Old Coach Road
In Yoga we say ‘You only have the moment at the end of your foot’. This simple epithet means a lot to me as it is perhaps it unites all we think about in Sufi when we say ‘When you are walking always look at your feet, because that metaphorically describes exactly where you are’. It also unites the moment as described in Celtic epistemology ‘Past is Present is Future’.
It is as this moment. An individual soul in its temporary 3-D body, equipped to move the material world to and fro according to the seed of an idea. Ms P hands me a photo she had saved for years and in that instant I am reminded of the Old Coach Road above Johnsonville. The photo becomes the moment and my 5-D brain goes into overdrive as to how it can be preserved in this 3-D world for a little longer.
I pick up a frame rested against a wall. It was a few feet from where I was metaphorically looking at my foot a nanosecond before. Bob Marley and the Wailers clip backwards and forwards – ‘Now that you’ve seen the light, Stand up for your rights, Get up, Stand up, Don’t give up the fight’. I remember my mate Randy thumping out ‘All Along the Watchtower’ to an appreciate crowd in the nightclub district in Cotonou, Benin. I ponder at this instant the future. Past is present is future in the gloriousness of the NOW. There is only this instant in God’s universal, eternal succession of moments. The chemical synapses respond faster than light and I see Angelique Kidjo belting out ‘Akwaba’, and a bunch of Rastas in Jah’s Paradise singing these lyrics from my mate Andy’s song:
PARLEY WITH BOB MARLEY
Often when I think of magic moments in Trenchtown,
It’s like water running down a sink
My face lit up with a frown
The gift of God had run out
But Jah won’t let me drown.
For its time for us to parley
Messages of the good Bob Marley
Hey play some reggae beat
Jamaican food I like to eat
Haitian girls I’d like to treat
Come take a seat
As we parley to the good Bob Marley
Yeah we parley….
Hey play some reggae beat for us Bob
You were the man for the job
Snap them all to attention
Sing a song about redemption,
Glory, glory halleluiah
Sending Jah Almighty to ya
Tin drums rattle around
Bringing out our Wellington crowd
De sign might say no smoking allowed
But I smell a fragrant cloud
As we parley to the good Bob Marley
Repeat verse one with B-minor to A
What in the name of Schrodinger’s Damn Cat has this got to do with a photograph turning into a painting? (Absolutely zilch if the truth is told.) So I have this moment in a succession of moments – a photograph, frame with glass and backing board, paints, brushes, Bob Marley, Andy and Randy, Angelique, spray cans, U-Tube and a USB clip. What is left?
God has provided the idea of the action, the tools for the action – the instruments, the moment has been created, and you are there to carry out the action. It is time to subsume the will of your egoistic 3-D self to the will of God. What is required to perform the actions of God is total surrender.
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery
For none but us can free our minds
The photo is pasted to the backing board and a scene is carefully imitated around it. Chaos adds the spice of the Phi-swirl and the wrong end of the brush hastily sketches a fence. The photo becomes part of the painted landscape crisscrossed by shadow and No 8 fencing wire. Ms P cleans the glass and after the paint has dried I give her the Old Coach Road above Jville. I wash the brushes diligently, never knowing when I will have to fully surrender again. Just watch my foot, I am, surrendered in the moment.
Acrylic, spray paint, oil, photograph (framed by the artist) on board, 2008
760mm x 540mm