Home alone (at the lake) for a bit. It has its pluses and minuses. First thing on the plus side, I captured Lizzie unaware and so an early departure was successful. As I mentioned to some of you, I could practically hear her go "Curses! Foiled again!" The minus? The weather is awful!
As I was headed to the lake, I listened to an interesting interview on NPR's "On Point" series about awe, and how wonderful it is to incorporate into our lives. They discussed the idea of awe and how it is different for everyone. Viewers had phoned in their "awe" experiences" and it got me thinking about some of mine. In no particular order, here are a few of them.
The first time I walked into this magnificent church, I came up from the basement area (the area where we entered and where the servants worshipped), climbing a steep, narrow winding staircase. When we got to the top, the world turned from dark, cement gray to technicolor. The tall windows were ablaze with color and I don't know that I'd ever seen anything so beautiful in my life. Awe.
That awe continued when we attended a concert there a few days later. This time we arrived before sunset, with the windows bright. But as the concert continued, the sun went down and the only light was the dim light from within. It equally inspired awe but in a quieter way.
The Lion King
I don't have a photo from the Lion King but to set the stage (pun only somewhat intended), I had been given a free ticket for a seat on the aisle when it came to our university. As the lights darkened, the music began with the primal call that begins "The Circle of Life." The stage grew hot and orange and soon the animal puppets entered from the wings. And then -- and then! The other "animals" came down the aisle -- an enormous elephant, dazzling white "birds." Awe. (You can see it for yourself here. The "elephant" comes up from the aisle at about 2:20.)
Leonardo's The Madonna and Saint Anne
I had graduated from college, an art history minor, and one of my favorite paintings from that course was Leonardo DaVinci's "The Madonna and Saint Anne," which is at the National Gallery in London. That fall, I had my first trip to that city and one of the must-see things was this "cartoon" or study for a painting. I couldn't stop staring at it -- right in front of me. I could have touched it. Awe. (I've seen it since. I still love it.)
Zion National Park
I'm pretty used to nature's beauty and by and large I am not in awe of it anymore. Well, not always. I think it's gorgeous, I appreciate it, but it's not quite the same as that "big gasp" awe moment. I thought the Grand Canyon and Yosemite were pretty amazing. But I didn't really feel awe; I felt somewhat removed from what was in front of me. But when Rick and I visited Zion National Park in Utah (quite by accident -- our plans to visit my cousin were canceled due to an illness), I was stopped in my tracks. We were walking a path and all around me everything was so big. And I was so small. The lighting was perfect. It was a stop-in-your-tracks moment. Awe.
I didn't hike in Brice Canyon, but Rick did. I had a book and waited at the car park. But I spent a lot of that time just staring at the magnificent landscape with its rocky pillars. And yes, with the first glance, awe.
Our First Grand
I had never held a baby before -- not one so freshly popped. Carson, our oldest grand, was born the night of the La La Land/Moonlight Oscars. (I never saw the Best Picture announcement till the next day!). We got the call to head to the hospital close to midnight and three hours later we were meeting our first grand -- and the smallest thing I have ever seen. Just holding him felt unbelievable. (And our similar intro to the second was just as sweet!) Awe.
Immersive Klimt in Paris
On our last trip to Paris we visited the Atelier des Lumineres to see the Gustav Klimt video experience. It remains to this day, my all-time favorite art experience. Non-stop projections of Klimt's work, moving from one to another seamlessly with a brilliant soundtrack. I wrote about it here with video. But here's a photo look. Awe.
The Grand Illumination
In another serendipitous accident, Rick and I happened to be on Martha's Vineyard on the one weekend in the year where the Island hosts "The Grand Illumination." We had no idea what it was but everyone said we must go. So, off we went to Oak Bluffs' campground (a compound of many beautifully restored Victorian "cottages") and to the pavillion, where we first enjoyed one of those marvelous old-time singalongs with the songs you are born knowing (and haven't heard in decades). As darkness fell, the lights were dimmed and at a certain point the campground was illuminated with wonderful lanterns.
The lanterns hung on porches, from rooftops, some displays elaborate, others simple. That moment they all came on at once -- Wow. Big awe. Actually, the whole evening was filled with awe -- a good thousand people or more singing together, the lights, walking around seeing all the homes. I wrote about it here. I'd love to go back.
Do you have moments of awe? A sighting in nature you never expected? Amazement at a work of art, music, or theatre? A personal moment? Be sure to include it in the comments.
And Now for the Awful
Another awful -- awfully sad to me, anyway -- after thinking long and hard, Kate and I decided not to have art camp this year. It was a combination of things. She's tested negative as of this writing, but now I'm sick. And we were running out of time here at the lake between scheduled appointments and some weekend travel for me next month, along with travel for her as well. She's still really tired and weather gets a little dicey and cold which makes holding a brush a bit harder! All good reasons. All disappointing.
And the third awful? The weather. Here at the lake it's just a little gloomy (and actually the sun came out and it warmed up later today). But last night at home, Lansing had a terrible storm -- 80 mile winds, tons of rain and lightning and even a tornado in a neighboring town. The photos on my FB feed are terrible -- so many trees and power lines down and several dead. Almost everyone I know is without power and many have downed trees. Another friend was in the tornado path. They are OK but property is a mess. My house? I probably have water in the basement but nothing I can do for it from here. My neighbor said our street has power.
I leave you with Harry North. He and the other Harry often make the "awe" list!
When you've gotta go, you've gotta go.