I spent my earliest years living in the country, surrounded on every side by a farm. I was always fascinated by them from early years, perhaps because they were literally just beyond the fence. I dare not cross past the electrical wires but we had a wonderful neighbor who would show up with treats in his pocket for us after he had finished his work. The silo for the grain has been gone since I was a young child but the image remains of the farmer’s hard labor in the hot summer days as we probably drove him crazy! I can only imagine the Frisbees, basketballs and barbies that were buried under the tilling of the combine, never to be seen again.
Van Gogh captured the scene of a haystack so wonderfully when he painted ‘Haystacks in Provence’ in 1888. You can learn more about the history of this painting here.
What do you think of when you see this scene, what are the first things that grab your attention? I see a number of things, in no specific order:
- the haystacks – What will the hay be used for? Was it a successful harvest for the farmer?
- the ladders – Who is climbing them and why?
- the woman working in the field – How old is she? Is she hired labor or part of the family? Why is she out there?
- the gorgeous sky – What time of year is it? Where is the location if this is all I know about the painting?
- the home in the background – Who lives there? Where is everyone else? Is it a happy family? Is it a family at all?
I could continue with the questions but I think you get the idea. You can use some small bits of information along with a very active imagination to get the answers to your questions but the facts lie squarely in the past. I enjoy art history greatly, so much that one of the last classes I took in college was French art history from the late 1800’s. I don’t have the answers to my questions, I merely want to enjoy the techniques and rich colors of the painting. Every one of us would have different questions and different answers if we get focused on answers that aren’t meant to be found.
Sometimes we look for the proverbial needle in the haystack for so long that we miss the beauty that is right in front of us today. History has a great deal to teach us, do not misunderstand my message.
If my speech and thoughts are more peppered with yesterday than today, I am not learning from history. I am living in history rather than living in the present.
Are you looking for answers from your past? My goal from the inception of this blog has been to point you to the Alpha and Omega, the only history that really matters. The needle in the haystack? It may have been demolished with the silo many decades ago. The Everlasting to Everlasting will not fail you.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Rev. 1:8
“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. – Is. 44:6