Some Pictures Are Best Painted with Words

Driving through the parched landscape of west Texas on I-10 last month, I noticed banks of windmills along the tops of mesas. I was struck by the ironic juxtaposition of robotic grasshoppers strewn across the grassy plain beneath the mesa, rhythmically sucking oil from the earth. I felt a strong urge to take a picture, but the lighting and positioning was wrong, and there was no time to stop, even I felt like clambering a mile or so through tumbleweeds to get it right.

Then a profound insight struck me: I realized that this picture could best be told with words, not a photograph or even a sketch or painting.

I did not take this picture, but if I had, it would have looked much like this. I include it to give you an idea of the gray drabness of the view I found inspiring.
The landscape itself was bleak, drab and hazy that day, hardly the setting for art. The the true picture I saw had nothing to do with the physical landscape. It was the message that lay in my reaction to seeing this Texan example of going “back to the future” as oil reserves near depletion. Gazing at the sight of a new version of an age-old technology edging back into view, I was filled with renewed hope for the future of the world my grandchildren will live in.

That’s the thumbnail sketch. A longer version of this word picture would include a history of my thoughts on energy use, the future of the world, and many related topics. It could expand to fill a volume. All this from one glance at a parched and drab landscape!

Many memories seem as drab as west Texas in retrospect, but when you dig into your reactions and the feelings connected with the memory, you may also find surprising messages. Give it a try!

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal

P.S. Lest I sound down on Texas, I must also mention that although this stretch of road and this day was rather drab, there is incredible beauty in west Texas, and I hope to return soon to explore the Big Bend region.


Roadrunner said...

What I am the first to comment on your remarks about the drab West Texas landscape?
Isn't the landscape you describe the stereotypical Texas myth?
Please- let's

Roadrunner said...

keep it that way! If the secret were out about the verdant and lush beauty,then this area would surpass Chicago as the number one place where people are moving rather than being number 3 on that list.
Yes, some pictures are best painted with words.
Do you think some stories can best be told in pictures?