Utter Life [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

The theme of the mural is “humanity represented through different stages of life through song.” Past, present, future. The song of Sorrow. The song of Joy. The song of Hope. It’s painted above the proscenium arch of Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre, designed by artist Charles Holloway, the words at the apex are “The utterance of life is a song, the symphony of nature.” The symbols of his time.

Even as I write this, the birds this morning are in full-song. The utterance of life. The symphony of nature. Dogga barks to round out the bass section. Yesterday, standing on the bridge over the Des Plaines river, as we watched two deer amble across the trail, the ancient sound of Sandhill cranes croaked from above and two gawky-yet-glorious birds careened in for a landing on the sandbar just to our right. “We’re smack-dab in the middle of a National Geographic special,” Kerri whispered.

Sitting in the auditorium I wondered why the song of the past is Sorrow. Hope, Joy…Sorrow? It seemed a mismatch or, perhaps, a wrong assignment. Most of the people I know are suffering in the present moment. They sand off the rough edges of their memories so they remember their life-walk fondly. The song of warmth.

Honestly, the mural reminded me of another painting, a piece by a master-painter that lived during the same period as Charles Holloway. Gassed by John Singer Sargent. It was not something that sprung from his imagination. He witnessed this moment. A man who’d spent his entire life painting portraits of the elite. A genius artist. He painted his composition from what he sketched that day and it has become a symbol. The suffering of his present moment. The sorrows of the past in a world that had lost its mind. As testaments of the horrors of war, it lives up there with Picasso’s Guernica.

I just took a peek out of the window at the bird feeder. In addition to birds eating the seed, at the base are chipmunks, a squirrel, and the adolescent bunny. The song of Joy is also available in the present moment. I wonder, if I was commissioned to paint a mural over the proscenium arch of an enormous theatre, what would I paint to represent the human condition? The songs of past, present, and future?

It was a National Geographic Live event that brought us to the Auditorium Theatre: Coral Kingdom and Empires of Ice. The brilliant underwater photography and the lifetime exploration of a husband and wife team: David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes. Among other things they’ve documented the impacts of climate change in the oceans. Even amidst the loss of reefs and disappearing ice that sustains life, theirs was a message of Hope. They infused us with their rich hope, drawn directly from their duet with nature. The utterance of life. Interconnected. The song of the future.

read Kerri’s blogpost about THE MURAL

coffee or like it or forward it or talk to us. All are appreciated!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: