Sunday, April 26, 2009
This last week, I flew to Chicago, the place of my birth. My daughter Sarah is finishing her studies in dance at Columbia College, and as part of her senior project, choreographed and performed in a modern dance. Chicago is notorious for its bone chilling winters, and the trees are just beginning to show buds that will become the green leaves of summer, but the weather was surprisingly warm. Chicago is called “the windy city” because it rises from the shores of Lake Michigan where heady breezes blow.
Sarah called her dance Desert Skies, and used one of my paintings of a southwestern sunset as a backdrop. Six dancers performed to elegant music with flute, in flowing burnt-orange pastel dresses that harmonized with the sunset. The dancers entered the stage from both sides, seeming to arrive into the landscape of the setting sun. From there, the bodies often came together only to fly apart in patterned movement, coming together again . . . falling, rising, running, grasping the sky with arms like wings, twirling, spinning and finally becoming one pulsing circle that fell to the ground in ecstatic exhaustion. The evening included six performances, and afterwards, the students, their parents and admirers all gathered together for a social time. I found Sarah in the hall outside the auditorium and she was flushed from exercise and excitement. She said she felt happy to have accomplished her task but a bit sad too that it all was ended.
Big cities have wonderful resources to keep people informed and entertained, and whenever I arrive in Chicago I always visit the Art Institute of Chicago. It holds many masterpieces, and some I never tire of seeing, such as an exquisite small self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh.
The institution is constantly providing the public with new features, and I was able to see a wonderful special exhibit about the famous Norwegian painter Edvard Munch who is best known for his iconic painting called The Scream.
My stay in Chicago lasted three days and when I boarded the airplane to travel 1125.18 miles (1810 kilometers) back to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I felt like Sarah did after her dance performance—satisfied but a bit sad that this wonderful sojourn had drawn to a close.