Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wasted Time

Do not think it wasted time to submit yourself to any influence that will bring upon you any noble feeling. — John James Ruskin

The Kansas weather this past week has been overcast. Gloomy weather gives one pause. There is time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life -- to realize that walking the paths of nature with my two dogs is not a wasted moment but a noble task.

The red and gold of autumn

John Ruskin (February 8, 1819 – January 20, 1900) was the leading English art critic of Victorian England, also an art patron, painter, writer, philosopher and philanthropist, and finally social thinker.

In 1884, he gave a series of two lectures to the London Institution entitled, The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth-Century, an anecdotal account of the effects of industrialization on weather. In forty years of observation, from 1831 to 1871, Ruskin concluded, storm clouds were gradually gathering and staying over the skies of Europe.

In those old days, when weather was fine, it was luxuriously fine; when it was bad—it was often abominably bad, but it had its fit of temper and was done with it—it didn’t sulk for three months without letting you see the sun,—nor send you one cyclone inside out, every Saturday afternoon, and another outside in, every Monday morning.

In everything that Ruskin did and wrote about, he emphasized the relationship between nature, art, and society. Family remained for him the core unit around which society is developed.

John Ruskin was a contemporary of Scottish-American naturalist and environmentalist, John Muir. Ruskin’s writings and works influenced both William Morris and Gustav Stickley, and the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early twentieth century.