Sweet Salt

Co Westerik, Zwemmer 1962 Museum Kunsthal, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Suspended between heaven and earth in the gestational thrall of the sea. The clouds float below  the water’s surface, the sky seems liquid like water. A lovely inversion here. Don’t you think?

It’s a head on shot, as the swimmer glides toward us, between two pieces of land in the distance. The surface of the water bisects the canvas with a delicate horizontal line. The broad field of blue sky and the swath of cloudwhite water add emphasis to this line.  But wait, there’s more. Connect with your finger the lone cloud, the mass of land on the right, finger-like seaweed at the bottom, and the mass of land on the left, finishing again with the blue cloud.  You have encircled the swimmer, a circumscription joining these four painted elements.

See references to the womb here — use your imagination (i.e. seaweed placenta). The swimmer at this angle, in a fetal position. However, the image speaks more than ” the ocean is our Mother.” Its the freedom created when your stroke settles into a hypnotic rhythm. You cease to exist like you did on land. This new-found buoyant body, ubiquitous wetness and the sweet salt taste in your mouth, the soft rock of the waves. Plucks you from time and delivers you for the briefest moment to the soul of eternity.

(At least that’s what the guy at the YMCA said)  And I thought, “Yeah, but once I was almost killed by that sea.”