January 14, 2020

Can the experience of solitude in nature provide the spiritual solace lacking in a secular society?

John Mole, 67

When I cycle along the Longniddry Railway walk in the quiet of a Sunday morning, I often hear nothing but the sound of birdsong and the rustling of the wind in the trees. I find the quiet solitude a balm to the soul in these troubled times of political animosities and threats from climate change. There is a particular bridge across the trail where, when the early morning light hits the underside of the arch, the countryside around it is illuminated in a remarkable way, and the light seems to burst from the bridge like the beam from a lighthouse, an image that never fails to affect me in a spiritual and emotional way. Although not an adherent of any organised religion, I nevertheless feel uplifted and privileged to be able to undergo such an experience within a short distance of a modern, urban existence. We should forget about mindfulness apps on smartphones and just get out into the peace and tranquillity of the natural world. I have attempted to convey my feelings of joy and celebration in the natural environment of Scotland in my painting.

Into the Light, 2019Acrylic Paint on Canvas510 mm x 400 mm