M. SCOTT MORRIS: There's a ready antidote to terror

It's happened.

The old curse has come to pass for another generation.

These are interesting times.

With the black al-Qaida hearts, orange terrorist threats and red pouring from economic reports, these are colorful times, too.

But now is always a colorful time if you know where and how to look. That's a constant for good times and bad.

On Sept. 11, I was shell-shocked by the images burning through my TV screen. I was late for work but knew I'd just be watching the same scenes once I got to the office.

After finally tearing myself away from the screen, I went outside to fetch the day's copy of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, which had just been turned into so much old news.

While outside, I couldn't believe that such terror could take place on a perfect fall day.

One could argue effectively that the sky is always perfect because it's the sky, but that day it was the blue of people's dreams and a scent in the air reminded me of vague, wonderful things I couldn't quite name. I was soothed by the world outside my front door in a very real, powerful way while terrible things happened miles away.

I don't always experience the wonder of the everyday. I get caught up in moving from here to there. I've been known to cuss drivers who aren't quick on the pedal when red lights turn green. I'm certainly not insulated from world news.

This job with the Daily Journal adds to my stress level, but it also provides substantial stress relief when I let it.

As arts and entertainment reporter, I'm often in contact with artists – people who know how to pay attention to the interesting things around them.

There's true joy in driving back to the office on a sunny day after spending a couple of hours with Ecru artist M.B. Mayfield. The beauty infusing his paintings is splattered all over Highway 6, and it was so much easier to see driving from Mayfield's house than when I drove to Ecru.

I single Mayfield out, but there are hordes of artists in Northeast Mississippi capable of changing a skewed outlook, even if you only count the first-graders.

Art can inflame. Certain pieces can drive certain people crazy. There are passions at work that aren't necessarily pretty. I hope there's always a place for that type of provocative art because it's a surefire symptom of freedom.

If we let it, art also can be a soothing balm for our times. Sunsets and funky rust patterns on Granddaddy's barn – good heavens, they're worth more than most of us will ever realize.

These are interesting and scary times. Bomb blasts halfway around the world somehow manage to shake us in our little corner of Mississippi.

But we have our little corner, and it's beautiful. All we need are open eyes and hearts to appreciate it.

Art's sake

n “Art is man's nature; nature is God's art.” – Philip James Bailey

n “Art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.” – Leo Tolstoy

n “Art is an experience, not the formulation of a problem.” – Lindsay Anderson

n “What is art but a way of seeing?” – Thomas Berger.

M. Scott Morris is the Daily Journal entertainment writer.