Some experiences are so enjoyable that we are tempted to try recreating them at a later date. However, life has taught me that any attempt to do so will lead to an unsatisfactory result.
I first noticed this phenomenon as a child. There were times when all of the kids on the block would get together for a sandlot baseball game, a pick-up football game, a snowball fight, hockey in the park on a big frozen puddle… times when everything would come together to create a magical experience. Later, in an effort to recapture the magic, we would gather the same people in the same place at the same time of day and everything would be EXACTLY the same and …. pffft. Nothing, it was just not the same.
My realization was confirmed as the years passed. You can never recapture the wonder and beauty of a sublime experience. What you can do is recognize the magic when it occurs, try to make it last as long as possible, and treasure it as the miracle it is.
When I am in the midst of the adult equivalent of the perfect sandlot baseball game, I try not to hurry through it. I know it is something to be savored, so I do what I can to make it last as long as possible.
When this happens, I am always “A Little Late Getting Home”.
To express these thoughts I painted a scene with a hot air balloon aloft at dusk. Most hot air balloons are set up for daylight-only operation and it is unusual to see one airborne after dark. In this painting the sun is setting and night is rapidly approaching but my balloonist is in no hurry to return to earth. Instead, he fires his burner to slow his descent and maybe even ascend once more. He savors the moment when the sun slips away and releases the sky to the waiting stars, hinting at another universal truth… Even though you can’t recreate a perfect experience, there will be other, different, wonderful experiences in the future.
A careful viewer will note a sprinkling of early evening stars and a very faint jet contrail crossing the sky, hinting at our restless nature and our ingrained urge to move from where we are… to whatever comes next.
Painting and text © 2016 James Golaszewski