In this painting, the boat flows out of the dark, solid, earthy mass of rock. The water actually flows backwards in this painting... back to the source in the darkness.
On board, is a baby. At the rudder, the large white figure is an angel. Golden angels are emerging from the water and taking form on the sides of the boat. At the helm is a golden angel holding an hour glass.
There is greenery and flowers on the banks. The plants are small and bright. The light is bright and diffuse.
Golden angels playfully cling to the boat with their heads turned towards the future. The landscape has matured and the light is bright.
On the boat, most of the golden angels have fallen off. Two still cling to the side, but may not be able to hold on much longer. The vegetation is dry, brittle, twisted, and gnarled.
My mother, Marian Forma, willingly stood next to Thomas Cole’s painting even though she would not consider mid-60’s “old age.”
Here, the man on the broken down vessel is being guided home to the light by the angel. In the light are a multitude of holy beings beckoning and welcoming. The man’s arms are open in a position of giving and receiving, no longer fearful.
The boat, with rudder missing in “manhood,” has now lost the angel with the hourglass that was on the helm. The only golden angel still clinging to the side of the boat is now turned inward and literally hugging in with one broken wing remaining on its body.
In the darkness that surrounds the boat, there are still recognizable earthly forms, but they are not important.