Creating art extends yourself into another reality
It was another deliriously lovely Bermuda day in September, when the sky is bluer than the turquoise sea and the late afternoon sun casts a golden hue to the fading day.
Soft, airy clouds were scudding across the horizon; a ship vanished beyond sight, and tiny seabirds scattered in the shallow surf.
I was with my friend, lying on the beach. We had left behind the scorching sun of midday with its brilliant sheen that glittered on the cresting waves beyond my sunglasses. I relaxed into the warm and comforting glow and gazed for a long time at the endless curl of the waves.
As I listened to the calming surge of foam advancing and retreating across the purity of the sand, a figure appeared far down the beach.
He was walking towards us and, behind him, towered the upper outline of a guitar.
His black T-shirt and jeans threw a shadow like a large black bird. He was wearing an interesting hat. I blinked to dispel my image of a giant condor, and he snapped into sharp focus.
“Mike!” I shouted. “Long time no see!”
I have known Michael DeSilva, a local artist, for several years. I admire his colourful, energetic and dreamy paintings. His art make me smile and feel happy.
“Are you performing somewhere tonight?” I asked.
His face then lit up in a smile, and he said: “Probably, I just decided to walk on the beach with my guitar and see what would happen.”
He laughed softly to himself.
As he gazed to the left and out towards the far reefs, I had a sudden, vivid flashback.
I was 20 years old and living in Siberia. I passionately wanted to play tennis, but it was not possible. There were no tennis courts in my city. I could only bounce the ball on a concrete wall. I found an old, but well-loved wooden tennis racket in a junk store.
I began carrying it around with me even though I was not playing. Somehow, it felt right. When I put that old racket in my backpack, I became someone new. The handle stuck straight up behind me like the neck of Mike's guitar.
It led to many a conversation. When people saw the handle, they often asked: “Do you play tennis?”
This was a rarity in Siberia. “Yes,” I answered confidently, and in that moment I believed I did. I also felt that something magical might happen if I proudly showed the world my true passion, or at least the physical evidence of it.
It took many years for that dream to come true, yet I still recall the depth of my feelings back then, and my young self yearning for the exotic image of a tennis player confidently slamming the ball across a perfectly smooth court.
“I want to play a song for you.” Mike had been watching my far-off gaze.
“How wonderful, Mike! Please do!”
I was pleased and turned to my friend beside me. She nodded enthusiastically. Mike took out the guitar and tuned it. He sang a soulful ballad of his own.
His voice mingled with the wind and the waves. It was a perfect, simple surprise to enjoy this spontaneous performance right on the beach. He finished singing and the group of people sitting next to us asked him if he would play for them.
I laughed. The magic happened like a bright burst of sunlight and Mike created it all by himself. I simply witnessed it. I thought: “How important that artists share their talents with the world!”
Mike set out walking alone, yet he immediately found his audience. Does it matter if it was for one person on a beach or for a crowd of people at a concert hall? It depends.
Because it was for me, and my friend, I felt special, and it touched me.
The magic of that moment still reverberates from me to you as you imagine my experience.
I believe that if you make an effort to express your art, something shifts and you take a brave step into another reality. Perhaps a song on a beach leads to a sold out concert hall? Your effort expands beyond yourself.
Where it will lead, no one knows. The important thing is to try.
• Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com