I can’t stop thinking about Apollo and Daphne.
There was so much of Rome to taste and explore, but when I look back, I know that my future memories of my time in that ancient city may come down to this one breathtaking sculpture.
Apollo and Daphne live(s) at the Villa di Borghese in Rome. When sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini created this masterpiece between 1622-24, it was during the height of the paragone — a Renaissance debate that put into question whether painting, sculpture, or literature was the most descriptive medium for depicting nature or conveying human emotion.
In Apollo and Daphne, Bernini carved out all of the raw emotion and inner conflict that so many artists and writers have spent lifetimes trying to convey. I walked around the sculpture for thirty minutes or more, taking in the upswept arms, the feet, flung behind, the feet turning to roots, fingers to branches…
The work captures the chaos and uncertainty of the human condition; the aching and the longing; the desire for intimate, ecstatic love; the quest to be wholly ourselves while honoring the Divinity in another. It brings to life the fear that chases love into the shadows and the transformation that sends it into eternity.
What I can’t get away from, what has literally kept me up at night, is the reminder of my own yearning to convey the multi-dimensional truth of who we are. We are more than 3-D. None of us can judge our own worthiness until we have walked around so deeply inside ourselves that we finally understand that there is no aspect of who we are that is separate from others.
To experience this just as I’m about to teach a workshop in Sedona on women’s storytelling and personal mythology, followed by a summer of deep writing — it was everything.