By CAROLE DAVIS
I am sharing with you an abstract form of art of three of my paintings, and one view of the entire painting in an antique frame of all three of the paintings.These four paintings are placed in a juxtaposition as a jumbled collection of impressive scenes and events from more than 40 years ago.
I packed up my car with all my needed art supplies, and headed by myself to Little Mountain. I invite you this time to come along with me on my journey. We are going to have time to think as we hear the distant sounds of the busy traffic, a bird or two chirping in an almost absolute silence in the air we are breathing as our hearts beat, and we together reflect and think back of our whole lives behind us and before us. What has living life each day meant to you? Together we are going to share our lives through the expressions of these paintings and words.
Colorful autumn time is here, and we are on our way to the Jeff Busby National Park at Little Mountain. We are headed down Highway 82 going westward to Mathiston. We suddenly turn onto the Natchez Trace and spot a sign that says "Jackson, Mississippi." We keep going south about 10-13 miles making our way to Little Mountain. This is one of highest points in our state. It's a tiny mountain that is taller than a Mississippi mole hill. It will take us about an hour to get to our destination. We are leaving at daylight, and we shall return at sunset. It will take all day long to paint this painting. We can visually see a huge artist's palette of beautiful splashes of colors.
Share these four painting with me as we read them left to right starting at the top of my collage. You will see the one whole painting as it is in the long antique frame that has been in our family home many years. It is divided into three sections. I photographed this long painting of three paintings in our back yard. At the top find the green trees, and the collection on a metal arch filled with antique bottles or reds, blues, amber and clear glass. In a way this arch frames the top of the antique frame itself. It is almost as if the painting is leading you on into the arch in our backyard area near an old 1911 chicken coop near this scene.
The first painting is the familiar split rail fence along the Little Mountain area as you enter and leave. I have always loved the graceful way that each split rail wooden piece of wood is carefully placed on top of each other without any nails at all to hold them together. See the autumn wild flowers in full bloom, and look for the road leading up the mountain with the green trees standing very stately on the sides of the blue, gray pavement as the shadows cross the road itself.
The second painting as we read together is a winding road heading on towards the top of Little Mountain. It looks so heavenly as you begin to study all the colors of golden warm colors of autumn at it height of beauty! Look closely at the shadows crossing the road as if they are dancing across so quickly as we drive along. It is hard to sometimes look and then drink in all of nature's beauty with one short glance of our eyes. We almost want to linger and stay awhile, but we must keep on making our way to the very top of Little Mountain. Finally we are here we are at the tip top, and we can actually see and let our imagination float back into the far distance as we are looking down on Mathiston, that we just drove through getting to the Natchez Trace, Webster County, Oktibbeha County, Sturgis, Starkville and Mississippi State University now miles away with a blue, blue sky and white fluffy clouds floating above this scene. This is a collage with a light purple background which hopefully give you a special sentimental feeling of peacefulness and tranquility.
I started writing this story on Aug. 30 when we were bracing for Hurricane Isaac which was headed toward Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and other states. There was a soft rain falling outside my window, dull gray clouds floating in the gray sky above me, and I decided to escape to one of my favorite spots back to Little Mountain to see the sunshine shining brightly and kissing my cheeks with its warmth, and remembering the autumn leaves with their gorgeous very vibrant beauty. I wrote this story then, and put it aside for several weeks. My past thoughts drifted to 1980-1981 when we as a family of five traveled to Los Banos in the Philippines where we lived for six months. Los Banos is located at the University of the Philippines one hour away from Manila. With our then young three children, my husband and myself we circled the world going there one route and returning home on a different route. Frank was to build and establish a laboratory at the Rice Research Institute owned by the Ford and Rockefellow Institute. He was on loan from the United States Department of Agriculture. We made stops in Europe on our way back home, and several years later I traveled to San Salvador, The Bahamas, Ireland and Scotland.
We have met and loved so many wonderful people all over the world. On Labor Day we were at the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District to hug and say good bye to our dearest French friends, Clemence and Jean Luc Bouvard. Dr. Bouvard and Clemence have been at CAVS both as mechanical engineers here at MSU. Their daughter, Agate, 2 and their 4-month-old son Matthieu will forever be dual citizens of France and the USA. We hugged them and sadly said goodbye with tears streaming down our cheeks as the airplane headed towards Nice, France as they return back home again.
Alfredo Llecha, a visiting scholar, his family of three sons and wife are living here now at MSU from Spain. He, John Schneder and Frank at the MSU Entomology Department are rearing soldier fly insects with the possibility of using insects as protein to feed the world one day. Alfredo came and attended a workshop of Frank's several years ago. Frank will conduct and lead on Sept. 31-Oct. 5 his 15th international insect rearing workshop for people from all over the world to teach them how to rear insects for food and research. This year we shall be offered and treated to a tasty dessert of chocolate covered crickets. (I wonder if I can have the nerve to bite down into an insect?) I'll shall try ... maybe!
I traveled to Beijing, China w ith Frank about three or four years ago for him to deliver a special paper about his work in entomology. Our wonderful host was a former doctoral student of Frank's, Dr. Fanrong Zeng. This was one of our greatest trips to this ancient country. Franrong and several of his other Chinese friends were came here to MSU about a year or so ago. It was our honor to return the hospitality of being a host and hostess to our Chinese friends on the other side of this world.
It has been a joy and pleasure to get to know and love international places, and people who have come here. They have become a part of our hearts and lives. In a small way we just borrow them for a little while much like checking a book out of our Starkville Public Library. We return them back to their own countries, but we had the joy, honor and wonderful opportunity to share with each other our different customs and countries together. This is such a thrilling international experience.
Where have all of these 43 years gone? As I glance now with each of you at this collage of these three paintings, I am actually right back at Little Mountain. I can occasionally hear a bird chirping as a squirrel or two scurry by me and spot a green lizard underneath my easel. Suddenly I see a leaf or two dancing to the ground to turn brown, rot and decay until next autumn, and new colorful leaves pile up on top of last autumn's leaves.
The three captured paintings of 1969 are magnificent and magical as if a higher being, God took in his own hands an artist's paint brush and painted each leaf by leaf with all of His colors on His palette. How does one really describe something so beautiful? We can only use words as our expression of writing with pens and tapping our finger tips on a computer, sounds of music with our fingers as they dance across the keys of a piano as musicians, and painting on a canvas as artists with strokes of brushes on a canvas.
What a fabulous, fun, and delightful life I have lived for 70 years on this place called Earth! I treasure most of all this sentimental feeling deep inside to have had the opportunity to be born, grow up and live my whole life in my home town and to live in our old family home that my own great-grandaddy built in 1911.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to express myself visually through my brushes, paints on canvas and with my words as a writer through my pens and computer. What a great honor it for me me to share my own life with each one of you. My greatest love is my soulmate Frank, our three children and six grandchildren. That is our greatest legacy we shall be leaving behind in this life of ours, my own memories of my parents who gave me life, my only sibling and our ancestors before us.
You have shared, read and seen this painting today of Little Mountain. Think now of other extra special faces, (portraits), places (landscapes) and everything else (still life) that have helped make, mold and mend you into the individual you are today. I challenge each one of you to open up your car or truck door, hop on a bicycle, or board an airplane and head down the road to a spot and an extra special place, Little Mountain all by yourself to quietly rediscover yourself by contemplating your past, present and future. Then you will live life with every breath you take as you step or walk down and up this tiny mountain. Our past is gone forever, our present all we have today, and our future should always a hopeful tomorrow.
Carole McReynolds Davis is a local artist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .