The sweet scent of curing hay is in the air again. I am filled with a quiet contented gratitude for where we live, the views, the smells, the sounds, the changing of the seasons, even the way many people here still wave or say hi even when they don’t know you.
I love rural eastern Iowa.
Grant Wood was a local boy who made it big as an artist. His claim to fame was American Gothic:
He traveled to Europe to train under the masters, but as he matured as an artist and in his own personal life, decided the details of life in eastern Iowa were his favorite source of inspiration. He got a teaching gig @ the University of Iowa, started an artist colony 30 minutes from where I live, bla bla bla.
Grant Wood art colony around 1932
The high society art snobs on the East coast said his artwork wasn’t “really” art, can’t remember all of the derogatory things they said, but you get the idea.
Not quite sure what it is in the human heart that loves to judge and critique other people who decide to live differently than whatever is in fashion and considered “normal.” That impulse we called “peer pressure” in Junior high is definitely is still alive and well in the adult world of men.
I remember the first time or two I was faced with a choice that cut against the grain of conformity. The first couple of times were the hardest. Don’t want to bore you with the details, but will mention them in passing..
First time was when I decided to jump the religious fence and marry a girl from a different religious persuasion. (religion and spiritual stuff as a whole didn’t really mean too much to me anyway at that point) ;-)
Second life choice was when we decided to test the waters of the Home education movement…this was in the early 1990′s. I was initially opposed, conceded to take a year and look into it, and eventually jumped in with both feet.
So after those two experiences, realizing I had not been struck by lightning, and hadn’t been disowned by the tribe, it became easier and easier to think and make decisions for myself without letting the pressure to conform have the final say in any decision.
Especially religious circles there is a strong pressure to conform, because there is a lot at stake. Because 90% of your close relationships may be in that group. So you limp along, miserable, conflicted, It feels like an abscessed tooth, only it’s not a tooth that’s infected, but your brain. Sometimes the wisest thing to do is, pull the tooth. (leave the safe, comfortable, familiar and start over)
Not sure who reads this stuff, but have a definite sense someone, at some point will be at the cross roads of some major life decisions. You may be filled with fear, can’t keep going the way you have been, and yet you can’t see around the bend…you just need someone to bounce your thoughts and options off.
Drop me a note and I’ll get back to you via e-mail.
I don’t claim to be an expert.
More like an old trapper that has learned to survive in the wild world of men.
I need your help with a title for this post.
Something with a little hook? Thanks in advance. DM