This is Rebecca's Stumbling Toward Ecstasy Sunday and today she posts a story and black and white photos of a time in her childhood that she recalls stumbling toward ecstasy. It is exquisite and I hope you will take the time to read and see it for yourself.
For me, this weekly challenge is just that: a challenge as it feels like every day is two steps forward, one step back . Sometimes ecstasy, sometimes despair, but usually my life is mundane, like most everyone's is. It's hard to look at my life objectively when I know the revolutionaries are in the streets in Egypt trying to overthrow the government; that we've had a cold snap with rain predicted and the homeless on L.A.'s Skid Row are only 18 miles from my home. And on, and on. It's easy to divert my stumbles with the monumental problems of others throughout the world.
All we can do is look for the signs and wonders in our own little lives that remind us of our daily journey.
When I scanned my iPhoto library tonight for a few photos that might trigger some stumbling towards ecstasy, I pulled up three that for me personally were almost mythic in memory. A year ago I was privileged to attend a musical showcase at the Vanderlip Estate in Palos Verdes only a few months after the death of the matriarch Elin Vanderlip.
I had met Elin on several occasions and photographed her speaking at the Malaga Cove Library of the Palos Verdes Library District only weeks before her death. But, I had never visited the estate. When I did, I could feel Elin's presence but moreso the people who built these properties in the 1920s. I took many photos that early evening, but these three stand out as particularly magical.
I hope you will enlarge these photos with a click of your mouse to see the beauty the lens tried to capture. I am a lover of the color blue, collect cobalt glass, and in my dreams blue objects often are present. Blue gates are a strong dream symbol for me. So, how truly amazing to find that on this property are blue gates leading to various places. And that pink staircase. Amazing. This staircase leads up to the Italianate pavilion at the top of the property with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the California coastline.
This blue gate opened onto a swimming pool near the mansion. As I look at this photo this evening I can imagine myself floating here on a balmy summer night with an amazing view of the stars and full moon. Am I a romantic, or what?
There are a few Della Robbia carvings on the exterior of the old villa, but this one is over the door leading from the west facing patio into the main part of the house. The link to Elin Vanderlip's story above shows her beneath this beautiful piece.
So, these kinds of wonders are not just in museums far away in Europe. In this case there is a villa not that far away from where I live that I have long occupied in my dreams, in my journals, and musings.
On this chilly winter night looking back at this series of pictures makes me feel warm and cozy.