A Cold Fire
Recently, on a trip to an art museum, I saw many interesting pieces. A few stuck out, but one in particular grasped my attention. The image had a very mysterious look to it. The picture was taken by Christopher Atkins, and the name of the piece is ‘Hynagogia’. It is all in black and white, covered in large by a shadow. A man’s shadow covers a cold, unlit fireplace between two white walls of an old cabin.
The stone fireplace makes up a majority of the image, rectangular at bottom, getting increasingly narrow toward the top and disappearing through the roof.Above the walls are small windows lined with homemade objects, such as a bowl and vase. The main eye catcher is the mysterious shadow. If I were in the cabin, I would feel the cool, smooth stones making up the fireplace and smell the lingering smoke that once filled the room long ago. I get the feeling of being home.
It’s comfortable for me, here in the cabin, bringing me back to simpler days. Yet, the darkness could make some uneasy. The whole setting is as silent and unknown as the ocean bottom. This piece gives off several different meanings. It has an unknown theme to make people stop and ponder its meaning. Who is he? Where is he? Why is he there? One common example is that many people believe that the shadow is one of an intruder to the cabin.
I overheard several of my classmates mentioning how the man broke into the cabin, and is perhaps a thief or killer. Maybe these ideas come from horror movies, or they just come from intuition. Perhaps it’s because I try my hardest to avoid scary movies, but I don’t see the shadow as one of a bad man, I see him as the owner of the cabin. When I walk into a dark house, it doesn’t seem like home until I turn on a few lights. That’s why people wonder about the shadow of the man, because he’s standing in the dark. The shadow is a mystery.
It creates many possibilities as to who the man is, and why he’s there. I see the shadow of a man who’s thinking “Ahh, I’m home”. I taste the cool, crisp air leaking through the cabin. I bet he’s itching to light the grand fireplace and cozy down in front of it. My family used to have a fireplace at our old house, and I loved to lay in front of it, wrapped in a blanket.
Sitting by a fire is as comforting as a warm hug from a mother. Since we moved, I’ve missed our old fireplace. Often, I’ll imagine living there again, with the warm sense of being truly home. Another possibility is that the shadowman is returning home after an extended period of time. Perhaps he had to go away for a while, or is just moving into the cabin. The feeling of being home is a tough one to beat.
After a long day of school and sports, going home to my family and my bed is the only thing I want to do. I enjoy adventure, going to camps, and being away from home, but at the end of the day, I’m the most comfortable at my home. Although I don’t have a nice fireplace to cuddle up by anymore, I settle for laying over a vent covered by a blanket. My home is a refuge. This is the main sense I take away from this picture; the sense of calm and security that comes with being home.
I remember one specific time that I was away from home for a few days. I went to church camp for a week and truly had a great time. However, each night when I went to bed, I would think about how I wish I was in my own bed instead of this sleeping bag. Coming home after a long period time of being away is always a good feeling. When I walked through the door, a sense of peace and comfort washed over me. My mom and cat were waiting there to greet me with hugs and love.
We all see something different when we look at a picture, and I tend to see what makes me happy. This picture caught my eye for some reason, and instead of seeing it for the dark image it is, I was able to make a bright and happy situation. I’ve always been an optimist; people often mention the constant smile on my face. I give credit for this to my mother. She’s a big believer of the idea that everything happens for a reason, and has always been able to find the silver lining in everything. We all see things in different ways, and I’m glad I can find the positive side to situations, even when there’s darkness.