Yesterday in writing class, eleventh grade AP level that is, the students got distracted after a TED talk we watched of Malcolm Gladwell discussing happiness and spaghetti sauce, by the animated scene of a wrecking ball smashing in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. The spaghetti sauce talk was engaging, but this other scene was pretty cool too. Our teacher, who was beginning a discussion on the arguments Gladwell uses to make his point, didn’t realize he’d left the computer on and that what amounted to commercials were running after the TED talk. The kids were too interested in the wrecking ball scene to hear the teacher’s introduction to the discussion and he had to stop to find out what the ruckus was about. One of the students explained that behind the teacher’s back were pictures of a ‘building being destroyed’.
“That’s no building”, I told him, “that is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water”.
I have been to Falling Water and it is magnificent. It is a place I think about often. Really. It made an impression on me as a monument to following your intuition, and of the power of creative thinking, and of the ability to integrate nature and man’s ideas and needs and physical structures, and so many other things. I bought a lily pad shaped soap dish there that I use every day when I wash my face. So to see a wrecking ball, even an animated one, tear it all down was provocative. I was interested in the scene, too!
My student friend sitting next to me had no idea what Falling Water was, and to him it was just a building and it was just fun to see it brought down by a wrecking ball. But it served to show me the funny way life is. How over time I have gathered a collection of experiences that inform me as an inhabitant of our society in a completely different way than this young person, here only a few years, relatively speaking, since I am 55 and he is 16. So much has passed before my eyes and heart since I was 16 that I have gathered a perspective on life that he has yet to gain.
His view of the world is different and fresh and wonderful, and so is mine.