"Well, p'rhaps it should be numinosity? Anyway, some of that whaddyacallit - immanence?"
"What, that sense of a frozen moment in time when you're in some sort of presence? Is that the kind of thing you mean?"
"Well yes, but I don't want it to be a real presence, just a feeling of it - you know? Just that sort of feeling. That sort of everything's imbued with meaning feeling."
"Oh, I know. Awe. Delight. Significance. That sort of thing."
"Exactly. Look forward to seeing your ideas!"
Well, there you are. That's our subject of the day, of the moment, of ever, of always. A fleeting eternity. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Looking through my many photographs, I can pick out from memory those that mark moments when I thought that feeling was there, but so few pictures are able to capture it. And those that seem to me to do so may not convey the transcendent moment to anyone else.
It's interesting to consider what sort of elements might tickle a person's visionary cortex. First, you need a sense of rootedness at a still centre. And a feeling of hugeness, spinning into space. And beyondness - seeing through, beyond, out to the really real. Hidden depths of meaning in the ordinary. A sense of impending arrival helps. In the picture above, from Lissard in County Cork, the tracery of paths suggests a circling presence.
Of course this rather spiritual theme skirts appallingly close to a decadent variety of pantheism, or even something more personalised. Well I'm not having any of that - god-shaped spaces abound in our heads and the feeling of packing something in there can be good. Landscape's a nice fit, that's all it means to me.
Ah but it's lovely, that feeling of searing significance and connection to something beyond yourself. In this next case there was invitation too. It's the woodland edge at the Herb Farm in Staplehurst.
Today's song, Lay Down Your Weary Tune, from Biograph seems like something that could not have been invented. It feels like something that always existed - one written by Anon in the mists of history. Do try it. If you don't already know it, I hope you will be staggered by its perfection and its completeness. It's about music and it's about being transported. It's about the universe and nature, banging and booming around a magical still centre, where a guitar is played and the guitar player sings. And he sings about being in the natural world and ceasing to play his guitar, hearing a greater music instead.
And yet, you know, I don't listen to it often, and I would hate to hear it performed by someone who didn't understand how subtly distinct each chorus must be. It's a timeless tune alright, one that could drill into your brain and drive you crazy.
As a child, I remember listening to Ten Green Bottles and feeling I could not stand it, that sense of time slowing down, plod plod plod through the verses, knowing exactly where the note will land, knowing what will happen next, wishing to be anywhere else, really truly ANYWHERE else, desperate to get out of the snares of this terrible tune thumping in my head, like Gulliver held down.
How close to that particular wind Dylan's song steers. He rescues it though, young though he is; his commitment, his energy, some unexpected words and intonations; all these contrive to acheive something pretty near to the transcendence he sings about. Would that a garden could get that close in nature.
Back-lighting could help. It doesn't always - sometimes it just looks like back-lighting.