‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
~Walter De la Mare
The idea for this project came., as such ideas often do, during the early hours, when the curtain of the night was in gentle but imperceptible retreat, when the relentless fingers of daylight were prising back its stubborn hold on the underside of the sky.This is the magic time, when all is in balance and ideas can slip through the cracks in the darkness and make themselves known.
At first the idea was a thing without form, a whisper of possibility, a curl of wandering darkness within a greater darkness, a tremor of conscious possibility trapped behind the dam wall of Reason, but it would not subside, and it would not rest. It snaked slowly and sinuously along the wall, seeking a place of weakness, a way through, and it found what it was looking for. It prised the gap apart and assembled itself into an idea.
The dream continued to form, to take shape. I had recently moved to Rawene, in the Hokianga region of Northland, to follow the backward-pointing trail of my own whakapapa (ancestry). I had taken residence in a small apartment beside the harbour. The water whispered past just five paces away from my door, day in, night out. The boy who had been born in and washed by the revolving shadows of mountains and their inscrutable silence began to hear the song of the water, and to sense a deeper truth. There was a metaphor here, a sense of the river as a journey. As I watched the river, it was watching me. I would find myself staring at the water, observing the currents and the strange interplay of the opposing spirals which formed in the water. In the evenings, as I sat in the dark, I would hear the water outside my door, whispering in sibilant and unhurried tones. There was a story here.
I would be there at sunset and afterwards, as the river continued its ceaseless journey to the sea. I would watch it shimmering softly under the moonlight, and in my imagination under the New Moon. And in the nights, when I travelled in other realms, the dreams would come, of a Great River as a Singularity, an archetype. I would see a voyager on the water, an archetypical traveller journeying from the Source to the Great Ocean and oblivion. The Tarot hermit and the Traveller in Walter de la Mare’s poem, seeking an answer that never came.
An idea taking Form
“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”
― Carl Sagan
Was he alive today, I am sure that if the great teacher, Jesus, he would be using the Internet to spread his message.
The Internet is a globally-connected network of computers. The connection exists, and yet it has no concrete form. It is energy and nothing more, yet everything more. It is ideas and intention expressed and yet never more than virtual. A page on a computer screen has no solid form and yet it exists. We cannot collect it, or place it in a box and mail it to a friend or relative. We cannot trip over a web page left lying carelessly around and physically damage ourselves.
Yet it exists.
Not only does it connect all the computers using it, it connects their users. When we are interacting with the Internet, we are connecting to each other. We are bound together by a web of energy, itself powered by the energy of the planet. We are bound to each other. And as we are all forms of energy, albeit in a slowed down form, we are directly connecting to each other. Our energy is engaging with the energy of others. Everything and everybody is energy in one state or another. Separation is all in the mind. It has no place in reality.
When I asked how this project should look and what form it should take, the answer which returned was: make a WEB SITE. A website is pure energy. It has no physical form. And yet it has form. And, if it has form and is pure energy, then it is interacting with every other part of the Internet. It is, if you like the energetic expression of the passage of energy from one state to another. And yet, the Internet exists in a common moment. It has, despite what people may think, no past or future.
The visual artist I was absorbed. I pondered the idea of a website as a form of virtual installation, as an artwork in and of itself, with each of the component parts of a website an act of expression in and of itself.
It seems so.
Genesis and Generation
“If a man crosses a river
and an empty boat collides with his own skiff,
Even though he be bad tempered man
He will not become very angry.
But if he sees a man in the boat,
He will shout at him to steer clear.
If the shout is not heard, he will shout again, and yet again, and begin cursing.
And all because someone is in the boat.
Yet if the boat were empty,
He would not be shouting, and not angry.
If you can empty your own boat
Crossing the river of the world,
No one will oppose you,
No one will seek to harm you”
A conversation with two wise friends occurred, from which the ideas began to develop.
All life is a journey.
There is no destination, only ever the Path. Life is a road without end, a circular journey which returns to the place from where it began.
All things exist simultaneously. The Universe is a single point which, when expanded, becomes a circle. A single line exists, not as the journey from one point to another, but as a break in the continuity of a Point-become-Circle. The straight line, and indeed all geometry, is a product of Mind, and therefore of Illusion.
The river is a perfect analogue for our life journey. The river flows from its source to the ocean, where it is absorbed into a greater whole. Then water, an amalgamation of all the rivers that have flowed to the ocean and been absorbed by it, is picked up by the winds and taken back to replenish the source. The Point has expanded to become a circle. And all life is merely a point that expands to become a circle and then collapses back to become a point again.
All of us have a signature element in nature, which infuses us and in which we are fused, which is core to who we are. Each of us resonates with a particular aspect of our natural world. For some it may be the silence and stillness of the mountains; for others, it may be the majesty of trees. Others still will be drawn to water and its timeless rhythms. We feel cleansed and energised in some way by this signature. As I reflected upon the nature of water, I began to see what could take form. Then the project emerged.
A young man leaves his village and sets forth on a journey from his home in the mountains of his birth. He has decided to follow the river down to the ocean. Along the way, he will meet people and from these encounters his learning and his growth will come. This is an archetypal journey, for while he is an individual, in a way he is Everyman. Not only that, but he is me. He may well be you.
As the journey continues, and the chapters write themselves, he will share what he learns.
If you find this of interest, please join the journey. All travellers need companions.
You can do this as follows:
- Sign up on the newsletter popup that appears on this website. It will let you know when there is a new chapter to read. It is a little-known fact that Charles Dickens, the great English author, wrote most of his works in serialised form, publishing new chapters in the newspapers of the day.
- Follow on FaceBook or Twitter
- Join the journey by commenting on each post as it appears. In doing so, you are becoming part of the odyssey and bring your own unique signature to it. Feel free to share your own journey, offer quotes or bring wisdoms you have gained on your journey to the table.
The boat awaits.