Midst greens and shades the Catterskill leaps
From cliffs where the wood-flower clings;
All summer he moistens his verdant steeps
With the sweet light spray of the mountain-springs,
And he shakes the woods on the mountain-side,
When they drip with the rains of the aumtumn-tide.
But when, in the forest bare and old,
The blast of December calls,
He builds, in the starlight clear and cold,
A palace of ice where his torrent falls,
With turret, and arch, and fretwork fair,
And pillars blue as the summer air.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT
Referencing Thomas Cole
and the birthing of American creativity,
not only in art
but literature and environmental philosophy as well,
we endeavour to use the new brushes
of the digital dialetic
to create a pointer to 21st century art
the future of learning
and the book
Rip Van Winkle
Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson must
remember the Kaatskill Mountains.
They are a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen away to the West of the river,
swelling up to a noble height and lording it over the surrounding country. Every change of season,
every change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day, produces some changes in the magic hues
and shapes of these mountains...When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple,
and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloudless,
they will gather a hood of gray vapors about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun,
will glow and light up like a crown of glory.
Self Portrait with T. Cole - II
After so many years of walking in the footsteps
of Thomas Cole and those that accompanied and followed him,
it was thrilling to hold his hand in mine.
The New York State Library's Manuscript and Archives Division,
possessing a wealth of his original materials,
was most cooperative and generous with its assistance.
As I worked through
Thomas Cole's essays, letters, poems and sketches
I could not but help marvel at how often artists are so little valued
yet impact the way the world perceives itself
or the very manner in which society proceeds.
A case in point...
"By means of electricity,
the world of matter has become a great nerve,
vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time ...
The round globe is a vast ...
brain, instinct with intelligence!"
These visionary words were written, more than 150 years ago,
in 1851 by Nathaniel Hawthorne,
one of our country's greatest writers,
who was inspired by the development of the telegraph.
Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, was a professional painter
whose talent in portrait work was well known.
While Morse was working on a portrait of General Lafayette in Washington,
his wife, who lived about 300 miles away, grew ill and
it took seven days for the news to reach him.
By the time he had gotten the message she had already died.
In his grief and remorse, he began to wonder if it were possible
to erase barriers of time and space,
so that no one would be unable to reach a loved one in time of need
and never again feel such pain and sorrow.
Pursuing this thought and quest for almost 30 years,
he came to discover how to use electricity to convey messages,
inventing the telegraph and with his code
began the wired world of today.
we look ahead at this crucial juncture
it is important that we not forget those that came before us.
We often walk in their footsteps and follow the paths they have cleared.
As we tie knots into the weave of our time
we must learn from and honor those
that have woven the fabric
that is the web of life.
The above is a 1st draft of a rather significant essay;
the NYS Library's archives also contained a 2nd draft
as well as a 3rd, perfect finished copy
which may have been used for publication
and/or to read from.
We are most grateful to so many who have assisted
us throughout the years
as well as those who have been invaluable recently
How extraordinary that those
Frederick Church skies
continued as I entered
A great joy awaits as we arrive in NYC...
Sanford Gifford adds his golden glow to this precious period of our lives
And Church skies follow us still
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