Henry Moore’s sculpture garden.
Gentle beings, beings bigger than I,
Huge beings with familiar curves
Relaxing, in amongst the trees.
Placed to reflect and reminisce of feelings,
Times, when we were just little things, things
amongst many things – not yet individuals.
The joy of a hug. The need for warmth,
protection, love. A need to be enveloped
amongst arms, wet hair, towels, scents, blankets.
I was once a little being, now I’m quite big.
I used to be cared for, now I care for someone else
Who needs my arms and shoulders, my hands,
holding her close. My warmth. Me.
These giant sculptures are ten times bigger than I am
As I am to my daughter.
The mother and child theme is repeated a lot. I’m sure there’s some history behind this theme and if I had gone on the tour, I would’ve known. But I’m happy to come to my own conclusions that this bond – the flow of curves in that moment – captures that love between two beings; acting according to their needs of love, now captured in the curves in the sculptures around me. So too, the vulnerability and innocence of the child – the moment of innocent childhood which is just such a fleeting moment for a parent. The child will soon become an adult and an individual.
That innocence and need for help makes our hearts beat more because we’re glad to be alive.
This moment ( [I] [need] [you] ) cannot be expressed by language because words do not exist for the young child. Nor does the individual. There is not yet an [I] nor a [you]. Just the feeling for [need]. There is only the need to be surrounded by arms. The desire for hug. [Hug / Umarmung lit: to be surrounded by arms].
Our daughter is still so young and dependent so this sensation is still very present but I can imagine coming back to transport my mind back to that perfect bond.
A prolific artist
Henry Moore must have been as busy as the beaver near his forest brook to have created such a variety of sculptures, drawings and paintings. I popped my head into his studio to see the hundreds of maquettes made from bits of flints or bones and clay from his nearby fields. There are over 10,000 pieces in the archive. Everything around him was artistic pursuit, pursuing the essence of life.
In my own artistic pursuits, I have created maybe 150 pieces that I have tried to bring into some sort of public sphere. Looking at Henry Moore’s work shows what can be achieved in a lifetime dedicated to art.
Relaxing amongst the sculptures.
The plums were ripe that day, purple with a hazy ultraviolet powder that vanished into purple shin skin when I plucked them off the tree and held them in my hand. The fruit flesh under the purple skin was a bright tangy yellow. I ate some plums from the tree as my daughter fell asleep in her pram. I then lay down and I slept underneath the plum tree for two hours. I slept deeply as the calm breeze moved the clouds above me and the fresh air moved about me.
I could sense that Henry was okay with me being there. I felt close to him. I woke up and glanced at the sculptures, walked around and finally walked past the sculpture of the mother, father and child.
As I was leaving, I had a deep sense that I had been cared for.