I had the strange notion to visit an art museum today. I had the day off, the kids were in school and I had no desire to peruse the aisles of Target again, mindlessly dropping things into my cart that may or may not contribute to the bottom line of some evil CEO and Trump cabinet member. I hadn’t been to an art museum in years. I just felt the NEED to go.
I felt the NEED to connect to humans in a way that spans time and space. I was seeking stillness. I wanted the art to speak to me, quietly, shyly at first, then explosively like an atomic bomb of understanding. It can’t lie to me. It can’t manipulate me. It can’t mislead me, sell me something, take my money and my dignity. It can’t take away thought or speech. It just remains there, suspended for all eternity. I can take my time with it. I can look at it or not. I can stand 2 inches from it or 10 feet away. I can let it wash over me.
And I did.
I intermingled with the retirees and the large groups of school kids. I eavesdropped on the curators explaining the intricacies of the pieces, their eyes reliving the details as if making the strokes on the canvas themselves. They must have told the same story a thousand times, but what love in their voices!
How eternal are our human struggles. Love. Freedom. Tyranny. War. Family. Hunger. Joy. Oppression. Humor. The deep and unrelenting desire to connect the dots. To make sense of our world. To make sense of our place. And our purpose. It seems that the same human story continues as if on an eternal loop. We never seem to move much farther ahead. You win some. You lose some. You live to fight another day. The sum total of all the battles is a life. One small little human life.
For a brief moment, I found myself outside on a balcony overlooking the city all by myself. There were large sculptures of a woman and some weird circular thingy with a hole in the center (probably also a woman). I walked to the edge and stared out over the bustling city. Noisy and busy. But also quite beautiful. A man sat on a park bench across the street playing a trumpet. A homeless man sat against a tree in front of a church. Business men and women hurriedly walked to and fro, likely heading out for lunch. The cars and buses, the sirens. The low drone of voices on cell phones crescendoing at first and then decrescendoing as they walked passed.
The scene was energizing. I no longer wanted to escape the world. I wanted to jump back in. Move forward. Find my voice and speak my truth. I walked out of the museum and found my place among the city dwellers, the men and women in their work attire, walking briskly into the future.