M&M’s “official” wedding was just a few dozen people, so they’re having a less-official wedding today with more than 100 people at their house.
Since it doesn’t start till 3 and we weren’t up late at the first wedding, we decide to do a little sightseeing. Walt’s choice is to visit the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, some 50 miles south. When we map it out, I see that the academy is very near the Storm King Art Center, a 500-acre outdoor sculpture park that I’ve always wanted to see. Now feels like the perfect time.
West Point is more impressive than I’d have believed, with huge gray granite dorms and mess hall, sweeping views of the Hudson River and the famed parade ground. We take a guided tour, which is the only way to see the grounds for non-military types like us. Since it’s a Saturday, there are weddings and I take a picture of a beautiful bride and groom standing on a stone wall in front of the river. Just lovely.
Walt is busy taking pictures of me in front of some of the many cannons on display. This is not a well-known fact, but I do like cannons and would love to have one on display in my front yard (whenever we actually have a yard again). It’s a long story as to why I became fascinated with cannons but I will say that Walt and I both look at old industrial equipment and farm machines and see not rusting junk but interesting sculptures. I will never have a garden gnome or a pink flamingo in my yard but I would enjoy sitting on a porch and looking out at an early 20th century steam shovel. Part of the appeal is the sheer size of cannons and steam shovels and the like: if you’re going to have yard art, it might as well make a statement.
Which brings us to Storm King. Now here is yard art that makes a statement. Among the many pieces we enjoy are several by Mark di Suvero an artist who “often works on an architectural, monumental scale, creating spatially dynamic sculptures largely from industrial steel I-beams, each weighing many tons,” as the Storm King website lays out. “His primary tools are the crane, the cherry picker, and cutting and welding torches.” This seems like a guy who would understand a cannon in a front yard.
George Cutts’s Sea Change also is a standout – two curving steel poles that turn slowly in opposite directions. According to Storm King’s website, this is its only motorized sculpture and it’s just hypnotic to watch. The website says Cutts is a deep-sea diver who wanted the steel poles to resemble seaweed floating on the tide. I can see that.
We hike our way up a hill, come over a rise and look down on Menashe Kadishman’s Suspended, comprised of two huge, rusted steel cubes, the smaller of the two hanging suspended from the first. “I’ve got to go see that one,” Walt says and I take a picture of him – all 6 feet 5 inches – standing under the suspended piece, marveling at the engineering underlying the sculpture.
Rain is threatening so we head up yet another hill toward the museum/visitor’s center, as do a number of other people. I don’t really want to be standing around inside with a bunch of wet people and, guessing the rain shower will pass quickly, we grab a couple of chairs that are scattered about the patio behind the building and wait it out, sitting and dry, under the shelter of some large trees.
Once the storm passes, we meander our way back to our car, pausing to admire more di Suveros, a Henry Moore, some David Smiths and an Alexander Calder in the distance.
Next stop is M&M’s wedding, part 2: the pig roast. We arrive just as another rain shower departs and the pig is being served. Matt and Monica re-enact their wedding vows with a close friend “officiating.” Monica is wearing her beautiful long wedding dress again but Matt is clad more typically in shorts and t-shirt with a buff on his head. During the re-enactment, their friend Dan notes that it’s the little things that make us fall in love: with Matt it was when Monica brought him coffee in bed. With Monica, it was when Matt replaced the empty toilet paper roll.
It’s funny the things that endear us to our spouses and our closest friends.