Jun 27 2011

#58 “Romanticism”

From Elaine in Jacksonsville, FL

I would like to start off by quickly addressing this illustrator’s self-deprecating comments about her own artistry, but I won’t spend much time on this subject because we can all see that the artwork is amazing. In short, try not to be so hard on yourself, Elaine, your work is both artistically and thematically impressive.

When we as humans examine nature as a whole or in general, we often view ourselves as creatures that live either in separation from it or in opposition to it. But a question that we don’t ever consider is how animals, themselves, view the natural world around them. It is doubtless that they feel a much greater level of harmony than we do, but do they have an actual aesthetic appreciation for it? I believe that they can and that they do and that this illustration serves well as a rendering of this concept.

Notice the coy smile perched upon the snout of this wolf’s face as he gazes down into the grinning countenance of this beautiful little flower. He obviously appreciates the loveliness of this flower and the magnificent adornment to Mother Nature that it provides. All of this is taking place while the benevolent sun shines down lovingly from above. It make my heart leap with joy. Hmmmm… that reminds me… this picture is surprisingly similar to one of the most famous nature poems of all time: “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” by William Wordsworth.

I won’t bore you with details of Wordworth’s life or work, but suffice it to say that he revolutionized poetry by single-handedly launching the Romantic time period in British Literature and is widely accepted as England’s greatest nature poet.

Read this poem for yourself and see if you find the connection as well.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
that floats on high o’er vales and hills
when all at once I saw a crowd,
a host, of golden daffodils;
beside the lake, beneath the trees,
fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the milky way,
they stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
a poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed- and gazed- but little thought
what wealth the show to me and brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
in vacant or in pensive mood,
they flash upon that inward eye
which is the bliss of solitude;
and then my heart with pleasure fills,
and dances with the daffodils.