I used to walk into an art gallery and wonder, what was the artist thinking? As I have grown up I now walk into an art gallery and ask, what the artist was feeling? And, now as I mature, I walk in life and ask what is the artist becoming? Recognizing now we are all artists of our life.

By life’s magical design my boyfriend and I chose visit the 2016 Budweiser Snow Sculpting Championships held each year in Breckenridge, Colorado. As we arrived to meet the artist teams we soon realized this is the largest snow sculpting festival in North America. We saw teams of four sculptors from 11 countries flock to compete in this spectacle of snow and ice art. As I looked around I saw many members of the teams wearing jackets dating back many festivals before. You would hear languages from around the world and smell the hot cinnamon spice of warm almonds being roasted.

Photo credit – 2016 H.Duckworth

We spent the day walking the parking lot over and over to see the blocks of ice transforming to work of art, truly works of heart. Each go round we would get more and more connected to the stories the people and the sculptures. My personal favorite was team #13 from Switzerland with Converse – Two elements, in a semantic relationship, making the pair almost identical, yet they are Converse.

Finally after dinner around 8:30pm we walked up the stairs to the landing one last time. To our left Metanoia the German team had been working diligently all day.   You can see the photos we took on one of our rounds. We were questioning what the German sculpture was becoming. As we looked away, thud, like no sound I’d ever heard before I looked away and quickly back to see the almost 12 feet high sculpture collapsed. Hundreds of spectators frozen, stopped, silent, you could have heard a pin drop as we waited for someone, anyone to say or do anything. What do you say when you see a work of heart, of love suddenly flattened on the cold, ice hard grown with no hope of resurrection.

Metanoia - before
Photo credit – 2016 H. Duckworth

In that instant, I was pulled back to the display sign that read “Metanoia.” I had not noticed the sculpture name before. Metanoia: meaning changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life. It was clear to me the artisans had not come to build a structure. They had come to change their thinking, feeling and way of life. While these artisans from more than 8,000 miles away may have call the sculpture a failure as I watched their becoming post sculpture collapse they were demonstrating much more. They were living the theme, Metanoia for all of us. Sculpture artists they had seen sculptures fall before, and they kept living and sculpting. Many of us walked away to leave the team in their grief. About 10 minutes later I returned to see a German flag sitting on the structure almost a peace offering. Holding their heads proud they knew their time in the competition was over. You could see them drinking, I hope it was a good German beer. A change had come over them, and the audience in that moment. They were doing what they loved, in a place they loved for people who loved their work they did. How can life get better than that?

Metanoia - after
Photo credit – 2016 H.Duckworth

The art they had created was brought to life. It meant more they were not simply sculpting “Metanoia” they were living it. This experience was a living example of my walk thru life, on the cold snowy parking lot in Breckenridge I watched snow sculpted by global artisans think, feel and become the metaphor for life’s’ ever changing journey.

How are you living your “Metanoia?” I’d love to hear from you.

The sculptures are presented for one week after the sculpting when they will disappear under the darkness of night- just as magically as they appeared! For more on Breckenridge an the International Snow Sculpting Championships visit #breck

To see the winners click here.