Sunday, 17 March 2019


The Blackbird (above) is one of William Arkle's visionary paintings, loosely dated to the 1960s or 70s. It was brought to mind by the activity of blackbirds in spring, and that mid-evening time when it is getting dark but the blackbirds are still singing with their unsurpassed beauty (and before the later evening, when they start flying around squawking, annoyingly!).

To me, the picture evokes one of those moments (and usually they are just moments) of intense and wondering awareness of Me! Here! Now! - of memory, consciousness and anticipation.

Those sudden shifts, of recognition how remarkable it all is.

Suddenly (triggered unpredictably by something like a blackbird's song acting on the right kind of mood), we come to our senses, waken-up and (all too briefly) realise our situation and condition.

The realisation is solid, and memorable - albeit we cannot express it is words, or communicate it to others; and it is more real than almost anything else - hence our memories hold such incidents in a permanent store.

Years later, we find such (supposedly trivial) 'Blackbird' moments coming back to us: relived - when great swathes of stuff that seemed so crushingly-important at the time are just... gone (at most we merely 'know that' it happened, but not as a living presence).

This is the nature of our experience - and it is our choice whether we acknowledge and learn from it; or follow the mainstream in asserting that Blackbird-moments are evanescent, insignificant, merely subjective...

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