Updated: May 25
When do you feel most in the present moment?
(Does this sentence remind you of a mindfulness meditation? Oh dear. It does for me.)
For me, it is at those in-between moments, at dusk and dawn.
It is cliché, I have never heard anybody say, “I hate sunsets, so ugly and banal.” But I was present in a classroom in college where my art history teacher told the following story.
He was on holiday in the Middle East visiting a series of ancient cities and temples from the ancient Sumerian civilization. One day, he was on a guided tour of one of the temples, from the 4th century BC, with a group of tourists. When they reached the top of the temple, all his fellow participants of the tour immediately veered towards the West side of the plateau. Why? They arrived at exactly the right moment to have a beautiful view of the sunset. So, everybody got their camera’s out and started photographing the sunset. He could not comprehend it, was first dumbfounded by their collective reaction. Then, he was angry. “How is it possible? You can see the bloody sunset every single day of your life and now we are here one this unique, more than 5000-year-old, marvellous temple, and they are all photographing the goddamn sunset?! What are they thinking?!” He ignored all of them with a silent fury, took himself and his camera away from the group and started photographing the temple.
Materials used: Fabriano paper160g, ecoline (brand Talens)
This story still makes me smile. I believe, he wanted us to understand that when you get to visit and experience an ancient architectural marvel, your focus must lie on the wonderment of this ancient culture. Not on an absolute banal thing, such as a sunset.
I understood it then, and now.
But. There is something wonderful, and hilariously funny, about the fact that we humans are never bored by one of the simplest things in life. A sunset or a sunrise. (With the exception of that teacher, of course.)
For me, it is that your gaze barely sees the beginning until the light has shifted enough, to reveal the golden hour. The light and colours change throughout the day. But twice a day it becomes clearer that time is always present, almost touchable, in colours of indigo and gold. And everything in between.