Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: In the eye of the beholder

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

In the eye of the beholder

Monday, July 10, 2017

A few years ago, while walking through the Radcliffe Quad, Dr. D. and I saw several piles of what seemed to be building or gardening supplies—earth and various kinds, sizes, and colors of gravel. We assumed a modest project was about to begin. But then we noticed a sign with the title and creator of what, it turned out, was an art installation.

It became a joke. We started noticing “art installations” everywhere—a quarry, a nursery, a building site. Who knew there was so much public art to be seen?

But then the joke turned a little. Why not an art installation? With all the hurrying and busyness, the thousand daily annoyances, worries, to-do’s, and random distractions, why not pause and take a different look at things we usually don’t give a second glance? A pile of rocks, their shapes and random as a John Cage composition. A heap of dirt or a stack of bricks on their way to becoming a garden or a walkway. On their way to being transformed by effort and imagination.

I’ve seen art installations in parks that seem to tell us something like this—a field of feathers, a tiny doorway at the base of a tree, a group of sculpted ants picnicking beside the Muddy River—pointing to a new, unexpected way to see what surrounds us. Prodding g us not to let our assumptions or our busyness dull us to the possibility that there could be wonders to see around us.

And this, too--isn’t this what we do with all our heaped-up moments—try to shape them into something worth noticing?

Thank you, Radcliffe Quad and that art installation.


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