Sunday, March 22, 2009

Soaking Up Stories in Winter Park

A few weeks ago Facebook reconnected me to a friend through its 140-character-updates. Friday a shared appreciation for art and Winter Park reconnected our hearts with 140-sentence (or more) stories! We strolled down memory lane and walked the brick-laid streets while soaking up the sun and the stories comprising our lives.

Cheri moved to Orlando this week from Wisconsin. It’s been more than ten years since we last spent time together. But by the time we got our lunch at The Briar Patch, our Cincinnati-learned rhythms of conversation returned. You eat; I’ll talk. I’ll eat; you talk. You cry; I’ll stop. I’ll cry; you stop. You laugh; I’ll laugh. I’ll laugh; you laugh.

The patterns continued as we wandered through the crowd, pausing at times in the middle of the street to absorb the depth of the other’s words or to capture the glint of joy in the other’s eyes. But ours weren’t the only stories unfolding. Lining the walkways and byways of the park — nah, the entire town — master artists displayed their tales through various mediums. Clay, pounded metal, watercolors, batik, woven straw, blown glass, photographs, oils, even digital images all revealed the essence of something more.

We casually took in the occasional perspective of ships at sea and hillsides adorned with the colors of spring. We took time to consider the unique, discuss the eccentric, honor the beautiful. A few of these expressions took our breath away, and at once breathed life.

This scene from an Afrikan Market in MALI, vivid and true in its representation, held as its caption: The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life . . . and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life (William Faulkner). 

Enthralled? I was too! Imagine it in uber-high resolution, taking up the whole corner of a booth! I could almost smell the sweet bananas and hear the marketers proclaim their goodness to us passersby.

From inside the booth, quietly inviting 
us in to behold the outline of his life, hung a large image called The Prophet, taken in India. Every stunning detail of this man's face revealed a life far different from mine and brought me right up into his personal space. 

How could this man’s breath have been captured without interrupting his breathing? Intimate. Welcoming. Soul-stirring. It’s a photograph, yet I imagined he might be reading the stories of my own heart. Impossible, I know. But it turned me to the Spirit of the Living God.

This group of young boys gathers around The Storyteller in Kashi, China.

Can you contain the smile that breaks out when you gaze upon these wonders? Words can hardly express the joy that spreads across my face. Wonder. An appreciation for the story. 

Emerson Matabele engaged me with his visual storytelling. So real. So personal. So graceful. May it be that I would offer such care for the hearts of the people I encounter.

What a rich, rich day. Filled with laughter, refreshment, the warmth and glow of the sun, expressions of beauty in art, and the stories we shared as we reveled in the life and breath of God's creation. 

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Psalm 150:6


Jaime C Mitchell said...

I feel like I was there!!! LOVE the photographs and your amazing attention to detail in describing everything! Beautiful story!!! said...

I also felt like I was there...I am currently on my own journey with a fellow writer and traveler, learning to love and laugh more, be ok in tears, and expereince the beauty in all. There is much to tell that I can't yet...

Want to congratulate you on your post with CLASS. They are blessed to have you!