This is a time of year where stillness isn’t the first word that comes to mind. Frenzy is a more appropriate one especially in Europe and US. 25th aside where there is no public transport and it can give an impression of silence and stillness, it is often far from it.
There is something to be said for stillness, and not only during this season. Solitude, stillness, silence: in urban environments in general we don’t get enough of these. Is it my character as an artist that longs for those conditions? After spending 6 months in Los Angeles this summer had me longing and craving those like I have never before. I felt totally de-centred, my mind was foggy. I had to escape.
Sometimes I go to the desert, this place of humbling silence. For a change I went to the mountains for a few days. I hiked, I blended in, unconsciously, with my outfit ( it was an impulse drive, as per usual, I wasn’t prepared , I didn’t think about what I had on me or with me or the temperature)!
I went watching the moonrise in silence ( asides from bats flying around me and some other weird creatures I couldn’t see running around )
I sat there – I watched it rise, I had butterflies in my stomach and a big smile, excited like a child.
Felling that sense of oneness with nature is paramount for me, as much as exercise, which I prefer to do in the outdoors too. A ritual that helps centre the mind and the body. It keeps a sanity from the city where everything is noise, is bright, artificial, all is a stimulant. It has its perks and seductive side, but I find it can loose me.
It is a time suspended, stretched where thought can unfold without background noise and I mean by that distraction. It helps you tune yourself to the within in and out. It is also that precious time where creativity can kick in. Where all the datas amassed over time can find their space so that they can be easily retrieved when needed and sometimes cross each other to form a new one. Creativity requires a moment stillness, a time where all the seed gathered have the time to germinate and unfold into ideas.
We can go further and argue that with stillness, comes the feeling of privacy That moment where we are with ourselves, by ourselves. Richard Snowden made the point of Christmas speech that “A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded, unanalysed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters; privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.” Admittedly he is speaking of children in a certain part of the world.
I may be an artist, a dreamer with my head in the clouds but I am also very earthy with my feet solidly on the ground! Perhaps it is why I like to have a horizon, that line that links the two together. Bridging the intangible, the abstract to the physical, palpable, biological. Turning one into the other.