Of friends, sky shows, and dinosaurs

Last weekend, we were in Philadelphia for a friend’s graduation from medical school. While there, we went to the James Turrell Skyspace at Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting in Germantown. It’s a Quaker meeting house, although I think such formal language goes against the notion of how Quaker’s gather together to worship. It’s beautifully, unabashedly unadorned space, pure white walls and unstained wood floors and benches. The smell of freshly cut wood permeates the space. Turrell, who is also Quaker, donated this particularly installation. The way it works is the roof opens to the sky, and through this square at sunset and sunrise, Turrell has set up, through the use of the walls changing colors, a beautiful exploration of color and the sky. The sunset sky turned a variety of watery colors, and for the first time, I came close to understanding what Homer meant when he described the Aegean as “wine dark.” With the windows open and the smell of spring flowers and the fresh cut wood of the space, we laid on the pews and looked up for almost an hour, quietly absorbing this different form of worship.

The next day, we went to the pier in Philadelphia, to celebrate Taryn’s amazing achievement and Jason got to catch up with old friends. It was the perfect kind of party, casual with people in happy, summery clothes. Everyone beamed and the weather was perfect. You could sink into the party without having to feel like you needed to be on.

After the official party on the pier and before the after party, Jason and I stumbled across a lovely French restaurant in an old firehouse pump station. Elegant, but not fussy, we ate small plates, sharing tastes and again absorbing a space through the senses.

This weekend, we saw Jurassic World with friends in Fayetteville, both of us walking back into the past, remembering the first time we saw Jurassic Park, and lamenting how the film missed the sense of awe the first film so effectively captured. I think it’s because the park, the engine for this film, was so focused on giving kids the next thrill, and the first showed us awe through Sam Neil’s scientist seeing in reality the thing he’d devoted his life to. Driving home through sporadic rain and the lush verdure of the tail end of the Ozarks, we saw the most perfect rainbow over the mountain. Later, we had dinner with other friends, and then today we celebrated Brad and Steffi’s new move to Vienna. In the midst of all that, Jason and I were exceedingly lazy. My friend Dan also sent me an MP3 file of Audrey Hepburn sining “Moon River,” and I get to see Glinda and Jill this week.

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