Observations come to you at strangely random moments.  My daughter and I were having a late breakfast last weekend at the local hangout.  In a seat well situated to observe the entrance, I was watching people come and go.  The room was filled with people of every variety, young college-aged adults, middled-aged folks like me, a few elderly diners, some couples with young children.  My view in the restaurant formed a snap shot of life in these times in my country.  Then I realized something about my koi, and it came to me like a friendly punch in the arm. 

I realized that we are moving through time as through a fluid, like fish swimming in a stream.  C.S. Lewis had written somewhere that we are creatures of time as certainly as a fish is a creature of water, and that we can no more exist without time than the fish can exist without the water.  Time is the medium through which we live and move.

Our stream rushes along with a powerful current that pushes us always forward.  In regard to the physical laws of nature, we move in one direction only.  The arrow of time goes only toward the future.  We cannot swim against this current which is far too strong to outmaster.  And yet, and yet – the mind works in a most puzzlingly different fashion.  In thought we travel back and forth, we flit from thing to thing.  We wander back into the past;  we leap-frog past now into various imagined futures, we come back to now but stay hardly as long as a bee hovers over a flower before we are bouncing off to some other temporal setting of imagination.  It’s actually a rather hard job to keep oneself anchored in the present.  Mystics study for years in arduous discipline in hopes of mastering the task of holding onto a little bit of “now”.

We swim all over as very feckless and curious fish.  Rare the moment when the mind is still, not even yearning for the future along the arrow of time, not aiming at all times and places that catch our fancies.  Truly, like the koi, we are restless swimmers.


7 thoughts on “Fluidity

  1. Brilliantly perceptive Aletha (and you know what our friend Paul would say about time – haha – and cirles and all that jazz) – this is so good – make sure it goes in the book 🙂

  2. You know, as I scroll through some of the posts that I have missed over the past week (simply due to me being busy, etc.) I find myself learning a lot from the insights, tips, and wisdom that is found in your writing. In developing my portfolio this coming summer (Getting close, the sun is shining!) I will surely find you and your art one of my many inspirations, and I thank you for that.

  3. I am amazed at the size of your painting!
    Technical question, if not a secret, is it neocolor solely, is it turpentine on the table?
    Des poissons qui sautent partout, oui c’est nous!
    Great post.

  4. Pas de secrets. It’s just the water soluable Caran d’ache. I have sometimes used wet sponges to create washes and usually draw back over the washes later after they dry. I’m pretty sure I did that with this one — mostly in the blues.

    You have a sharp eye. That is Gamsol on the table, a solvent that’s supposed to have a lower evaporation rate than turpentine and be therefore less of a respiration hazard(?) It’s left over from when I was doing oil painting, but I haven’t been painting at the secret bunker studio lately.

    The drawing is just water soluable crayons usually used as though they were pastels with an occasional use of H2O to create a wash.

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