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Unexpected joys (#1044)

Topics/tags: Miscellaneous

In the midst of this time, I’m finding it valuable to think back on some unexpected joys I’ve experienced. There are a lot. As I mentioned recently, even something that seems as basic as seeing my peers’ faces in a class discussion or faculty meeting [1] brought great joy. One other that comes to mind this evening happened what feels like eons ago, but was just a few weeks back in late February when I was visiting Youngest Son at Stanford for Family Weekend.

We got to spend a lot of time with YS when visiting: Time with him was an expected pleasure; the amount we got was unexpected. After all, he has a quite busy schedule [2]. When he wasn’t available, Michelle and I wandered around a bit. As we were walking back to his dorm, we noticed a little park and I decided to take a shortcut through it. Once inside, I discovered sculpture. More precisely, sculptures. Really interesting sculptures. Fortunately, there were some descriptive signs. It turns out that about twenty-five years ago, Stanford invited ten master carvers from Papua New Guinea to visit campus and to spend time sculpting. It sounds like they were appropriately compensated.

We were in a rush to meet Daniel, so we only got a quick visit at first. But the next time we had free time, I was able to sit in the park and take in some of the work in more depth. I appreciate that Michelle was willing to put up with my desire to sit in a somewhat chilly spot to look and reflect [3].

I appreciated the wide variety of forms, their use of both wood and stone, and the peace of the space. I was stunned by the number that the artists were able to create in a relatively short time. I was also happy to know that the pieces were crafted there, rather than acquired from elsewhere.

I particularly appreciate that the Papua New Guineans did a few riffs on some of the Rodin sculptures that they saw in Stanford’s Rodin Sculpture Garden [4]. I particularly liked the different perspective on how one might represent a thinker.

It was a bit chilly in the park, so we didn’t get to sit as long as I would have liked. But the time I had there was well worth it. It was a wonderful, and unexpected, pleasure. Who would have thought that less than a month later, that wonderful space—and so many like it—would be off limits.

Still, art persists. It will be there long after the pandemic ends. I look forward to visiting it again. Let’s hope it’s soon. Maybe I’ll get a few hours.

[1] Yes, that’s right, I’m both a student and a faculty member this semester.

[2] He is, after all, a Rebelsky.

[3] Thanks love!

[4] Youngest and I visited that when he was looking at colleges. I much prefer the setting of the other sculptures. On the other hand, it would have been warmer in the Rodin park.

Version 1.0 of 2020-04-08.