listens for her heart: each breath is shallow.
For years her hands were quick with thread and needle.
She used to sew all night when we were little;
now she sleeps with the Bible on her pillow
and believes that Jesus understands her sorrow:
her children grown, their father frail and brittle;
she stitches in her heart, her breathing shallow.
Once she ‘even slept fast,’ rushed tomorrow,
mornings full of sunlight, sons and daughters.
Now she sleeps alone with the Bible on her pillow
and wakes alone and feels the house is hollow,
though my father in his blue room stirs and mutters;
she listens to him breathe: each breath is shallow.
I flutter down the darkened hallway, shadow
between their dreams, my mother and my father,
asleep in rooms I pass, my breathing shallow.
I leave the Bible open on her pillow.
“It is a curious thing that every creed promises a paradise which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste.” – Evelyn Waugh, English novelist, biographer, travel writer, and author of “Brideshead Revisited” and “The Loved One,” who died 10 April 1966.
Some quotes from the work of Evelyn Waugh:
“Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.”
“I should like to bury something precious in every place where I’ve been happy and then, when I’m old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember.”
“Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.”
“If you asked me now who I am, the only answer I could give with any certainty would be my name. For the rest: my loves, my hates, down even to my deepest desires, I can no longer say whether these emotions are my own, or stolen from those I once so desperately wished to be.”
“Perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols; vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts and paving-stones along the weary road that others have tramped before us; perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us.”
“The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant people are. With anyone over fifty you can be fairly confident what’s been taught and what’s been left out. But these young people have such an intelligent, knowledgeable surface, and then the crust suddenly breaks and you look down into depths of confusion you didn’t know existed.”
“I felt that I was leaving part of myself behind, and that wherever I went afterwards I should feel the lack of it, and search for it hopelessly, as ghosts are said to do, frequenting the spots where they buried material treasures without which they cannot pay their way to the nether world.”
“O God, make me good, but not yet.”
“For in that city [New York] there is neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistake for energy.”
“We cherish our friends not for their ability to amuse us, but for ours to amuse them.”
“My theme is memory, that winged host that soared about me one grey morning of war-time. These memories, which are my life—for we possess nothing certainly except the past—were always with me. Like the pigeons of St. Mark’s, they were everywhere, under my feet, singly, in pairs, in little honey-voiced congregations, nodding, strutting, winking, rolling the tender feathers of their necks, perching sometimes, if I stood still, on my shoulder or pecking a broken biscuit from between my lips; until, suddenly, the noon gun boomed and in a moment, with a flutter and sweep of wings, the pavement was bare and the whole sky above dark with a tumult of fowl. Thus it was that morning.”
“Change is the only evidence of life.”
“That was the change in her from ten years ago; that, indeed, was her reward, this haunting, magical sadness which spoke straight to the heart and struck silence; it was the completion of her beauty.”
“Oxford, in those days, was still a city of aquatint. In her spacious and quiet streets men walked and spoke as they had done in Newman’s day; her autumnal mists, her grey springtime, and the rare glory of her summer days – such as that day – when the chestnut was in flower and the bells rang out high and clear over her gables and cupolas, exhaled the soft airs of centuries of youth. It was this cloistral hush which gave our laughter its resonance, and carried it still, joyously, over the intervening clamour.”
“I did not know it was possible to be so miserable and live but I am told that this is a common experience.”
“To know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom.”
Born 10 April 1867 – George William Russell, an Irish author, poet, and painter.
From the Movie Archives: Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr is, of course, a justifiably famous musician, vocalist, and songwriter, but many people don’t know that he is also an equally talented actor – and not just when performing in the company of his fellow Beatles in “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!” Want proof?
10 April 1981 – “Caveman,” an underrated cinematic masterpiece starring Ringo Starr, premieres throughout the United States.
A Fifth Poem for Today
By Mark Vinz
Beyond the field of grazing, gazing cows
the great bull has a pasture to himself,
monumental, black flanks barely twitching
from the swarming flies. Only a few strands of
wire separate us—how could I forget
my childhood terror, the grownups warning
that the old bull near my uncle’s farm
would love to chase me, stomp me, gore me
if I ever got too close. And so I
skirted acres just to keep my distance,
peeking through the leaves to see if he still
was watching me, waiting for some foolish move—
those fierce red eyes, the thunder in the ground—
or maybe that was simply nightmares. It’s
getting hard to tell, as years themselves keep
gaining ground relentlessly, their hot breath
on my back, and not a fence in sight.
Fancies in Springtime: Derrick Jensen
“Question four: What book would you give to every child?
Answer: I wouldn’t give them a book. Books are part of the problem: this strange belief that a tree has nothing to say until it is murdered, its flesh pulped, and then (human) people stain this flesh with words. I would take children outside and put them face to face with chipmunks, dragonflies, tadpoles, hummingbirds, stones, rivers, trees, crawdads.
That said, if you’re going to force me to give them a book, it would be ‘The Wind In The Willows,’ which I hope would remind them to go outside.”
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: The ASPCA
10 April 1866 – The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals forms in New York City. This non-profit organization’s mission is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
American Art – Part III of IV: Ken Min
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: The Last Automat
10 April 1991 – The last automat (coin operated cafeteria) closes at 3rd Avenue and 42nd Street in New York City.
10 April 1925 – “The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is first published in New York City, by Charles Scribner’s Sons.
Some quotes from “The Great Gatsby”:
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
“Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.”
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
“So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.”
“I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others–young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.”
“No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
“And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes–a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”
Fancies in Springtime: Bill Nye
A Sixth Poem for Today
By Ron Koertge
Until then, every forest
had wolves in it, we thought
it would be fun to wear snowshoes
all the time, and we could talk to water.
Back from the Territory – Art: Byron Birdsall (Part II)
In the words of one writer, “Byron Birdsall is one of Alaska’s most renowned artists…His paintings feature brilliant landscapes, as well as uniquely Alaskan images such as puffins, eagles, and fishing boats.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Fancies in Springtime: Sharon Salzberg
A Seventh Poem for Today
“I Was Always Leaving”
By Jean Nordhaus
I was always leaving, I was
about to get up and go, I was
on my way, not sure where.
Somewhere else. Not here.
Nothing here was good enough.
It would be better there, where I
was going. Not sure how or why.
The dome I cowered under
would be raised, and I would be released
into my true life. I would meet there
the ones I was destined to meet.
They would make an opening for me
among the flutes and boulders,
and I would be taken up. That this
might be a form of death
Fancies in Springtime: Chief Luther Standing Bear
“The character of the Indian’s emotion left little room in his heart for antagonism toward his fellow creatures …. For the Lakota (one of the three branches of the Sioux Nation), mountains, lakes, rivers, springs, valleys, and the woods were all in finished beauty. Winds, rain, snow, sunshine, day, night, and change of seasons were endlessly fascinating. Birds, insects, and animals filled the world with knowledge that defied the comprehension of man.
The Lakota was a true naturalist – a lover of Nature. He loved the earth and all things of the earth, and the attachment grew with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power.
It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth.
Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest upon the earth, and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing.
This is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its live giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly; he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.”
American Art – Part IV of IV: Bruce Swart