I say ‘experience’, because the work is huge, standing five metres (more than sixteen feet) high. This breathtaking mirrored structure was commissioned by the Greater London Council for Peace Year in 1983. According to the National Trust, ‘The egg is the universal symbol of the life principle and the mirrored shell of this egg represents cosmic time and space swirling to reflect the world today’.
The temporary custodians have positioned it inside the Abbey’s Great Barn which is a perfect environment in which to absorb the impact of such a beautiful and unusual work of art. The effect of its size and reflectiveness is to produce astonishment and speaking in whispers, if at all – which is probably exactly what its creator hoped for.
This week my burden of grief (following my mother’s death last year) has at last become manageable and eased considerably. No-one warns you, and I had forgotten – because my father died so long ago – about the weight of this emotion and how it can drag you down, both physically and mentally. I’ve been in a very dark place, but some rays of bright sunshine have quite literally begun to lighten up the farthest corners.
Last Saturday many people around the world were glued to their television screens watching a British Royal Wedding. Four members of my family, including me, decided this would be a good morning during which to carry out a task we had been putting off, and which needed fine weather. We assembled at a petrol station just off the A30 where other travellers and holidaymakers were busy breaking their journeys and fuelling their cars, anxious to reach their destinations in time to watch the wedding. We were the only ones to drive away on to Dartmoor and make our way in convoy to a small, quiet place where we carried out our assignment under clear blue skies.
Afterwards three of us decided to go to the nearest pub, where we found a comfortable table and ordered drinks. And yes, you’ve guessed it: there in the corner a TV hung on the wall silently broadcasting the arrival of Princes William and Harry at Windsor.
Gradually the pub filled up with cheerful Devon folk, all ordering food and drink and many of them ready to watch sport which was belting out of the other TV in the other bar. Suddenly there was a hush and a rush of women towards ‘our’ TV – the bride had arrived, and we all wanted to see her dress.
Throughout the hubbub which accompanied our food, the Royal Wedding continued its silent transmission. The pomp, glory and fun shone out despite the interruption of an automatic switch-off, gales of laughter and loud good-natured commentary from some of the locals.
Andrew Logan, creator of ‘The Cosmic Egg’ tells us: “It is very difficult to conceive the universe. You can’t see it, yet it is all around you; so vast you can only begin to come to terms with it through mathematics or art."
We are so tiny and our lives are too brief ever to conceive the truth. How vital, therefore, to enjoy every single moment when we can. We four who were released from our duty on Saturday can now move on, while the ashes of the person we loved will forever sing and dance in the breezes across the moor…