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Goldfish for Red Reed

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At the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts recently, Dale Chihuly installed “Red Reeds” – tall lengths of red glass exhibited in a shallow outdoor pond.

Under the umbrella of night, an exchange was made. A red reed was broken and removed from the installation. At about the same time, goldfish appeared in the pond. No one knows how many persons were involved in the removal of reed, nor can count the number of donated fish.

And the reason for it all is anyone’s guess – some old form of barter? A mere serendipity? Or was it a karmic balancing, an instinctive addressing of a situation too much in favor on one side: you owe me a red reed, I owe you fish?

As in Japanese flower arrangement, there is a way that transcends the heavy plane of weights and measures and finds a balance which the eye recognizes and the spirit perceives. The persons unknown swam off into the night, the fish slipped away in the water, and all quietly re-emerged in a heightened state of art.

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