Hand Print at Font de Gaume
HAND PRINT AT FONT DE GAUME A hand outlined on a wall, the first halo in recorded history, not surrounding a pale transfigured upturned face, but an opened palm, the edges blurring into the ancient painted colouration of hoofs and animals running amidst the living stone, the way our own hands held against the light trying to see, tell us something of the one looking out through outstretched fingers. Someone slightly surprised by the outline of their own extended miracle nature, by the way they can be an astonishing something, silhouetted against what easily could have been a neutral nothing. The way you can come to a tiny glimmer of understanding in that flickering, underground light, and in that primary way of seeing: the first dawn of some extraordinary understanding, of other worlds beyond your own hand, looking back at you, reaching out to touch you and find you and even confirm you in your self-finding and your self-understanding, in your stepping back to look, as they must have done, so long ago, seeing in the dim lamp light something that until this moment had been completely hidden, the blurred distinction between where the world seems to end and where you begin to live, and through that the only life worth living or painting against any background, the one where you took the risk of living fully to those edges. The hand outlined on the wall our first shy conversation with creation, the russet bison crowding below as if to look, and all of our world gathered round us, as we gather now, crouched in the cave and half dark of our present lives, looking at that paint blown around a youthful outstretched hand, so many tens of thousands of years ago. The first outline that made you clear, that brought you and then us, to birth, out of the surrounding, seemingly immobile now living, breathing rock.
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