Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Shouts and Murmurs

Take a moment, now and then

October 10, 2001

The sun broke through a late afternoon haze to reveal autumn's colors on the hills west of town. As I walked out the doors of B&J Country Mart and looked across to the distant hillsides, the rolling hills dressed in trees of red and yellow reminded me of a painting by Monet.

I read once that Monet, the French impressionist, suffered from cataracts, and I've wondered if that had anything to do with the way he painted his world a world with vivid colors blurred, a world of tall trees bordering fields of poppies, of water lilies merging together on a slip of water, of flower beds showing their masses of blooms, and of snowfalls blanketing the earth.

We know there was dirt beneath the scenery he painted. We know at that time, as at all times, people were hurting, grieving over one thing or another. Yet Monet, to my knowledge, yielded his paintbrush only to beauty.

Perhaps it is with a vision such as his that we should approach this autumn, a season that promises to spill bright blazes of color across the undulating hills of northeastern Kansas. Sadly, this year, autumn is a season of spirits dampened by recent acts of terrorism.

Who can forget that just weeks ago in a matter of minutes, more than 5,000 lives abruptly and brutally ended with the collapse of the World Trade Center's towers. Or that at this moment overseas, some 30,000 military personnel are risking their lives to target and destroy nebulous bands of hate-ridden terrorists. Along with the terrorists, the lives of innocent men, women and children caught in the cross hairs could be taken out in a heartbeat.

And in our nation, security experts warn of what they describe as a "100 percent" chance of more terrorism.

It would be easy now, and perhaps understandable, for Americans to hunker down in fear. But that would be just what the terrorists want.

The greatest revenge that we, who are left on the home front, can enact is to continue living our day-to-day lives as if no terrorists existed.

We must determine as a nation to take precaution against violence, yes, but of equal or greater importance, to continue to appreciate the beauty of the world in which we live.

We may not be able to paint our world, as did Monet, but perhaps we could focus, as he did, on what is beautiful.

Make it a point this week to take a drive in the country. Go head, make that batch of caramel corn, bake that apple pie, build the first fire of the year in the fireplace, pull the sweater off the shelf. Inhale the fresh breath of autumn's air, take a walk with someone you love, feel the crunch of leaves beneath your feet.

And, like the paintings of Monet, forget for a while that which is painful, sad or frightening. Give thanks for what is good, and above all, take a few moments to enjoy nature's own canvas and the beautiful colors of autumn.

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