A Weekend of Celebrating, Including the Gates of Hell

I hope everyone had a nice weekend! I realize it’s Tuesday, but I’m still getting back in the groove after having five days in a row off of work. My parents were in town, and my brother in law graduated with an MBA on Saturday. The weekend was spent hanging out, relaxing, and eating a lot. We had a very nice sunny day for Memorial Day, so my Dad BBQed over at my sister’s house. And we did some impromptu gardening. And, for the first time every my legs got voted “palest in the whole family.” Not that we vote a lot (or ever, actually!) but growing up, I was always tan. So to beat out my Dad and sister, well, it means I have a lot of work to do.

One of my Mom’s favorite things go to see when she’s in town is the “Gates of Hell” by Rodin, which is in an outdoor statue garden at Stanford University. There are six castings of the Gates on display around the world, with Stanford’s being #5. They are huge, standing nearly 20 feet tall, and crafted in bronze. Rodin took his inspiration from Dante’s book The Inferno – and having read that in grad school, it’s overwhelming to take in the work in person. It shows humanity attempting to escape the grasps of hell in the afterlife.

This may strike some as a strange work to visit or take delight in. But somewhere in the huge Gates, there is inspiration. For all of humanity’s sins, there are moments of true Grace displayed as well. The Kiss of two people, the mother raising her baby up from hell’s grasp. The tenacity of humanity to keep going on. And, Rodin’s “The Thinker” sits atop the Gates considering our fate.

Here are photos of the Gates:

Sunlight and The Thinker:
And some humor, there’s a door behind the Gates, with this sign:And lastly, LOTS of people were posing like the statues when we were there this time. This particular man was asking his girlfriend to “hurry up” because he “charged $100 a minute for photos like these.”