Our dear friend Judy R. is an ace photographer. What I merely glimpse she composes. Stairs at Disney Hall become an abstract of intersecting angles with increments of light and shade. What are stairs but a series of horizontals within a diagonal to reach the vertical? She is a poet without paper capturing creases in the landscape and on faces. Stairs are what humans do to hills and high rises. We step, we climb.
Like Jack and Jill to fetch our pails. Sometimes we break our crowns or, like Sisyphus, our boulders betray us at the top and roll back down.
Artists have to find their place, their perch. half in, half out of this world. As A.A. Milne put it…….Halfway up the stairs / Isn’t up / and Isn’t down / It isn’t in the nursery / And it isn’t in town / All sorts of funny thoughts / Run round my head / It isn’t really anywhere / It’s somewhere else instead.
Five hundred years ago the Inca’s built a city on top of hill in the Andes. This was far more than a hill of beans. It takes 3,000 steps to reach the top. I’d hate to have made the descent and forgotten my car keys. They managed their crops by terracing the land around and preventing mudslides. It might also have prevented invading pseudo-pious Conquistadors. However by the time Spanish marauders arrived Machu Picchu was buried under dust and rubble. It wasn’t unearthed till 1911.
Mt. Everest might be good for intrepid sled-riders but I’m not one of them. Forget about my Flexible-Flyer. I’d rather watch photos. Maybe, one day, Judy will take the wrong freeway and end up there with camera at the ready.
High as it is nothing compares to our figurative mountains. Those seemingly insurmountable heights we need to ascend. Peggy is on such a climb. At ninety-nine she is inching her way on her own path, in her own time. Among her vital equipment is a spanking new aortic valve. Her impulse is to rest. My mission is to push, just a little. Deep breath….hold….and out…..ten times…..three times a day. No stairs or escalators, just an arduous journey, a lift made possible by her buoyant spirit accompanied by a chorus of love calling her.