As a means of contrast with the sublime, the grotesque is, in our view, the richest source that nature can offer.—Victor Hugo
[one_half padding=”4px 10px 0 4px”]Walking through the neighborhood late yesterday afternoon, the contrast of beauty versus the grotesque was on high display. Trees with gnarled trunks and twisted branches standing next to tall, straight oaks and maples resplendent in their color were inescapable to the point that even the young male child, whose attention is more often on things such as dirt and bicycles, couldn’t help but notice and comment.
He called the bent trees ugly, which received immediate correction. Contrast is not ugly. Contrast is our source of appreciation both for what is beautiful and for what is different. We admire more the statuesque oak when we realize that growing so straight and so tall is not inherent, but a gift from nature. We are amazed also at the tree that has fought off challenges of wind and disease, scarred and misshapened.
Contrast also the trees that found enough moisture to color their leaves to those who merely dropped theirs like on might casually toss aside a used tissue. The ground is littered with both. The crunch beneath small feet another contrast to the rainbow they picked up and tossed into the air.[/one_half]
[one_half_last padding=”4px 4px 0 10px”]Life is dramatically full of contrast. Being awake is sharp against the desire to fall back asleep. Strong coffee from my own french press this morning is a contrast to memories of over-boiled sludge. 73 is the temperature registering on the thermostat in the hallway. 43 chilly degrees is what the Weather Channel app on my phone warns is waiting outside. Checking an app versus reading a thermometer.
A torn window screen, dirty, cast aside, attempts to cling to its frame to avoid being trampled into the dirt. Practical as the screen once was, beauty was never part of its physical description. Yet, I needed it in front of my camera. I held it up to the sky not for the beauty, but for the contrast. I did not need beauty, for that had already been captured. The screen was different.
I failed geometry. Finding the area of a circle escapes my talents even today. Contrasting shapes and planes of reality messes with my sense of balance. Neither leaves nor lives are well centered. Screens become grids that reach off into nothingness without obscuring or defining. Contrast full versus empty. Welcome, another illusion.[/one_half_last]