Closing Line: Ryan Brimfield


I was in Florida during the summer visiting my Grandmother for the week; I had decided that I wanted to see the Salvador Dali museum in downtown St. Petersburg to learn more about an artist that I admired but knew almost nothing about. The tour was informative and odd, the guide wore a shoe on her head, she explained that surrealism can be described as a situation where an object is in a place that it has no business being in, hence the shoe. The guide also explained to us a feature of Dali’s art, Dalian Continuity; these are recurring images that can be found in a majority of Dali’s work, a pattern of cryptic symbology. For example, an oft used piece of Dalian Continuity is the ant which to Dali represents death, decay, and the female genitalia; this association is due to the traumatization Dali experienced when his father, a doctor, choose to ‘educate’ the young Dali on the topic of sex by showing him pictures of advanced stages of untreated sexual diseases.  Another, more solemn piece of Dalian Continuity is the cypress tree, the representation of death; as our group exited the museum I noticed a few of these trees dotted the property. There was also a hedge maze, my grandmother, uncle, and my girlfriend decided it would be fun to go into the maze; I agreed for I had never had been through a hedge maze before, and so we entered. The hedge walls were low enough to see over but not to see where you were going, I saw another cypress tree over the hedges it was somewhere in the maze. We wandered for a while, the maze was longer than appeared to be from the outside, I lost my sense of direction something that rarely happens, abruptly, with no hint or warning we were in the center of the maze; a circular clearing, I was face to face with the cypress tree, somebody mouthed “now what?” People wandered about, lost, confused, attempting to backtrack; I was completely transfixed by the symbology, I saw the tree over the hedges in fact the tree was visible the entire time as I traversed the maze but for some reason I never thought it would end here with the tree looming terribly over me, but the pathways dictated it was the only possible ending to the maze. Was the maze a parable of life? A maze we stumble through blindly knowing death is inevitable but denying it somehow until it confronts us? Did the designer of the maze do this intentionally? Or was it completely a coincidence? No, it couldn’t be I decided sometime later, death is not a coincidence.

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