Vanishing Point

Hobbema middelharnis

Whiptail trees, spindly, gnarled, stripped,

Leading me on and on to a vanishing point –

A simple, placeless place beyond the place where I stand,

A place of convergence, concentration, homecoming,

A single-pointed oneness.

I long to set foot on the rutted path

So that I might hasten my arrival there,

Each stride, each exertion bringing my goal closer.

But the trees, who have been here longer than me,

Tell me not to be so foolish:

The vanishing point will always be beyond the next step.

They have their own homecoming simply by standing where they are planted.

We reach that simple point of unity not by striving, but by stillness.


Meindert Hobbema’s The Avenue at Middelharnis of 1689 is in the collection of the National Gallery in London. The image is reproduced from Wikimedia Commons.


4 thoughts on “Vanishing Point

  1. Echoing the thanks, this has a direct perfection which speaks straight to my soul. ‘The vanishing point is always beyond the next step’ – ah yes, and how often we delude ourselves into thinking that our goal will be somehow ‘there’, with all the unhappiness of discovering it is not – the hurrying onwards of RS Thomas.
    How uncomfortable we are with ‘becoming’ or indeed with finding our own homecoming.

  2. Ah yes, but John is after the vanishing point – is that a home coming? I am not so sure. I want that and I do not want it. It is a lot to want.

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