Longer BoatsKevin Duffy
In the early phases of the pandemic, when the disease was still much of a mystery and confirmed case and death numbers were spiking at a dizzying rate, with no plateau in sight. When it seemed we were deep in the throes of an epidemic Armageddon, the Cat Stevens song Longer Boats became stuck in my mind. I remembered the song when it came out, almost 50 years earlier, but since then I had given neither the song nor Cat Stevens much thought. I couldn’t seem to shake it from my brain and over the course of the next few weeks this piece began to evolve. Perhaps I, too, like so many others, just wished to escape somehow. The gray Quincy granite shape symbolizes an actual boat rather than the space ships referred to in the original song. The boat shape is wrapped in oak leaf boughs, a traditional symbol of strength. I felt it would have to be a strong vessel in order to sustain its voyage through the volatile, viral sea. The white marble yin and yang relief represented my own emotions during this voyage. Amid all the suffering, loss, and sadness caused by this horrible virus, there were some aspects I found beneficial. The world came to abrupt halt. Things got quieter for a while. And while frightening in some ways, in others, it opened up both the time and space to pursue things that had been put on hold, or never explored. The opportunity to indulge in introspective activities with much less external intrusion was something I welcomed. Although I am very glad we seem to be quickly returning to our pre-pandemic state, part of me is mourning the less harried, less complicated existence I experienced during shutdown.