Carl White's Life in the Carolinas

Unexpected Treasures
A Bird’s Eye View of Raleigh, North Carolina
by Suzelle Sinclair
suzelle.sinclair@earthlink.net

“There are things known and there are things unknown,
and in between are the doors of perception.”

~Aldoux Huxley

“A BIRD’S EYE VIEW” ORIGINAL PAINTING BY SUZELLE SINCLAIR

The warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze make it difficult to remember the chilly winter days only a few weeks ago. Turning my face upward to feel the sun, I notice a flock of birds flying above. They have recently returned from their winter homes. I imagine the things they have seen on their journey, the change of colors and terrain. From their aerial perspective, the landscapes below often resemble an abstract painting of colors and patterns. There are, however, hidden art and messages to be seen only from above. These are not only found in ancient Mayan ruins or in midwestern crop circles. Many of these hidden art forms and messages are found right here in the Carolinas.

A visit to the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina, is guaranteed to provide you with a unique perspective. However, as you stroll the grounds, you are probably unaware that some of the enormous sculptures have a hidden message that is only visible from above. On a recent visit to the museum, I enjoyed a walk through a labyrinth of concrete walls. Only by viewing this maze from above would you realize that it is the letter “R” in the phrase “PICTURE THIS,” which is spelled out by a collection of large sculptures on the grounds. Additionally, there is a second message hidden within the “I”. Only visible from the air, within this letter is the phrase “TO BE, RATHER THAN TO SEEM,” the English translation of North Carolina’s state motto, “Esse Quam Videri”.

There are additional hidden treasures in Raleigh that are only visible from the sky. Another one of these is found at the State Capital, which holds a concealed message. Walkways surrounding the capital are beautifully laid out with greenery and foliage. Only when viewed from above do these paths create the shape of North Carolina’s state flower, the Dogwood.

A bird’s eye view of Raleigh also reveals remnants of the past that are no longer apparent from a ground level view. The Raleigh Rose Garden, for example, was planted on the site of the of the old State Fairgrounds. These grounds were also used during World War I for tank maneuvers training. From above the outline of the oval racetrack that surrounded the fairgrounds is still visible. Yet another remnant of the past can be found at Pullen Park. To most, the patterns on the ground seem to be abstract and insignificant. Few remember the old zoo that was once home at the park. However, from the air, the remains of the old zoo are still visible.

Watching the birds flying above, I wonder what other things I miss because of limited perspective? While there may be many different things that limit our perception, some simply require a change of thinking, considering them from a different angle, listening to another’s point of view.

As I gather up my journal and coffee cup and prepare to return indoors, I look one last time up at the birds and remind myself that beautiful things and hidden treasures can often only be found when we venture to view the world from a different perspective.

PULLEN PARK ARIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM GOOGLE MAPS
NC STATE CAPITAL ARIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM GOOGLE MAPS
NC MUSEUM OF ART ARIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM GOOGLE MAPS
NC MUSEUM OF ART ARIAL PHOTOGRAPH FROM GOOGLE MAPS

There are a number of resources in the Carolinas that can provide new perspectives.
Among those resources are a large number of museums. Listed below are a few of those.

North Carolina Museum of Art: www.ncartmuseum.org http://www.ncartmuseum.org/


North Carolina Museum of History: www.ncmuseumofhistory.org http://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/


North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences: naturalsciences.org http://naturalsciences.org/

South Carolina State Museum: www.scmuseum.org http://www.scmuseum.org/

CHARLOTTE WEATHER