"Love falls to earth, rises from the ground, pools around the afflicted. Love pulls people back to their feet. Bodies and souls are fed. Bones and lives heal. New blades of grass grow from charred soil. The sun rises.
"What can we say beyond Wow, in the presence of glorious art, in music so magnificent that it can't have originated solely on this side of things? Wonder takes our breath away, and makes room for new breath. That's why they call it breathtaking. We're individuals in time and space who are often gravely lost, and then miraculously, in art, found.
"In art, we feel the breath of the invisible, of the eternal — which Elie Wiesel described in Night as 'that time when question and answer would become ONE.' Wow, what horror that man saw, and what beauty, truth, and silence he still managed to create from it. In paintings, music, poetry, architecture, we feel the elusive energy that moves through us and the air and the ground all the time, that usually disperses and turns chaotic in our busy-ness and distractedness and moodiness. Artists channel it, corral it, make it visible to the rest of us. The best works of art are like semaphores of our experience, signaling what we didn't know was true but do now.
"In museums, when we behold framed greatness, genius embracing passion, obsession, discipline, and possibly madness, our mouths drop open. For a short time, we see past all that is jumbled, mysterious, marvelous, and ugly. Instead, we glimpse life, beauty, grief, or evil, love captured and truth held up to the light. Art makes it hard to ignore truth, that Life explodes and blooms, consumes, rots and radiates and slithers; that eternity really is in a blade of grass. Jethro Tull sang that the same God who made kittens also made snakes in the grass. We stand before Monet and Rothko and the Sphinx and Georgia O'Keeffe and are speechless, in awe. Awe is why we are here. And this state is the prayer: 'Wow.'
"To watch one dance number by Fred Astaire or Pina Bausch is to see the sacred in communal energy. We see where everything comes from and where it all passes through — childbirth and death; the glorious, graceful, immediate, brutal; all that bad behavior. We see where everything is headed: more childbirth, more death, more bad behavior. We see in art a moment in time, an instant, and this is holy."