A Deeper Journey through art
The earthly environments described in The Crossroads are symbolic of the environment of the human mind, the crossroads being avenues that we tread psychologically through these environments, and the encounters we have in those environments stemming from the memories, experiences and circumstances of our past and present.
The aged man and fledgling are our spiritual guides throughout these environments. Being an individual that adheres to a monotheistic belief, using the plural term "spiritual guides" is daunting to say the least, but please allow me to explain. The aged man represents the tangible Word of God, and the fledgling, His Spirit. These two elements are a vital part of this "internal journey" we are all on. But the plurality of both is really a combination of one source that can guide us through those valleys and mountains, as well as all of the environments described in between that exist in the mind of every individual on this planet.
So then, let us ask, what is this "internal journey"...a psychological one, or a spiritual one? To that, I would state that it is both, because these two elements are one and the same, a plurality folded into one, just like the aged man and fledgling. I struggled with this concept until very recently, a concept that was confirmed for me through the glorious craft of art.
My mother had returned a small 12 x 16 inch print to me that she no longer had room for in her current decor that I had purchased years ago from a trip made to Italy. My brief journey through the country had eventually lead me to Vatican City. I found myself there in the tourist off-season and had regrettably missed the brief window of opportunity to visit the Sistine Chapel, a building that houses some of Michelangelo's most inspired works of art. So I spent my remaining time touring around St. Peter's Basilica which ultimately landed me in the gift shop before my departure. There I found this print of The Creation of Adam, that infamous image of Adam reclining in a naked state on the earth, with the image of God and his heavenly hosts suspended slightly above on what appears to be a cloud formation, each with arms outstretched towards one another, their fingers not quite touching. Saddened that I had missed my chance to lay my eyes on the actual painting, I bought the print as a keepsake to take home. Upon my return, I gifted the print to my mom which she displayed for many years in her house until a recent change of living quarters put her in a position to return the print back into my hands. So I hung it on an empty space on my living room wall, enjoying the beauty of the new artwork addition to my home, but not really giving any further thought to a deeper meaning.
Some weeks later, I had a dear friend of mine over for a visit. She spotted the print almost immediately, and started telling me of a documentary she saw that described a theory pertaining to this exquisite piece of art. She had forgotten the name of the documentary, and so I regrettably can not give due credit here. But further research on the web lead me to what I believe is the source of the theory she explained to me.
Almost three decades ago, a physician/gynecologist at St. John's Medical Center in Anderson, Ind., by the name of Dr. Frank Lynn Meshberger, presented a fresh idea in regards to the imagery of this painting in The Journal of the American Medical Association. In his essay, he proposes that the cloud formation God rests on strongly resembles a side profile view of the human brain, suggesting that God is not just arguably the creator of life, but also a conduit for passing on to humanity intellect, and furthermore, consciousness. My head swirled as my friend stood there and explained this to me, for in all the times I gazed at that picture, I had never seen that before.
Since then, I can't "unsee" it.
Although I learned of this near the completion of writing The Crossroads, the idea of this helped breathe purposeful meaning into what it was I was actually writing, and revealed to me more depth into the original concept of the story as I had written it.
Further exploration into Dr Mesheberger's essay can be found below.