I traveled to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens to take photos at dusk of the outdoor sculptures by Jaume Plensa and staked out a good spot to capture Awilda and Irma, two larger-than-life sculptures made of stainless steel “mesh”. The artist says, “They are in dialogue both with each other and with the landscape around them. “You can see through it,” he told us. “They are never hiding what is happening behind them and I think that’s important. The landscape gets into the head. It’s a beautiful idea about our thoughts and dreams in a transparent way.”
As I perched above the waterfall leading to the pond, I found myself restless and ill-at-ease. It had been a busy day at work and I found it difficult to clear the thoughts from my head. I was impatient that the sun was setting so slowly.
I noticed, too, that other “photographers” had the same restlessness about them. One photographer hurriedly raced to the pond, planted his tripod, let it settle for only a few seconds, snapped a few photos and then picked up and moved to another spot. He repeated this over and over, capturing 6 locations in less than 5 minutes. His hurriedness evoked a tiredness in me. Then there were others, racing to the pond, stopping only long enough to hoist their camera phones and then they were off again.
As I watched the commotion, I thought of the hurriedness in my mind as I re-played my day. Instead of continuing to focus inward, I started to intentionally stare at the two beautiful sculptures before me and noticed how the reflections rippled as the water from the waterfall joined the quietness of the pond. I wondered how in our modern world, two beings could stand so close to each other, taking in each other’s presence, but not speaking a word. The sculptures had no language to communicate with each other, and it was impossible for them to race away from each other distracted by other tasks. They were bound to each other as two old friends who make time to live in the moment of their friendship.
It was dusk and my two friends took on a glow of their oneness, beaming across each other in silence.
Fifteen minutes had elapsed since I first sat down on the rock to wait for dusk, but I had successfully broken the spell that the day had held over me. All I perceived now was the beauty of a friendship.
I glanced for a moment at the other side of the pond and realized that another photographer with a tripod had positioned his telephoto lens not on the sculptures but on me. Was he taking test shots in the almost dark? Or had he seen a person totally quiet, gazing on the beauty of God’s kingdom, and he was compelled to capture that rare photo?
Blessings, my friend,