‘To The Island In the Light’
Islands hold a special fascination for me.
There is something about there compactness, their isolation, their very
apartness – that draws me like a magnet.
“Why should islands exert such an exceptional appeal? Why should so proportionately a small area of the earth loom so large in our awareness? What is the secret of the special excitement generated when people are isolated and surrounded by water?”
– John S. Bowman, ‘A Book Of Islands’
I have no real answers to the above questions, but I post this photo of craggy Taranga Island, in New Zealand’s Bream Bay, rising from the sea and bathed in light, as some sort of response to them.
In my mind, I go to the island in the light…
A wrought iron gate cordons off a small and somewhat mysterious flight of stone stairs in the Tower of London.
The sign spells out the obvious.
It’s a classier warning sign than the one I featured in the recent post
No Admittance, but amounts to the same thing really.
The bars pictured here are signifiers of more than privacy – they emphatically spell isolation.
The Tower, in bygone times, was home to many prisoners, who I suspect had way more privacy than they would have liked…
‘Private Property. No admittance’, the battered sign on the fence proclaims.
It’s subtle code for:
” Not in my backyard”
” Keep the hell away”
” F**k off ( pretty please)”
We can all hang that sign out from time.
I get it.
The need for self – preservation runs deep.
But as a usual modus operandi, it is a doomed stratagem.
Putting up walls, or even wire mesh perimeter fencing with forbidding signage, will give us privacy but also isolation.
Isolation, self- imposed or otherwise; loneliness – they kill as surely as war and disease.
It pays to remember, before we put out the rusty old ‘no admittance’ sign, that potential trespassers might be bringing unexpected gifts and even total strangers may become firm friends.
‘On The Beach’
“Now I’m livin’
out here on the beach,
but those seagulls are
still out of reach
… I follow the road,
though I don’t know
where it ends.
Get out of town, get out of town,
think I’ll get out of town.”
‘On The Beach’, Neil Young (1974)
I was intrigued by this suit of armour at the Tower of London when I visited there in October.
Shiny, superbly crafted and protective to the nth degree…lots to admire then.
“When we have built up armour against all the bad things we think might happen in the world, we have a false sense of protection and have only built up isolation”. -Tara Stiles
You name it – defensiveness, cynicism, aloofness – they only will only leave you alone in your corner in the end.
And those eye slits are not the best way to view the wonder and possibilities of the world!
Lighthouse, Phuket 2013
“Lighthouses are endlessly suggestive signifiers of both our human isolation and our ultimate connectedness.”
– Virginia Woolf