I have always had a fascination with the massive. As I type that sentence, I know I've typed it before, but it's such a big part of me that it begs being said again. My mother describes my biological father as a barrel-chested man—his drivers' license puts him at five foot eight, which is two inches shorter I am right now, but she says his chest was thicker than you could imagine. I have a memory of him, from the seventh grade, when he came to town and we stayed with him at his hotel for the weekend. The girls shared their own bed, but him and I slept on the pull-out sofa. No matter how old I am in the memories of him, I always remember that he could fall asleep in an instant. In this particular one though, I was kept awake by his snoring. I was twelve now, and not such a sound sleeper. I remember looking at the microwave clock, the small green numbers casting a dim glow into the room and outlining the mountain that was my father.
When I really think back, my father always seemed like a giant to me. Always towering above me or picking me up in the swimming pool and sending me sailing for what felt like miles. I think this is why I'm infatuated with the super massive, or the plain-old big. I think of moose and their truly awesome size—big like the dinosaurs were big, or whales, and I'm always left in awe that living creatures can be so large.
Scattered around the world are some truly awe-inspiring sculptures, and this is a list of the ones that have made it onto my bucket list. Humanity has always been into monuments, but some cultures seem to go all out when it comes to commemoration.
- The Motherland Calls
This behemoth statue is in Volgograd, Russia. There are two hundred steps from the bottom of the hill to the base of the monuments, symbolizing the two hundred days of the battle of Stalingrad. The first time I saw this photo, I was literally awe-struck.
2. Ushiku Daibutsu (or, "Goddamn that's a big Buddha)
I used all my good words on The Motherland Calls, because now I have no way of describing this thing. It's in Ushiku, Japan, and it commemorates the birth of Shinran, founder of the "True Pure Land School" of Buddhism. Inside, there are four stories that are apparently museum-like. This is from Wikipedia:
Level 1, Infinite Light and Infinite Life
The first floor lobby is dark, and as you enter music floats toward you from the darkness. In the center of the room a single shaft of light shines from above onto a cauldron of smoking incense. Beyond it is the elevator to the other floors.
Level 2 (10.0 m), World of Gratitude and Thankfulness
Mostly dedicated to scriptural studies
Level 3 (20~30.0 m), World of the Lotus Sanctuary
3000 samples of gold Buddha statues
Level 4 (80~85.0 m), Room of Mt. Grdhrakuta
Also on the fourth floor are windows looking out from the buddha's chest onto the adjacent flower garden and small animal park.
Sounds pretty boss to me.
3. the Golden Bridge
You all probably saw this on Facebook, like I did, but that doesn't make it any less cool. Well, a little less cool, but still. I'm in for anything like this. This one is in Thien Thai garden in Vietnam.
4. The Hand of Coexistence
Seems like I have a thing for hands (which, btw, I'm not denying). These ones are both off and on the Homigot landing point in South Korea. This one really scared me when I first saw it, because it's always photographed with nothing but water surrounding it, but I looked it up on google maps, and to be honest, it loses a lot of impact, but I'd still love to see it.
The other hand is in what's called "Sunrise Plaza."
It's a short list, for now, but I think about all these sculptures multiple times a week, and I think my life would be lacking if I didn't make the effort to go see each of these. We humans are a nifty bunch who get up to some stuff, and I'd like to take as much in as possible.
See you tomorrow.