Saturday, June 23, 2018

Depth of Being, part 5

alone in the dark
each of us —
dancer at rest

Far from home, my m.o. is to visit the homes of others who are long gone. Homes that once had an occupant of historic standing, and are therefore now sacred ground of some sort, worthy of pilgrimage. A place where ideas were fleshed out into acts or visual or verbal representations; a place where depth of being was explored and given some sort of outward manifestation that was then shared with others.

Yesterday it was the home of sculptor Daniel Chester French, whose most famous work is the sitting Lincoln in Washington, D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial. You may also know the Minuteman on Concord's North Bridge. Or the statue of John Harvard on the grounds of the college that bears his name.

What depths of being did I perceive as I observed the smaller-scale models of French's works? Complexity of character that could focus on a goal larger than the sum of the complexities, rather than being derailed by those contradictions, complexities, and even hypocrisies. I mean, Lincoln. One can almost feel, looking from that clenched fist to the open hand and back, the internal struggles, the contradictions at internal civil war. The Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial brings onlookers to stunned silence (onlookers who come from all over the world); the smaller models in French's studio are also capable of bringing one to tears, as my husband and I can attest. It was on this smaller scale that I was able to begin to contemplate the depth of being that French had made visible, the conscious struggle of a human being of the best way to be both human being and leader of a nation at war with itself. Compassion: to suffer with.

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