In the Northland

7:00 AM

Tom Thomson, In the Northland, 1915

Nationalism: spirit of aspirations common to the whole of a country. What is a greater symbol for a country,than the physical country itself? Tom Thomson used nature and isolated locations known to Canadians to promote nationalism in the country. His use of bright colors and patterns appeared similar to fauvist works, but Thomson used the bright colors and patterns to attract viewers. Rather than create a scene from a battle that took place hundreds of years ago, Thomson used relevant places in nature. Not only did he feel that the scenery was more attractive than a war painting, but it spreads a message of peace, rather than violence. Paintings of battles, while empowering, have themes of violence, sadness and death. On the contrary, In the Northland has bright colors and serenity. I think Thomson wants Canadians to see the beauty in the soil of the country rather than the people. Instead of fighting and creation toxic environments, he wants citizens to be "down to Earth"...literally. Thomson suggests the best way to connect with one's country is to appreciate the beauty of the country. In this case, the beauty is found at a lake in the northland of Canada, but Lawren Harris painted other Canadian scenery. While I believe Thomson wants viewers to unite and appreciate the country together, I also think he wants viewers to find their own scene of beauty in nature, so they can connect with their roots to the country as he did.

Thomson had a point. This past summer, I travelled to Israel. While Israel is not my birthplace, I still believe it is my home. Jerusalem, Haifa, Eilat and Tel Aviv. All of the cities were great and the people were kind and welcoming. The people make up the cities, but it is when you escape the city that you connect most with the country. One of my most vivid memories from my trip is the night we slept in the desert. We went to the Negev, cooked our own meal, made a campfire, and stargazed. While I saw beautiful stars throughout my six summers at sleep away camp in northern Wisconsin, I had never seen as many stars as I did that night. I remember waking up at four in the morning, and when I opened my eyes, I was greeted but the stars. It was on that night that I discovered my true love for the country of Israel, not just the people that inhabit it. The true spirit of a country is in the geography.

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