:::this is the way the world ends:::

Knock, Knock…

Don’t know if anybody’s reading this anymore, since there haven’t been many posts or comments. My last painting only received comments from Toby, but here I am undaunted. I infer that many of you have moved to Facebook, but since I am not “friends” with you, this is still the best way to get people’s attention. And I kind of like this mode. Recently, I have finished reading E. O. Wislon’s Concilience, a good challenging book which was a faculty discussion book at the University. I ended up discussing the book with a bunch of scientists. I watched a pretty cool movie called the Visitor, which personalizes the immigration dilemmas in this country. Eliot turned six and Claire will soon be three. James and Sarah will likely be parents, and Kathleen has a boyfriend. Here’s a new painting called Apex. I am going to relate a bit of history that means something to me.

This painting is, of course, about some of the reading on wolves I’ve done. They have studied them for about thirteen years with regards to their return to Yellowstone and their impact on the Ecosystem there. I could go on about this, but long story short, they’re very healthy for the ecosystem. So one Sunday night I was getting ready to read with Eliot, and Sara was checking the Internet to see if there was a mystery on PBS. She called me over to show me there was a program called “The Wolf that Saved America” starting in a few minutes. Of course, I ran downstairs with Eliot, and we watched it. It was fun to see how much Eliot enjoyed it.

It was a mix of history, science, and myth, as they retold the story of an outdoorsman named Ernest Thompson Seton, who was well-known for a time as a professional exterminator of wolves. He boasted that he could rid ranches of marauding wolves in three days. A wolf in New Mexico, that he called Lobo, evaded him for three months. One incident tells of the wolf collecting four chunks of meat Seton had carefully poisoned in a pile and defecating on them. Anyway, Seton was filled with such sadness when he finally killed the wolf that he had a bit of a conversion. He began to promote conservation of the west and influenced T. Roosevelt to protect Yellowstone. One incident about Lobo tells of their ploy to catch him by trapping his mate first. Supposedly, he cried all night, howling strangely. Doug Smith, the head of the Yellowstone project, was interviewed and related a similar incident in Yellowstone. He said, “You’ll forgive the expression, but he sounded as if he was mourning.” I brought this up in my book discussion, questioning why biologists aren’t allowed to anthropomorphize animals, but they must stress the links we share with animals biologically.

When I spoke to my dad, the only person who wanted to listen to my excited rant about the program and wolves, he told me that after Seton became a conservationist, he went camping with my grandfather Clell a couple of times in the Badlands and once down south. I guess Grael has several of Seton’s books dedicated to Clell.
Thanks for listening. If you’re curious about some of the articles that influenced this painting, I’ll be happy to post more.


Apex Detail


  1. J.E.

    Love the painting Ned. Very nice work as always.

    I’m curious, have you also read Wendel Berry’s “Life is a Miracle?” I have not, but I believe that it is a response to “Concilience” (which I haven’t read either).

  2. Ned

    I have not read Wendell Berry’s “Life Is a Miracle”. If I find time, maybe I will.

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