Romanticism in the Owyhees
The romanticism movement “reflected deep interest both in nature and in the thoughts and feelings of the individual”. It turned from reason to emotion, from society to nature.
As World History students sat in the S-bend of Three-Finger Canyon in the Owyhees, they reflected upon their relationship to wildness, to themselves, and to each other. Tasked to read about the Romantic period in Europe, they then applied the values and philosophy that were present and tapped into their inner artist/creator from the 1800s.
Photography, drawing, music, poetry – or a combination thereof – were used as a venue for students to express themselves following the values present during the Romantic period: emphasis on inner emotions and imagination, the supernatural, the exotic, the horrific. Sparked by the industrial revolution that was occurring simultaneously, and the push for nation-states and democracy, it explored the beauty of untamed nature, cherished music and stories, valued the common people and the individual.
Students used the Owyhees as their muse, and many chose to explore the the flowery beauty and mystery that it beholds. Alton, used his experience in the Canyonlands, manipulated photography, and poetry to paint a dark and beautiful image of this period.
The devil has horns, but they are white, they are dead, they are worn
Fear has a name, but it is not in the thistle, the weed, or the thorn
Terror is like man, walking from wilderness into town
And the dark of night, wants on its head, a crown
The devil has horns, but they point in not out
Ghosts come as kings, in reliance and in doubt
When you are afraid, to your nobles you will run
But you can’t escape the face of death when it has none
The devil has horns, but they do not break locked arms
Wraiths do not look for the strong minded to harm
Demons do not corrupt choices we make with each other
When kings and serfs come together as brothers
– Alton Wiggers