What a fine decision some designer made to arrange five fountains rising & falling instead of in a straight row. I studied them in one of the most unlikely homes of artistic surprise, an airport waiting area.
The water fountain array is instantly intriguing. When the woman in aqua appeared everything changed. Not until I studied the photograph did I notice the neon reflections of the Dunkin' Donuts signs with their wavy lines & the leaning silouette of the man by the window counterbalancing the woman's tilt to the fountain. You may see even more in this ordinary scene.
Liz Wessel quoted a sweet line from John O'Donohue in her weekend Journal essay: “The human heart continues to dream of a state of wholeness, a place where everything comes together, ...where the clenched question will open in the house of surprise."
Where are the "surprises?" Anyone can snap a photograph of anything. Instead, we make predictable pictures & barely glance at them. We imprison ourselves in a definition of beauty that is limited to images of friends, family & flowers. Our sacred eyes can discover so much more.
In The Demon & the Angel Edward Hirsch interprets a Rilke notion of capturing the ordinary: "The passing world itself survives only in these moments of absolute being..." Otherwise, seconds perish.
To find beauty & its attendant comfort in the wrinkled hand of a patient, in a furled sheet on a bed, in the journey of the sun through half-opened Venetian blinds, is a gift each of us can unwrap everyday. Thus, our "ordinary" workplace can become a house of surprise.
Photograph by Erie