Human beings are a race of poets — some of us develop this trait fully while others of us are content to walk through life without a thought to the world that surrounds us. We have the capacity to see nature and the world around us as something more than meets the eye. Some see this human trait as biological, simply a series of synapses firing or connecting when we view a scene in nature or think abstractly, but some see it as a spiritual endeavor outside of biology that we develop in order to transcend everyday existence. Either way, it is a quality unique to humans.
Holding up the sky at night
What is the appeal of night? Is it that we no longer had to fear the dark when electricity lit up our world? Perhaps we now see the night as another dimension entirely in which we can escape the reality of the day, rather than as a time we must sleep unprotected by the light of the sun. Light and day, night and darkness — there was a time when we never questioned the time for sleep — when darkness came we closed our eyes, and when we awoke it was light and we opened them.
Much has come out of the 20th Century — two world wars, rockets, speedy international communication, electricity, a rich and diverse panoply of international art and literature, Joseph Stalin, and of course, Adolph Hitler, who begat 1930’s German dancer, actress, producer and filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl. Much has been written about Riefenstahl, who passed away at the age of 101 in 2003, and there is much more to write about and speculate. Her life in the arts has raised a myriad of moral, philosophical and ethical questions, as well as questions about the role of the artist in the political sphere.
Everyone has a hero of sorts. The first time I picked up a library book of his work in the 6th grade, I fell forever in love with the work of Vincent van Gogh - the sowers and sunflowers, the stars, cafes and fields, and colorful portraits of the locals of Arles as well as his own self portraits. And he gave me a new appreciation for yellow.