You’re at the beach, a gentle breeze in your face. There are no sounds except the gentle rolling of the waves. The sun shines through the clouds, reflecting on the rippling water. The blue of the sea transitions seamlessly into the blue of the sky. The view is infinite, without disruption.You feel the calmness of the scene, and the calmness is in you.
The moment is a fleeting one. Soon the clouds will cover the sun again, the wind will pick up, maybe it will rain. You turn your back to the scene, climb over the dyke and return to the bustle of traffic on the roads, the brickwork and concrete of town. The calmness disappears, leaving only a vague notion of your visit to the sea earlier in the day.
How do we keep this short impression of calmness in our lives? How can we remember the peaceful scenery even when we are not close to the sea?
This painting by German painter Emil Nolde perfectly captures the atmosphere and the feeling I experience whenever I visit the wide sand beaches of Northern Germany. He consciously leaves out any disturbing details – there are no people, no birds, no ships. Only the endless sky, sea and sand, softly illuminated by the sun hidden behind the cover of clouds. He depicts the essence of the scene.
It is art like this that helps us remember a momentary impression of nature and to take the calmness with us into our lives.
Artwork: Emil Nolde, 1901, Lichte Meerstimmung (Light Sea-Mood). Seen at Emil Nolde Museum, Seebüll, Germany.