Moments of clarity, harmony, spirituality, balance, insight – call them what you will – come rarely in life. Mostly, to attain such an experience requires meditation and quiet, and some forethought to create the perfect conditions. In my studio I have to work at shedding mental detritus and life’s problems, small and large, to attain the empty moment and then the focus to paint or draw. I can also clear my mind walking, or gardening. Gardens with birdsong, perfumes, wind, weather, light and colour generally provide me with inspiration so I guess it was no surprise that I had a moment of epiphany in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. Every stone in Jerusalem seems burdened with the weight of history and is claimed contentiously by competing religious groups, with surmise based on possible historical inaccuracies as to whether or not it was or wasn’t “the” place touched, walked upon or visited by whichever holy deity the particular religion worships. It is hot and dusty and crowded and tense visiting the holy sites, and each one is filled with pilgrims in various stages of trance and worship, but I found them fascinating historically, not spiritually. I had not expected or thought about or planned the moment when I looked at the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, each one tested and proven to be several centuries old, and possibly the oldest olive trees in the world. Suddenly, despite the crowds and the heat, when I looked at these trees in the spring light with the colour of spring flowers adding brilliance, there was a moment of silence and connection with an ancient past. They had endured the millennia, repeating life cycles, and were simply and monumentally pure and beautiful. My “moment” had nothing to do with any specific religion, and each time I look at the photo, or close my eyes and focus, I am taken back to that quiet place.