Missing home, thanks to the Hudson River School

It’s safe to say that I’ve been working pretty hard at falling in love with my adopted hometown here in the Ozarks recently.  I’ve been hiking all over, exploring some really beautiful areas, visiting cool places like the Ozark Folk Center and spending time with my super-cool Arkansan friends.  And of course, I see all kinds of amazing art thanks to my job.

However, there are moments when I just miss home. Home, though I haven’t lived there full time since 1994, is New England.  New Hampshire, to be specific.

I haven’t missed home for a while.  Until today, when I went to see the The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  It was a collection of paintings by artists from the “Hudson River School” that depict (mostly) American landscapes in a highly romanticized manner designed to highlight the grandness of the American identity.

I love the work of the Hudson River School mostly for how it depicts light: my favorite painting in the museum is from that era. 

I also love it because some of the scenes depicted are representations of my home state.  Like this one:

Thomas Cole, Autumn Twilight, View of Corway Peak
[Mount Chocorua], New Hampshire, 1834.
Source: http://www.nyhistory.org/node/25104
I’ve hiked that mountain.  And we all grew up wide-eyed at the legend of the Indian chief who leapt from the summit rather than be captured by whites.  It’s one of the few mountains in the region that isn’t named after an American President.
But here’s an interesting thing.  While they made me nostalgic, these paintings don’t look like the New England of my upbringing.  They are hazy, muted, and though the landscapes are largely untamed, they seem…well…gentle. They’re appear soft to me, though they weren’t intended to be. 
I remember New England like this: 
Photo credit: Me, Summer 2011

Or this: 


Deep blues and greens, or, in autumn, glorious flaming yellow and red.  Nothing subtle.  All boldness.  I mean, our motto is “Live Free or Die”, after all.
At any rate, I suppose it’s only natural that I’d start to feel a little homesick for New England at this time of year.  It’s getting to be fall, and with apologies to my fellow Arkansans, there is no place like New England in the fall. 
Still, it surprised me how much I enjoyed simply seeing the name of my state and familiar landmarks up on the gallery labels all the way out here in Arkansas.  As much as I love it here, there are still moments when I feel like I live on another planet, and I find myself missing fleece vests, cold mornings, maple syrup, New England accents and the Sandwich Fair.  So when I can get a taste of home, I’ll take it. 

4 thoughts on “Missing home, thanks to the Hudson River School

  1. The Sandwich Fair is a town fair in a town named Sandwich. It's about 2 towns over from where I grew up and my aunt and uncle still live there. I'm sure it's no better or worse than any other town/county fair but it will always be the best in my mind. 🙂

  2. So enjoying your posts lately, Jodi! And – you finally went to ONSC without me?! *Pout*By the way, thanks so much for listing Little Magpie on your blogroll and for posting the Healthy Families badge. Much appreciation for all the quiet ways you have engaged, even when it is against your nature. :)~B

  3. Hang on…I'm confused. I didn't go to the ONSC? Did I write that? 🙂 I need to update my blog list but I love that the list updates when a new post is made…since I haven't figured out how best to get my blog info (RSS, subscriptions, etc). I'm really enjoying following all these blogs more actively after AWBU!

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