Here is one of the fiercest pair of raptors you will ever see in New Jersey (or anywhere else). Salvaged from Penn Station, they were brought to their current perches at the gate of the state’s Botanical Gardens in the late 1960’s. It is where they were awakened to their purpose in their lives as statuaries: Guardian angels of the winged and all the creeping, crawling creatures.
Of course, you will not read this in any of the brochures. That information is found only in my imagination, but I guarantee that all you have to do to be convinced of it is to stand in front of one of these amazing creations to feel the invisible power of their solid wings or notice the almost pained, tearful expression in their eyes.
There was always something about these incredible pieces that attracted me when I drove by them in the past, but it wasn’t until the other day when I actually WALKED up and stood in front of them that I felt a kind of “presence.”
They did not deign to give me a glance. I was just a tiny, sweaty ball of humanity. They seemed only able to be aware of the birds fluttering around their heads, or the chipmunks scurrying around their chipped talons, or hear the chattering of a gray squirrel from its branch in the white pine shading their backs. They exuded an indifference to the forces of nature slowly softening their features.
I know this is anthropormorphism at its best; the projecting of human traits or emotions on another animal or thing, but in this case, what is the harm? Is that not part of the appreciation of art? They take me out of myself into a flight of fantasy, stir emotions long buried, inspire me to want to learn more about things and places and people beyond my current life experience. I am fascinated by their beauty, their size, their shape, and something else I cannot name, but love nevertheless.