Photo: guests viewing artwork at the Ringling Museum

Indomitable Spirit

Posted on June 07, 2019 by Stacy Sternberg
Time is one of our most precious nonrenewable resources. Growing up, time seemed to drag on forever. Suddenly, it’s 30 years later. In the next moment, another 30 years will pass.

In the fifth grade, I used to walk home from school. Reflecting back, most days I would wander home, feeling the texture on practically every leaf within arm’s reach and picking tiny bouquets for my mom. I noticed the small black ants that crawled along the hibiscus petals and discovered snakeskins with kaleidoscope patterns. What might have been a 20-minute walk, took me nearly an hour. In hindsight, by slowing down, I was able to appreciate beauty in things that I generally would not notice.

Flash forward to 2019. I am walking through the gardens of The Ringling Museum and wander into David Burnett’s photography exhibition. Once again, I am highly aware of texture. Although the photographs are flat, the older athletes within them have withstood years of endurance, ambition, and sunshine. The skin of each athlete seems to have similar characteristics, like the snake sheddings from my memory, but I know if I could reach through the photograph and touch the person on the other side, their skin would be soft and warm.

I appreciated Mr. Burnett’s exhibition, not because of my interest in sports but because of my interest in living. Age is just a number, and we each have the ability to be lifelong learners and adventurers. After I experienced the work, I left inspired, feeling like we truly do have nine lives.

David Burnett, a Hermitage Artist Retreat Greenfield Prize winner, embraces new ideas that address a constantly changing world. His work beckons each viewer to look at our surroundings with a fresh perspective. Mr. Burnett will be exhibiting his work entitled "Fourth Quarter: Older Athletes and Their Indomitable Spirit," at the Ringling Museum until July 21, 2019. Other work can be viewed year-round at Patriot Plaza.

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