A story about letting go.
I spent last Sunday at Storm King Art Center, a 500-acre sculpture park nestled in the Hudson Valley, about an hour north of New York City. A bus dropped me off at 11am and left me until 5pm for six languid hours of wandering. For six hours, I climbed up and down the ebullient slopes of the Center’s emerald fields, which erupted with trees like fireworks in crackling bursts of sun-shattered gold and amber and rich ruby red. For six hours, I meandered along the woodland paths, crunching acorns like crystal under my shoes. The scenery was blanketed in a sumptuous velveteen hush, woven by concealed crickets and speckled with sporadic children’s giggles. The breeze swirled confetti leaves in delicious spirals around my ankles, like glittered embers dropped from branches, still burning. I hardly noticed the sculptures. I was spellbound by the excruciating beauty of the landscape. By the end of the day, my soul felt cracked open, my thoughts were scattered like the leaves, and my camera reel was packed with scraps of color, like an attempt to rake it all into coherent piles to explain why it unarranged me so profoundly. I am still rearranging. I am still sorting out Storm King’s significance. This is not a trim and tidy essay. This is a rummaged collection of messy thoughts to be looked at like gathered leaves in the light and pressed between pages for safekeeping. Hold them gently, or they might crumble in your hands. … I almost didn’t go. Six hours seemed like a long time alone in nature without any possible distraction or escape. I couldn’t walk away or hop on the subway when I’d had my fill. There would be no taxis. There would be no Wifi. I would be trapped, ironically, in the great outdoors, with no choice but to wait for my 5pm bus. But a precious thing happens when you succumb to being stuck somewhere in solitude: you settle in. You get cozy in the decided comfort of captivity. You don’t glance at your watch and worry perpetually about when you should get home to finish folding your laundry. For that small slice of time, your fate is contained, so you are able to savor the experience without wondering what should come next. With each hour at Storm King, I let the scenery soak deeper into my skin. I noticed more minuscule…
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