The Nature of Art


Wow.  I was standing before a fallen redwood in northern California, and my young mind was utterly amazed.  Before this moment I had been only vaguely aware of my surroundings- my father’s employment had carried us around the country quite a bit.  But this was new and unlike anything I had ever encountered before.  Small for my age, my 4-yr old self stood before this huge thing filled with awe.  It was red and soft (tree?!?) with spongy moss and ferns sprouting out of it.  I felt like I was standing in the presence of Life itself.  That moment of wordless awe imprinted itself on my mind and determined forever the course of my life.  I went on to be a naturalist artist in an effort to express that thunderstruck moment and the love it engendered.

There aren’t many of those trees left.  That forest I stood in is now an industrial park.  It is inexpressibly sad to me that we would rather have redwood decks than redwood trees…

I mention this because I want to highlight the contrast between that sad loss and what I have found in the Chicago region.  People here actually care about the land here.  Hundreds of dedicated souls devote hours to learning about and helping to manage our prairies, wetlands and savannas.  Kudos, Chicago-land!!!

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