So I’m living out at Cowra in central west NSW. It’s so very different from the swarming, ants’ nests of Melbourne and Sydney. In the mornings I stroll down the deserted railway line to the little signal box up one end of the station .There I settle down to some art work:-drawings, watercolours, paintings, mainly landscapes featuring rocks and trees. That’s what’s out here .There’s something quintessential and pure about the pink and grey granite boulders. They seem to speak to me in a comforting way. Why? Because I don’t know what to believe in or think anymore, and, in the midst of all this self-doubt they seem to be saying:-
“We are the rocks .We have silently stood here and witnessed the ages of humans, the good and the bad, the wisdom and the folly, the joy and the sadness, the anger and the violence. The lives of people and animals come and go before us but we stand. We watch and we create the very earth from which they do spring and to which they do return. We have no ambitions to be other than what we are. We are the Rocks.”
Similarly, the trees seem to speak. They say
“We are the trees. Shelter beneath our shade and live quietly with us .We know about life. We are the bridge between the deep underground and the open sky. We offer warmth, food ,air and comfort. We have suffered much in the time of humans but we return and grow out of the ground. We are life itself ”
You may think, as I do at times, that I have gone a bit mad, that I hear the voices of rocks and trees, but I ask, if you turn off the television, the computer, if you don’t read the newspapers, if don’t listen to the radio, what voices do you hear ? Like me, you will hear the wind, the quiet waters of the river, the birds, the silence of rocks and trees, the vastness of the night skies and your own prattling mind.
And what do we believe in? The constant flow of a fb feed or a “news” of the internet .The conjured myths of culture, history and religions? Do we quote from out -of-date political theories of the 19th century? Are we destined to blindly, desperately respond to the necessities of brute force economics? Are we to continue pedestal-ising art and creativity and equate its achievements with empty fame and commercial success just to tear it down? What stories are we to tell ourselves about ourselves? In what and in whom do we believe in these days? Can we really believe in ourselves? We are exhorted to day after day but what does it really mean when placed against the vastness of the world, the unbelievable lengths of time and impossible-to-imagine distances of the still unknown cosmos? Stephen Hawking, the famous scientist and stickler for solving equations (You only go looking to God when the equations don’t add up “) who died earlier this year said “Don’t waste your time.” and, maybe somewhat surprisingly for an arch-atheist scientist , “what a cold universe it would be without love of people and family.” So there’s a couple of things that keep me going in this ruined, beautiful landscape of rocks and trees and clear night skies- the Time we have left to us and the Love we feel.