Sunday, January 20, 2008

My 2007 Christmas Card

So, I like to think that the fact that I'm two months behind with my blog posts is evidence of incredible self-control and phenomenal self-discipline! I am trying to stay focused on the task of finishing up my graduate work, and when one is in that mode, it is amazing to see how the generally inconsequential magnetism of many things is suddenly magnified, transforming them into powerful distractions!

I don't suppose anyone will buy that argument with respect to the fact that this is now the fourth year that I have not sent Christmas cards to anyone! The worst part of that is that I enjoy putting them together and sending them out. Typically, I do something creative--a poem, a newspaper, or whatever, and I usually try to include a personal note as well. The first year I moved here, I started putting together a very cool CD that I was very excited about sending out to everyone. You've heard of unfinished symphonies? Well, that remains my "unfinished CD." (If you say it really fast, it almost sounds like "unfinished symphony!" Gotta love that assonance!) Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll be able to finish it and send it out NEXT Christmas! Sadly, though, it is true that you get taken off of most people's Christmas card lists if you don't send cards out every year. So, I officially have almost no friends now. I suppose one could view that as an interesting test! Who still writes after 4 years?! ;-)

All of that to say that I think the two photos below will have to suffice as my Christmas card.

The Pathetic Christmas Letter

I have now traveled enough to have favorite airports. I love Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis, for example (and absolutely detest Cincinnati and Kansas City). That wasn't such a big surprise, but I was shocked to realize during the trips I made in December that I have favorite attractions and restaurants in particular terminals of each of those airports! Here is one of them:

I took this first shot during a layover in the Detroit airport. As usual, on that particular day, I was entranced by the geometry of it (and, anyone who knows me professionally will be amused by the prominent multiplicity of triangles in the photo). It is a beautiful, concrete representation of much of my thinking about cognition, culture, perspective, and the ways in which the secular and the spiritual interact.

This second shot is the actual Christmas card. For those of you who haven't ever been through the Detroit airport, there is a large fountain that sits in the center of a busy plaza-like area. The fountain is basically a large black circle that drops right to the floor. Unlike most fountains, there is no retaining wall or pool around it. The water just slides right over the edge and, presumably, down into drains underneath it. The other thing that makes the fountain so glorious is the way it works. After a period of complete stillness, it begins to shoot little rods of water out in random little patterns (yes, I know randomness is not usually a characteristic that one associates with patterns--although if you've read any chaos theory . . . ). The little rods of water are of varying sizes and they literally leap from one side of the pool, shoot through the air, float there, suspended, and land gracefully on the other side of the pool. It is incredible to see water in its liquid state appear to have such a discernible, solid form and shape. In fact, in some other photos I took, you cannot tell that they aren't solid rods coming directly out of the fountain.

Not only are the flexible little rods gorgeous, but every time I pass the fountain, I have the thought, "Now THAT is what joy feels like." It is a visual representation of joy--simple, elegant, yet full of richly complex layers that are indescribably meaningful and profound.

And THAT is what I wish for each of you this new year--that you'll feel inside the way this fountain makes me feel . . . full of joy!


Welch Mom said...

I think that fountain is beautiful as well. Cole loved it! Minn. is one of my fav. airports because of all the shops!

Jessie said...

I agree with Amanda about the shops. And I love this post because I can just see your hand gestures and facial expressions when I read it. So "Cherice".

Allison said...

Better late than never!!! A lot of people are doing online Christmas cards now anyway. I loved your photos!

Cherice said...

Yes, I think the designers of the Detroit airport actually thought about how to create a calm, pleasant experience for people "stuck" in the airport (or even for those just passing through). Even when I am in a hurry, it is difficult not to stop at that fountain. There is something so captivating about its shape, the way it works, and the concept behind it.

Cherice said...

Yes, I do like to talk with my hands and I imagine my face probably follows suit! ;-)

Cherice said...

Yeah, online works for me! I love technology!