Remember and Celebrate
Almost 19 years ago on my first trip to Italy, I sat in Santo Spirito in Firenze and watched the light move/change the perfect space of that Cathedral. I had seen its plan presented in a history of architecture lesson and among other more notable places on a tourist/student's list of places to see in town, it ranked near the top of my list of places that I had to see before we left (I didn't know why exactly, but my history professor's passion for it is likely the reason). I remember that as I walked through the space, my Godson was on my mind. I remember the thought that though we had barely been given the chance to know one another, I hoped he would have a chance someday to see this place and feel it all around him. (He was probably about the age of my children are today). It has been my experience that the significance of one moment in life - where you are, who you're with, the smell, the light, the materials you touch, what you hear, what you think or say - is made aware to us by the presence and condition of the natural light that surrounds us at that moment.
I remember that when I started the sketch below, I drew for maybe a minute or two before the sun passed and the crucifix fell into shadow. It happened so fast and I was crushed with disappointment at not being able to study it further, at the thought that I had missed the moment. Just minutes later...the sun returned. It had moved to the next opening and found nearly the same angle back into the space and onto the Crucifix. I was in awe of the role that the combination of light, space, opening, and art played in my experience of Santo Spirito. I haven't been the same since, and I have found that designing for the presence and engagement of natural light in architecture and urban design is one of the most rewarding results of our work...
Light is all around us. Its presence warms us and reveals our world to us. In its absence we are often left feeling lost and alone.
As I mourn the loss of a new friend today, an old friend this week, and the loss of many others at different depths of intensity from time to time, Easter weekend reminds me through my tears, to celebrate the significant impacts that all those I will miss in their absence have had on the lives of those they have each touched in their time on earth.