Dec 11 2011

#225 “Magical Forest”

From Elowyn in Chattanooga, Tennessee

The notion that wolves often reside in forests is nothing new to most of us, but something about this particular patch of woods depicted by 10-year-old Elowyn speaks to me in a way that is more powerful than I would have anticipated. There’s something almost Tolkien about the woods in which this complacent wolf finds itself, something magical, almost supernatural in certain ways. The trees and branches intertwine in a beautiful macrame of twisted wonder. Green shrubs sprout freely from the fertile soil of the enchanted ground. Birds and squirrels twitter and chirp in an innocent chorus of natural beauty. And in the midst of it all sits the majestic king of this charmed woodland, the lupine lord of the forest.

This is world so magical and so full of wonder that it could only be the brainchild of a young lady. Even her name, Elowyn, seems to represent her enchanted themes. Even though they are not pictured here, her work brings to mind scenes of knights and castles, elves and goblins, wizards and warriors. Ultimately, there is an endearing juxtaposition between the artist’s relative inexperience in life and her enduring themes of mystery and wonder. Although she is young, Elowyn has artistically produced a mystifying forest that seems older than time itself. In the end it all goes to show that perhaps those who have just recently entered this world have a more innate connection with the supernatural wonder of it. It makes one wonder where we came from, where our souls resided before they entered this material world. And all of this from the hand of a child, a hand that held Crayola crayons…


Oct 23 2011

#176 “Ride the Wind”

From Ashlee in Nine Miles Falls, Washington

Voiceless it cries
Wingless flutters
Toothless bites
Mouthless mutters

For those of you that are somewhat Tolkien-savvy, I’m sure you recognize this riddle as being printed in a little book called The Hobbit. The answer to this puzzle, of course, is the wind.

In many ways, the wind is just as mysterious and enigmatic as the wolf itself. It is powerful yet peaceful. It has the capability to change at the drop of a hat. It can calm and soothe us or it can drive us to seek shelter from it cruel blasts. Indeed, it is truly a fickle mistress. More than this, though, it is all around us all the time. It is a part of us. Its existence is as closely tied to our lives as the air that we breathe, and in fact, it is a part of that as well.

I don’t know how the wind works, where it comes from or where it goes. And similarly, I face the same riddles when I set my mind on the beautiful and majestic wolf. All that I know is that the creature exists and is a part of this blessed Mother Earth that contains so many more mysteries than our minds are ever capable of comprehending. In the end, I suppose that I don’t need to understand the wolf in order to appreciate it, just as I don’t necessarily need to understand the wind in order to treasure a cool breeze on a warm day. Efforts of comprehension leave room for error, but love transcends misunderstandings.

The wind. A wolf. They seem like ordinary ideas on the surface, and yet Ashlee has combined them here in a triumph of art that shatters the ordinary. In honor of you, Ashlee, I have posted the video below. The song is called “Windfall,” and it is performed by the alt/country group Son Volt. If you’ll notice, the hook in the song repeats the words, “May the wind take your troubles away.”

This is the wish that I have for you, Ashlee. Thanks for the awesome picture.