Time moves on.
For me it sometimes races as fast as lightning, them slows soft and redolent, dropping like honey from my day. Sundays are my slow day and they seem to last longer, and taste better on the tongue than all of the frantic week put together.
All of this is my way off saying that I finally have my new project. I have The Dales.
Simplicity is so simple in retrospect. I now realise that my theme is time.
A landscape in flux
The Dales landscape is a reflection of the passage of time, it erodes, washed away with every storm, runs down every cascading moorland stream, and accretes, silently in the darkness of caves under the hills. These things I know, and I can see, but cannot truly grasp – geological time is beyond the power of my years to comprehend.
The Dales is a landscape in flux, but to see it’s people, to hear the familiar accent of home, to be amongst their fore square surety, solidity and stolidity. Hard nosed, cold shouldered, rough handed warm and generous. Amongst them time flexes and I am no longer the middle aged man who left the North for the promise of the South and ended up in the East. No longer lost, I am home, as though I had never left. Half of my life – and more – blinks out of mind. When I travel north it is back in time.
A Secular cathedral
We preserve the Dales against the march of progress, not as a museum but a sanctuary.
The tourists; they are time travellers too. You see them everywhere looking for the time they have lost to that sensible job, the unpaid overtime, the unfulfilling day which races end over end to two weeks all inclusive in the sun.
The Dales is an antidote to all of that, a door to the Self. a place to Be, precisely because it’s not the place to be. Apart, alone, aloof it is everything modern life isn’t. In the Dales we receive time for ourselves.
Charles Saumarez Smith asked if, ‘galleries weren’t providing something the church once did?‘ I now know that the Dales are. To understand our need for space, and time and quietude is to understand that it’s not so much a National Park but a secular cathedral for our Age.
So the strands come together. The landscape. My past. Our present and our future.
Beyond Here then will be a show about these things. A landscape of memory, but also of dreams, of coming home, of belonging.
I’ll not write about this again my words have turned at last to pictures.