June 19, 1937
strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down
over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made
me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that
related to those who are loved and those who are real friends.
For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what art should be.
is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone;
the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. Children are not
only of flesh and blood — children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The
person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors
reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions
that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No
words or deeds may encompass it.
Friendship is another form of
love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptance
of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of
Art is both love and friendship, and understanding; the
desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of Things, it is
more than kindness which is the giving of self. It is both the taking
and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of
the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane of
the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth
and men, and of all the inter-relations of these.
I wish the thundercloud had moved up over Tahoe and let loose on you; I could wish you nothing finer.
A beautiful letter from Ansel Adams to his friend Cedric, found here.