The Berkley Hunt, 1842 “The Chase.” (Oil on Canvas) By: Francis Calcraft Turner.
If I could only figure out what this painting means to me. Or meant to me. Or why it causes me to feel the way I do when I partake of it. I am standing in my bedroom, looking at this piece hanging over my bed. Why? I am tired. I have personally had a trying two days. We had dinner at the table tonight and told jokes. We looked upon my 8 month old baby boy at the head of the table. He was clearly trying to entertain us. There were five of us. Each with our own Monday grime layered upon ourselves with varying degrees of intensity. It was a late dinner. A good dinner. Here I stand, hours later. I know that this painting makes me feel safe, a melancholy safe. I tell myself that I hope I dream tonight. I hope last nights dream is explained in my dreams tonight. I know that’s too much to ask, but I ask anyway…because I’m a dreamer.
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung.
If you do an internet or encyclopedia search for Fox Hunt Paintings you will find a handful of painters who’ve dedicated their craft to painting scenes like this, all surrounding fox hunting culture. I have never hunted a fox. I have never hunted anything. So why have I been drawn to these paintings for all of my life? Where did I first see a painting like this? What happened to me in the presence of this painting? Or didn’t happen to me?
“Man’s task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious.” – Carl Jung.
Did I have a family member who displayed art like this in their home? Was this painting inside the home of a close friend? Did I have an amazing experience in the presence of “The Chase?” Or did something terrible happen to me in the presence of this painting and my gaze upon it was my only tether to safety? I just don’t know. I do know that here this painting hangs, above my bed, displayed in my very stable, very safe, very happy, and very comfortable life. It hangs here because my beautiful wife is aware of my love of fox hunting culture and art and she stopped at nothing to ensure that there would be two beautiful framed peices prominantly displayed in our bedroom. It would seem to me that my past is as equally foggy and mystifying as my future, making the present the maximum amount of clarity that can be achieved. Could this be the point? Like in fox hunting? The before and after means very little and it’s “The chase” that means everything? Yeah, I think that’s it. I think I have been trying to complicate this matter as a way of escaping my brokenness. My incompleteness.
“Only if I remain an ordinary human being, conscious of my incompleteness, can I become receptive to the significant contents and processes of the unconscious.” – Carl Jung.
So that’s it. Is it the journey of this painting in my life, or the destination? The current destination right, because time will live on when I do not… I tell my clients, as a means of achieving mindfulness and stillness, that every destination is just the beginning of your next journey. So as I look at this painting in wonder, I give thanks. I recognize that the process of being still and finding meaning is the journey and the destination. I am what is powerful in my own life and it is I… who gets the final say in whats next. In this regard I say that I am going to find my wife, hug her tight, and tell her thanks for making my comfort a priority of hers. As I turn out the light in our bedroom, half out the door, I glance at our desk on her side of the room and I notice a beautiful blonde American Girl doll just staring at me. I bought it for my wife after I noticed her staring at it adoringly one afternoon while out in the world. I swear the doll smiled at me as I killed the lights. Life is good…see… because it has to be.