The remarkable GROUNDS FOR SCULPTURE is like no place I’ve ever been. Part museum, part botanical gardens, this indoor/outdoor art gallery contains the realistic and abstract, the sublime and ridiculous. As remarkable as the space looked during my visit, I left thinking that I could probably enjoy entirely different experiences of it in the spring, summer, or fall ; in the early morning or by the light of the scattered lampposts and landscape lights. So large and diverse is the installation, that every trip there seems as though it would offer something unique.
On the afternoon I spent at this world class exhibition — tucked into a quiet, central New Jersey town between Trenton and Princeton — the plants on the snow covered landscape were still shivering, but doing so with their leaves turned optimistically toward the sun. The scenes produced by the intersection of the natural and man-made artwork on that Eve of Spring inspired my latest STELLER STORY, readable by clicking on the photo below.
Click the photo above to view scenes from the Grounds for Sculpture.
On the shortest day of the year
The sun takes an extra long lunch,
So long it doesn’t end until
Almost the next day’s brunch.
Head lights and night lights get lots of action
The day of the year that’s shortest.
While that day more than any other is for
golf clubs and lawn mowers the boredest.
It seems like it should be relaxing and yet
There’s always so much around you,
On the year’s shortest day, falling as it does,
Right about when the holidays do.
Still songs like “Oh, What a Night” or “Thank
the Lord for the Nighttime” spread cheer,
Of how happy folks get after early sunset
On the shortest day of the year.
Dad says what we got’s magic snow,
That somehow made our driveway grow,
That somehow made him say words that
He swears he doesn’t really know.
Dad says that each new inch that falls
Lengthens the driveway by ten feet,
That if we left right now, perhaps,
Some time next year we’d reach the street.
Dad says the thing we need most now
Is a summer-style-sun,
To melt some of this magic snow
And make our driveway a walkable one.
Mom says that sounds great but while we wait
A pass with the shovel may be in order.
Dad hears and looks nervous before blurting out,
“But I can’t! Don’t you know? I’m a magic snow hoarder!”
There was no hesitation
When we asked Sergei Surprise,
“Where is winter coldest,
in your well traveled eyes?
… Kiev??? …. Oslo????”
Said Sergei, “Nyet, nyet.
Much colder, Chicago.”
My fuzzy gloves that are fingerless
Send me palms over knuckles with digital bliss
On the winter days I’m earwax picking,
Scratching backs, guitar licking,
Pinching jacks, popping pimples,
Cleaning braces, poking dimples,
Tying laces, tickling bellies,
Needle threading, tasting jellies,
Rabbit foot petting, booger flicking,
Yo-yo twirling, paper football kicking,
Portraying a Shadow-Squirrel, snatching a donut hole,
Trying to lap up the last of the cookie dough trails from Mom’s baking bowl.
But when it’s really cold outside and time to shovel snow,
Mittens that cover my fingers are what I wish I had in tow.
It fell from a cloud
It fluttered around
From tree branch to garden,
All across town.
It hit the ground,
Was kicked back up
And floated onto
The wing of a duck.
A quack and a flap
Launched it again
On a skyward ride rarer
Than a tooth in a hen.
The view it had during
These falls and rises
Was chock fulla fun,
The real life kind sweeter
Than cookies or cake
That shows how cool it is
To be a snowflake.
Each year the seasons germs and frost
prompted scores of fret
in the world famous Busskill singers,
The Waiting Room Quartet.
They said, “It’s simple, really,
when we’re sick we just can’t sing
Any more than a slinky can
Slink stairs on a broken spring.”
So when the duo Cough’n’Sniffle
put The Quartet to the test,
it would quiz right back with a three pack
of Juice and Soup and Rest.
And when its Song of Winter
became a four-cough-harmony,
The Quartet tuned up a mega dose of health
with cords of Vitamin C.
See, the Waiting Room Quartet
was not content waiting around
under blankets doing nothing
when there were songs to be sung about town.