Weekly musings on the arts and current events.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Cataclysm

Southern California has been hot and ablaze this week. It may be a fortnight before the flames are extinguished and the air begins to clear. Our sunsets are the color of blood oranges.

Our charred hills and forests were home to deer, rattlesnakes, racoons, opposums, hawks, squirrels, owls, chipmunks, skunks, coyotes, mountain lions, and bears, among many other species. How many of them have perished? Their plight made me think of this allegorical painting by Franz Marc.

The artist had the cataclysm of World War I in mind when he painted The Fate of the Animals and inscribed on the back of the canvas: "And all being is flaming agony" (Und Alles Sein ist flammend Leid). Marc was later drafted and fell at Verdun in 1916.

Here in the city, we've watched the plumes of smoke spread into an opaque haze that burns the backs of our throats. We've read about those who've lost their homes and about the sacrifices of the firefighters. We're tired of it all and wish to be done with it. As for the agony of the fauna of the hills, it is almost too much for us to contemplate.
Tierschicksale, 1913. Click on the picture for a closer look.

4 comments:

Lorna said...

Yes, yes to everything that you said. That picture says it. Lorna

DUTA said...

The painting and your description of the disaster - are mesmerising.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of LA and the rest of the afflicted Californian area.

Hope it pours rain soon!!

momcat said...

So many talented people wasted to war. So many precious creatures sacrificed to the fires. It makes one feel helpless to realise the destruction going on around us. The insidious destruction of our planet is even worse than these!

Paula Slade said...

Your description of the fires, the sky, the smells brought back many memories.