#241 “Red Dawn”

From a stranger in an unknown location

A wolf pictured in his natural environment is always a breathtaking sight, but something about this particular illustration seems to deliver discomfort as opposed to tranquility. I don’t mean to say that this illustration is unattractive or is not artfully rendered. I believe just the opposite is true. Only an illustration that is drawn with great skill could induce an intense emotional reaction, whether it be negative or positive. But what is it that delivers to me feelings of discomfort? Let’s examine the physical environment first. While the landscape in the picture is beautiful, it is also barren and harsh. The craggy surfaces of a rocky mountain face rise up in opposition to the earth below and block out the final rays of the autumnal sun. A few sparse trees dot the landscape, offering little comfort or shade to a weary traveler seeking shelter. The river, the source of life, seems to be not only flowing but running away, fleeing from this land without promise. And then there is the wolf itself. The creature is majestic and dignified, but there’s something in the eyes that sends a message of pain and vexation, something in the ragged fur that speaks of hardship.

However, even though this picture suggests thoughts of adversity and austerity, there is also a memory of one of my favorite films that I have somehow tied to this illustration and that I just can’t seem to shake. The movie is called “Red Dawn,” and like the illustration above, the movie paints a picture of the hardships and trials that are faced when living in an unforgivable natural environment. But at the same time, the movie (like this picture again) delivers themes of perseverance, determination and the magnificent power of a strong will to survive. The obvious disconnect between the two is that there are no Russians taking over the United States in this stranger’s picture, but overall, I still thought the movie was applicable enough to warrant the connection. If you haven’t seen the movie, send it to the top of your Netflix queue today; it’s a true classic. Before you view, check out the trailer below.


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