In his poem “Night”, a night-time conversation with his own Self, the Russian poet Boris Pasternak wrote:
You are Eternity’s hostage, imprisoned by Time.”
And this prison, I find, is of our own making.
We construct the wheel of time with the power of our minds, and keep ourselves in captivity, always trying to outrun it, hamster-like… and succeeding only in keeping ourselves out of touch with the ever-present field of inspiration.
But we are always free to step out of this wheel…
I caught this inner gesture of stepping out of the wheel of time accidentally several years ago, while painting this seascape in the Timber Cave, on the Pacific Ocean.
Ocean waves glide towards the shore in a slow rhythm, one after another, measuring the time like an ancient, gently murmuring clock. But there is an even grander, even slower rhythm, which looks like a frozen, immovable present to the human eye.
Here and now, it seems that the shore gives shapes to the waves, yet in the grand scheme of things, it’s the other way round: the curves of the high shore have been shaped by the Pacific ocean over eons of the steady beat of waves.
And the most transient rhythm of all — and most fleetingly picturesque — is the rise and fall of sea foam, its glistering fireworks erupting at the meeting point of water and earth, and disappearing in a matter of seconds.
While painting, I saw these rhythms simultaneously, as parts of multidimensional sensory symphony — and suddenly, miraculously, I became aware that I had somehow stepped out of the wheel of time… that the whole painting process was happening from a space outside of time.
Since that day, I return to the ocean whenever I feel myself caught up in Time’s captivity again, out of touch with the timeless still point within myself.. And it has become a tradition for us to meet every new year on the shore, away from the usual noise of life and flow of time, in the presence of the ever-present beat of its waves.
Two years ago, I captured this still point at the turn of the year in two paintings, the sunset on the last day of 2017…
And the sunrise on the first day of 2018…
And for Shakespeare, in the sonnet series, Time is a pitiless enemy, a relentless destroyer of all that is good and beautiful… But in sonnet 56, he writes:
Let this sad interim like the ocean be
Which parts the shore, where two contracted new
Come daily to the banks, that, when they see
Return of love, more blest may be the view;
And in this comparison, Time transforms into a friend: it may keep the lovers apart, but it also connects…
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