Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Art of Reality

I've just been away on holiday in West Virginia and I am having trouble getting back to reality. Okay - I am having an awful lot of trouble achieving this reality crap. We enjoyed a blissful 8 day stay in a isolated cabin in the hills, pure silence and peace. The cats were with us and loved it too. Yep, they told us, this is a good spot and settled down as though they'd been their all their lives.
We ate excellent meals in the cabin or at quaint restaurants...visited farmer's markets...explored old towns enjoying a renewed energy. We also toured Civil War battle fields.
Spent an entire day at Antietam. Okay - that's not so peaceful when you start reading the gruesome numbers of the carnage... how do you get your head around 23,000 deaths in 12 hours?
Lee enjoys exploring battlefields. I grow weary of the stupid destruction man reigns on each other. So he wanders off and reads all the plaques and things. I sit and sketch. Then we move on to the next area and repeat. It works well. He doesn't feel rushed and I am not bored.
At Antietam, one of the worst attacks and counter attacks took place in a cornfield. Now looking at cornfields take on a whole new meaning. Just next to this cornfield is an old farmhouse with barns and out buildings. I sat on a stone wall to sketched the house because it was so atmospheric.
It had a row of white towels on the line to dry. It made me think perhaps this is what it would have looked like when taken over as a field hospital. But, in reality, it probably would have been over run with wounded and dying men, thick smoke from the guns swirling around and noisy as all get out with cries of pain and shouts for help.
It seemed so incongruent sitting there in this now peaceful park on a hot summer's day with birds flitting about. The battle was held around this time of year and those young men wore woollen gear and slogged through hell. The thought of the discomfort and the whole slaughter aspect seem impossible.
The saddest thing of all - men have been killing each other in some form or other in war since time immemorial. And it has gotten us no where. Have we learned nothing? I often wonder how we got designated the most intelligent of the species?
See... reality is a difficult thing to deal with at any time.

Now, where shall I go on holiday next? Definitely not near a battlefield thanks.
the farmhouse next to the cornfield, Antietam, Maryland

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