To my texture-obsessed eye — honed by too many years behind a 35mm camera loaded with black-and-white film — Miss Belvedere is quite possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
More importantly, like any public art installation worth displaying, she nudged me to think.
I thought about all that had happened in the world since that old Plymouth went into the ground 50 years ago: the JFK assassination, Vietnam, the moon landing, the first Earth Day, Watergate, my own birth, the decommissioning of Route 66, the space shuttle explosions, the first Gulf War, the rise of the Internet, the Sept. 11 attacks, the second Gulf War, and a thousand changes that haven’t crossed my mind.
I thought about lonely old men and women, forgotten by their families and neglected by society, wasting away in dark places unseen by the world.
I thought about prisoners of conscience, trapped in dank cells and subjected to inhumane conditions for years on end.
I thought about the transient nature of beauty as society sees it, and the fact that the most beautiful people I know are all older than Miss Belvedere, whose graceful lines are unbroken by the rust and debris that coat her body.
I thought about the people who came back to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina to find their homes looking exactly like that car, their interiors rotted by stagnant water and their exteriors corroded by rust, debris, and the strange organisms that grow in soggy, dismal places where most life won’t.
P.S.: Click here to view the slideshow I put together with images I shot today at Tulsarama, and see what comes to your thought when you look at what 50 years in a vault will do to a classy lady … and what time and water can’t touch.