Saffron Sentries

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I had acupuncture Tuesday. Once again, it was lovely. I can't tell you all how much more centered and focused I feel after these sessions.

So in honor of my newfound love of acupuncture, I dedicate this post to my transformative experience at the Gates in Central Park in 2004.

I was strangely drawn to this project during its buildup. I would watch the news coverage as it moved from a conceptual idea, to the mounting of the posts, to the planned unfurling of the silk. There was something about this exhibit that called to me.

I saw the pictures of the artists other installments. Didn't do much for me. But this? The color? The scale? The juxtaposition of the saffron silk against New York City in February? There was something fundamentally different about this project. They called,"Come see us, Dawn."

So we did. I convinced my husband that we had to take a trip so that I could see these Gates. I needed to walk among them. I needed to touch the edges of the silk. I needed to stand and gaze upon the miles of saffron in February. My soul needed this.

It was the first thing we did once we got to the City. It was late, a cold February afternoon. As we walked toward the Park, it began to snow. Fat, silent, snowflakes covered our jackets and hats. The Park, and City were oddly quiet. The hush of the streets before a snowstorm, the silence of people trying to get home before it got worse. This was not me, though. I was moving towards a different home. I was walking towards the Gates.

We entered the Park near the Zoo. The wind was whipping the saffron silk, and it made muffled snapping sounds as they flowed back and forth. I held my breath and stood under the first ones, looking up at the silk as the snow fell on my face. I took off my gloves and reached up to touch the silk. I felt utterly alone with the Gates. They welcomed me, bright saffron sentries in the cold, gray, silent snowy February twilight.

I wandered up and down the path, touching each silk as I passed. I watched other people do the same thing, almost as if they weren't conscious of their intrinsic need for prayer. The need that these towering structures fufilled, standing watch over the City.

I walked until my family called me back. They were cold. They were wet from the snowflakes. They wanted to go back. I did not want to go back. I wanted to live within the Gates. I felt utterly at peace, as if my place in the world had been revealed. Unspeakably happy standing in the snow among these structures, a woman in a long brown coat and hat, staring raptly at swirling saffron silk.

I touched the last Gate and returned the gloves to my now raw hands. I looked back at them. "I'll be back tomorrow", I promised, inside my head. And I was.

11 Baleful Regards:

Feral Mom said...

Man, I'm jealous--I wanted to see those Gates! Great description of the snowflakes and the whipping saffron. You are such a freakin' awesome writer.

Anonymous said...

I was so checked out while this was being installed (accident, newborn, etc.). But when it was finally finished I'd resurfaced. You should have seen the look on Bird's face as I rolled her under miles and miles of swirling orange silk.

She was mesmerized. We both were.

Anonymous said...

I never thought they were very pretty before but you made me look at them again and now I wish I was there.

Beautifully written.

Andrea said...

It's awesome the way art can touch the deepest parts of our soul. That's how I feel when I've found an incredible writer. I read in awe; I get tingly; I lose my surroundings. Bliss. No other word.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures. Beautiful description.

Cristina said...

I wouldn't have thought this was all that beautiful, but after reading your description and looking at the pictures, I really love it. Wish I could be there to see it in person.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to put a deeply moving aesthetic experience into words, but you did it. Thanks for bringing us there with you.

Lisa said...

I wish I could have been there to see it too!

Anonymous said...

Central Park is one of my favorite places in the world. I envy your ability to follow a call.

halloweenlover said...

Beautiful, I wish I'd gone. It sounds magical.

Bobita said...

Wow. I love EXACTLY these kind of moments..."I felt utterly at peace, as if my place in the world had been revealed."

Awesome post.

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