ART AND LIFE
AUTUMN IN THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS
In search of ancestors, I've recently discovered women and men of the 1600s who left Europe and came to the shores of America. They were a mixture of Scotch Irish, English, and French. They were explorers, surveyors, merchants, artisans, builders, and dreamers. They dreamed of escaping a place of stifling religion and brutal religious war. They dreamed of a land ruled by civil government where no religion would rule the day. Many of them were educated Masons influenced by the Renaissance who landed on Virginia's shore and began a journey inland to acquire huge land areas from Indians and build up towns and farms. They journeyed from Virginia into the Tennessee mountain range with its sweeping hills and broad valleys and established their homes, courthouses, and wrote their civil law. They didn't come for religious freedom; they came for freedom to build upon new ideas. Their God was large enough to give them space to explore new ideas as they shrugged off the past and created a new present and future. They had the courage to imagine a world free of rigid religion. They said, "We will plant ourselves in this new land and live free." My painting above is my depiction of their vision and courage.
Today the Middle East is ablaze with religious war. Perhaps there are those who will find their own way to freedom and lead others out of religious strife.