Entry 2.0 "Moonroof"
Armstrong has survived roughly a dozen generations in my family. As its been told, he was bought new off the Toyota showroom floor in 1984. The kids in the Taylor’s Connecticut neighborhood had never seen anything like him and pointed fingers. They called him, “Moon Van” because to them he looked less like the wood-plated station wagons of the day, and more like something suited for picking up space rocks with an expandable metal claw. The excitement of the Taylor kids when they found out that their new ride had an ice maker and a moonroof far outweighed the mockery of their friends.
He has seen countless family events, been to Woodstock (not Hendrix, but Green Day), and lived the #Vanlife movement of the early 21st century. Kept carefully stored during the wars and the restitutions, then proudly featured in my grandfather’s museum, Armstrong had more than earned his spot on my expedition. In fact, on the day represented in this art piece, he unequivocally became what he was never ashamed to be called in the first place: a moon van.
“Always bring 3 sources of light with you when exploring caves” seemed like wise advice, but completely irrelevant in that particular moment. Warm beams flooded through the skylights of the Bone Caves of Anadore and illuminated nearly every divot in the fossilized hall. Even without that strange sun’s eminence, I had yet another source of light – Kiye radiating at my back.
That was when we were so new and professional, but every slight touch was charged, each glance had gravity and all words had subtext. As might’ve been by design, that moment found us alone. We sat back to back, and collectively willed time to slow down to let breathe a flawless moment, so exotic, yet so surprisingly comfortable.
Apparently, it wasn’t often one received an invitation to sojourn with Sultan Razeen Kanzul. The way it was told to me was that decades ago, Razeen essentially liquidated his small-but-rich middle eastern country for the currency to invest in a private island on the earth-like moon, Anadore. He also funded the exodus of his dynasty and over 100 other prominent families through the Link and into the Throughworlds to join him. What was the use of being a Sultan with no one to rule?
As a great patron of culture and self-proclaimed admirer of our venture, Razeen had extended an open invitation for us to use his island as a muse for our creative interests, which we graciously accepted. He granted us his full hospitality – which proved extensive, but just the way fresh air felt in our lungs was enough to make us outstay our welcome by several cycles.
The Sultan’s silver fortress, with its eclectic spires and ivory promenades rose just over the lowest cloud.
Incandescent bubbles ascended slowly above the cave’s lucid spring and then, nearly silently gave up the ghost. As I conceptualized this piece, I couldn’t help but think that this was exactly what I set out to do – make an unfamiliar land seem like it was capable of holding the human heart. Like a kite and its mutually beneficial relationship with its string, my anchor to the outlandish was an old van, worn denim jeans, and a fishing pole.
When I was a kid, I got caught for 15 minutes in the moonroof where Kiye was sitting. When I told her, she laughed, and it echoed. I didn’t want to find our shoes, but I thought it might be good to do before we lost the light.
We’d share many bright memories after that, but none as new and fragile. I’ve been chasing such a moment ever since the moonroof faded.