Consecutive Days Riding: 127 Days Blogged: 109
New Mileage: 4 Total Trip Mileage: 899
I’m writing today’s blog as I commute to the University. The rising sun heats the left side of my face. The blazing orb combines with the tall pine trees along the roadside to create cold blue streaks across the gray asphalt. Yellow ribbons of sunlight set between the streaks flash before my car.
Light has long been a source of inspiration for man. It’s easy to understand why with the predictable systematic rise and fall of its sky bound source. Its significance is also seen in dancing flames of candles, lanterns that push back darkness and blazing fires that provide a sense of warmth and safety. If you look at the symbolism of the world’s religions the importance of light is readily apparent whether it’s the halos around saints and saviors, in the spark of divinity within all living things, or in the rainbow of chakra colors running from the base of the spine to the top of our head.
Today we’re visiting a pilgrimage site, an art museum, where light plays a special significance. We are visiting The Charles Hosmer Morris Museum of American Art in Winter Park Florida. This museum is described as being home to one of the most comprehensive collections of Louis Comfort Tiffany glass artwork. Tiffany has been described as the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau and Aesthetic art movements. He started as a painter but is best known for his work with glass. He designed stained glass windows, lamps, blown glass, jewelry and ceramics. Much of the collection was housed for years at a small Florida college until the completion of its current museum building. Perhaps the heart of the collection is the Tiffany’s chapel interior he designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The chapel now occupies an entire wing of the museum building. In addition to Tiffany’s work the museum also a major collection of American art pottery and late-19th and erly-20th century American paintings.
I have always been drawn to Tiffany’s windows and artwork. Perhaps it speaks to my religious roots. Having been raised as a Roman Catholic I grew up enraptured as sunlight streams through the colored glass windows of the various churches I attended. My interest was not centered on the image within the window whether a specific saint, Mary or Christ. My attraction toward the windows was about the intensity, vibrancy and contrast of the colors. Long after I had moved on to a different spiritual path, I still found myself drawn to stained glass windows. And I still enjoy an occasional visit to Catholic and Episcopal churches to see the stained glass offerings.
I understand the significance these windows played in the early church when the vast majority of the parishioners were illiterate. The experience of the church building must have been particularly impressive for these simple folk. Imagine being welcomed into the darkened chambers by the echoes of chanting monks or the angelic voices of the choir filling the expansive domed rafters as light from the stained glass windows streaming down in colored majesty. All of this must have given these sites a profound sense of being a special sacred place, a place touched by the divine.
I hope you enjoyed today’s site visit as we prepare to head toward the coast.
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