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Angel of the North, Gateshead, UK

On August 2, 2012

On our way back from Scotland, my friend suggested we stop by the Angel of the North in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. I had never heard of it but we had time before we had to turn the car in and you should always get every last minute out of a rental car, ’cause you’re going to pay no matter what time you turn it in…and that’s how we ended up seeing the Angel of the North.

The Angel stands 66 feet high and its outspread, very slightly angled wings measure 177 feet across. Designed by Antony Gormley, it was begun in 1994 and finished in 1998 at a cost of £1,000,000. Given these facts, you might think that there would be a little fanfare leading up to its appearance; but no, much like Stonehenge, it just appears. So,  after just a smidge of trouble getting headed in the right direction, we almost drove right by it.

“There it is! There it is! Now where do we park?”

Because you see all there is to the Angel is, well, the Angel… and a gravel parking lot…and oh, yes, there’s a plaque.

I hadn’t really expected much. It actually seemed like a rather odd expenditure, a million pounds for a giant cherub overlooking the A1 with no special reason for it being there. The appropriate response might appear to be, “Why?”

Approaching the Angel, however, I was immediately struck by its archetypal, iconic feel…or whatever word you use to describe the overpowering sense of “wow, it touches me in some way I can’t explain.”

So, perhaps, rather than “Why”, one might say as Satan said to Eve, “I dream things that never were and say, ‘Why not?'”


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