The Angel 

An angel walked through a museum. On one wall, he saw a series of almost indistinguishable, modernist abstract paintings depicting gold and orange squares on deep blue backgrounds. The squares had been rendered with glitter paint and sparkled. On another wall, there were intricate landscapes and narrative paintings of shepherds, saints and mystics in precise anatomical detail with a dramatic realism that drew the viewer deep into the brooding, vertiginous clouds, mountains and lonesome hillside towns of soaring, ancient churches and rustic belfries. The angel pondered the vastly different styles facing eachother from opposite walls, and felt his shoulders tremble. One of the caretakers immediately recognized the divine presence. Slowly and timidly he made his way over to speak to the messenger from heaven. The angel spoke: I was sent down from heaven as a temporary exile. This is the punishment for my stubbornness. I also lacked patience and mercy. Now, I fully comprehend my error. The caretaker looked at the paintings and asked the angel what he had learned. The angel replied that infinity was rich and inviting, like the classical and romantic paintings on the one wall, whereas the finite was obscure, opaque and almost too simple. It was not inviting, not hospitable at all. One could see very little in finitude, and what one did see amounted to little more than some colored tesserae that blurred and left no impression. The caretaker took the angel by the arm and led him to a distant room with large photographs of space and astronomical charts. Galaxies, nebulae, close-ups of planets, comets, stars and blackholes covered the walls. The angel marveled, and grasped the caretaker’s arm with excitement. This is utterly new to me! the angel exclaimed. I only ever saw things as a simple contrast between the infinite and the finite! Now I know there is a dimension more limited than the finite, more inhospitable than the golden and orange squares! 

One thought on “The Angel 

  1. Just came from visiting the Griffith Observatory in LA. Felt the crushing weight of space, and the finite which you described so perfectly well.
    Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

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