The Extremes of Collage

The tiny is the last refuge of the tremendous.–Richard Howard*

Sanctuary (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Sanctuary (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

When did we begin to lose the sense of awe? Was it the point at which science seemed ready to explain so much of what had been hidden from us for so long? Was it when the light of our cities at night began to block our view of the stars and the heavens? Was it when our connection and communication with one another thickened and became nearly constant, almost without pause?

The word “awe” itself seems ready to vanish. Now it exists largely within the adjective that has usurped and debased it; an adjective that loses its original meaning as it devolves into another nearly meaningless synonym for approval.

We seldom think about the infinitude of the night skies that we can no longer see. Distracted by our communication with others, we forget how small is the place that we all live, a speck floating in an immensity of space, permanently separated from the other life that must exist in the universe. We have time only for the trivial, and our attention is broken into a myriad tiny slivers.

We may yet regain awe, by contemplating the infinitesimal, at the other end of the scale from the immense that we have cast aside. The tiny compels our attention even more than the vast; while that which is huge strikes the consciousness immediately,  the very small requires time and concentration to comprehend once we become aware that it exists.

In the quiet examination of what is minuscule, through the eye and mind and mind’s eye, awe steals back into the soul. We feel a sudden thrill of wonder and fear as we realize that Infinite and Infinitesimal are not opposite ends of a linear scale, but are connected in a circle of unimaginable dimensions.

*The author wishes to thank Mr. Scott Hightower for introducing him to the quote by Richard Howard.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text [except for quotations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)


  • Eric Edelman May 21, 2013, 11:47 pm

    To Wordless Wednesday participants who link up with us:

    Owing to a technical snafu we didn’t know about, commenting had been disabled on Art of RetroCollage for the past two weeks.

    We’ve now fixed the bug, so please feel free to leave your comments.

    Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for linking up with us!

  • Rebecca May 22, 2013, 12:52 am

    Very artistic. i do love the idea..:)

    Happy Wordless Wednesday! My entry is here.

    • Eric Edelman May 22, 2013, 1:34 am

      Thanks very much for your kind comment, Rebecca!

  • Melissa@Home on Deranged May 22, 2013, 4:03 pm

    I feel like we’ve been over-saturated by the media that bombards us everyday. We’ve lost sight of the things that can generate a feeling of awe within us. We take so much for granted now, that we hardly think of how we’d feel if it was gone.

    • Eric Edelman May 22, 2013, 5:12 pm

      Very true, Melissa.”Weapons of Mass Distraction.” Thanks very much for your comment!

  • Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly May 22, 2013, 9:23 pm

    Actually my cousin and me were catching up recently and discussed this very thing, when we were little and riding home in the car after family holiday gatherings, we used to believe that the moon was just following our particular car, and we were always in ‘awe’ of the how the moon followed us home to keep us safe. I miss those innocent times. I miss a life filled mystery, awe, wonder and magic. Technology is making us regress on so many levels……

    Total satisfying WW indeed, thanks for the post and the linky, I greatly enjoyed BOTH today!


    • Eric Edelman May 23, 2013, 12:15 am

      Thank you so much for your visit and your kind words, Tracy! Your childhood memory of the moon following your car was very touching. I’m glad to know others also feel that awe–true awe–has been disappearing from our lives, and that we should make some effort to regain it.


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