When you step to the edge of the Grand Canyon, or take a gondola across Niagara Falls, or look over any natural abyss or up any colossal structure, well, there’s a certain thing that happens. Invoking Keanu Reeves and Joey Lawrence at once — an admirable feat itself — I call this feeling the whoa moment.
It’s that weightless feeling we get when we walk into a huge cathedral or behold a haunting religious painting or painted sarcophagus, things that make us say, Whoa! Seriously. Is this fo’ real?
Yesterday morning, on the front cover of its morning edition, The New York Times published a photo of a 1,500-year-old Buddhist relic held in the National Museum of Afghanistan, a museum that was devastated by the Taliban in 2001. One can only imagine how it must feel to behold this relic in person, to breathe the air of it. Its age, its spiritual significance, its stunning composition, its serenity, and even the story of the danger it survived in 2001, all help create an aura around the object. The thing has gravitas.