So nice to be able to talk to you today. Let me begin by saying that I”ll be giving away a free ebook — or print book — today — so come on in and leave a message.
What an age in which we live, huh? In thinking about what to write today, I thought I might take you on a journey through the West in the 1830″s, using the medium of paintings to remember how it was almost 200 years ago. I”ll narrate those pictures with the words of George Catlin. The paintings are by Catlin and Prince Maximilian, both of whom toured the West in the 1830″s.
In a world of toxins in our air, in our water, and in our food, it”s almost become impossible to escape their poisons by going “rural.” So to that end, I thought it might be good to remember how it was in the 1830″s, when the country was new and untouched by what we now call Civilization.
Off to the left here is a picture of a painting by George Catlin. I like this one very much. As Catlin said, “They (the Indians of the West) live in a country well-stocked with buffaloes and wild horses, which furnish them an excellent and easy life: their atmosphere is pure, which produces good health and long life; and they are the most independent and the happiest races of Indians I have met with: they are all entirely in a state of primitive wildness, and consequently are picturesque and hansome, almost beyond description.”
As Catlin goes on to say: “Nothing in the world, of its kind, can possibly surpass in beauty and grace, some of their games and amusements — their gambols and parades, of which I shall speak and paint hereafter.”
And further: “(they are) the most cleanly in their persons, elegant in their dress and manners, and enjoying life to the greatest perfection. Of such tribes, perhaps the Crows and Blackfeet stand first; and no one would be able to appreciate the richness and elegance (and even taste too), with which some of these people dress…”
again: “No man”s imagination, with all the aids of description that can be given to it, can ever picture the beauty and wildness of scenes that may be daily witnessed in the romantic country…”
Let me give you another view from Catlin: “The scenery of this day”s travel, as I have before said, was exceedingly beautiful; and our canoe was often run to the shore, upon which we stepped to admre the endless variety of wild flowers, “wasting their sweetness on the desert air,” and the abundance of delicious fruits that were about us…”
And again, from Catlin: “Whilst wandering through the high grass, the wild sun-flowers and voluptuous lilies were constantly taunting us by striking our faces; whilst here and there, in every direction, there were little copses and clusters of plum trees and gooseberries, and wild currants, loaded down with their fruit…”
And now before I close, let me show you some of the paintings of Karl Bodmer, who had accompanied Prince Maximilian into the West. To the left is a picture of a painting by Bodmer, one that I particulary like. As Catlin went on to say about the West, “…to sweeten the atmosphere and add a charm to the effect, the wild rose bushes seemed planted in beds and in hedges, and everywhere were decked out in all the glory of their delicate tints, and shedding sweet aroma to every breath of the air that passed over them.”
bluffs, forming one of the most curious and romantic scenes imaginable. At this spot the river expands itself into the appearance somewhat of a beautiful lake; and in the midst of it, and on and about its sand-bars, floated and stood, hundreds and thousands of white swans and pelicans.”
I”ll close the blog for today with this beautiful picture of another of Karl Bodmer”s paintings, a painting of the camp of Gros Ventre (pronounced gro-vant). I hope you”ve enjoyed the post today. And I”m hoping you”ll come on in and leave a comment. We are blessed as a country for our rich heritage — not only that of our European forefathers, but our American Indian forefathers, also.