Medium: Casein on wood panel
Dimensions: 15 1/2 x 11 3/4 in. (39.4 x 29.8 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of W. Allen Perry. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Iowa State University, Knoll
This painting depicts the Loess Hills near Turin, Iowa. Located in western Iowa, the Loess Hills are one of only three loess landforms in the world and are composed of fine-silted windblown soil. The hills have a rich geological and archeological history and contain human remains of American Indians, who prior to 1000 C.E. used the hills as a sacred burial site. In the 1950s, near the ancient burial site, an electrified star of Bethlehem was erected on top of this hill to celebrate Christmas. The star remains, and annually glows in December. The artist unifies the spirituality of this place by the road, perhaps referring to the road Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
(From "Subject to Change")
Published References: Land of the Fragile Giants, University of Iowa Press, 1994.