Culturally Repressed

A couple months ago, as the pandemic was winding down or whatever you’d call it, I started to feel a tad depressed about the funniest things. I started looking up Shakespeare plays in Staunton, Virginia and Washington, DC. I Googled and found a Shakespeare theater in Norfolk and looked at their schedule. I wanted to see a live performance of one of The Bard’s plays. I was upset because it wasn’t easier. I live in a state named after Queen Elizabeth and in the same region as a settlement named after King James, the two monarchs that served in Shakespeare’s lifetime. They should have Shakespeare on the beach in Virginia Beach.

I felt culturally repressed. I felt stymied by my life here and I wanted, needed, to break free. I wanted to wonder the halls of art museums and listen to live classical music. I wanted to go to the theater, but I couldn’t. With three children and the pandemic still going on the fact is I couldn’t have done all that if I were in DC or New York, or Rome, or Paris, or Vienna, Austria. The pandemic had ruptured reality and there weren’t any live Shakespeare performances happening anywhere.

Today all that ended and I came face to face with what the problem truly was, the pandemic. Today the view was lifted and the world was healed in some ways. The Norfolk Botanical Gardens had an exhibit. It has been a long time since they have had an exhibit. They normally have a new one every three months or so. Lantern Asia, Christmas Lights, other various art displays. Today I saw the exhibit Washed Ashore. Sculptures made out of debris that had washed ashore. Plastic bottles, dog water bowls, flip flops, and other man-made waste.

Washed Ashore is what I look for in art. It is what I love. The sculptures were beautiful and artistic. If you didn’t know what they were that would be enough, but then you look closer and here is a fish constructed of plastics that kill fish. Ocean life made of what is destroying the ocean. There is the surface story, the beautiful sculpture, and then there is the message underneath, the plastics that are killing the life on this planet.

Most of the Earth is water. Most of our bodies are water. Water is the life force of the planet. Water is the life force of humanity. We need it to survive. The earth needs it to survive. It is being suffocated by unnecessary bits of debris. Refuse and rubbish we litter on our shores and in our seas. It is a powerful message within beautiful artwork. It sparks the soul and speaks to our being. It is what I needed. What I missed. What I thought I’d lost not realizing it had been stolen.

The Hampton Roads region of Virginia might not be New York City or London or Washington, DC but there is art and culture here. We needed the pandemic to recede enough for it to return. Now it has and it is a wonderful and glorious thing. I look forward to more art, more culture, getting back to life, and letting my soul bloom.

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