Sometimes phrases or sentences ring round your head for a long season, with meaning beyond that apparently contained in them.
A few years ago, the line ‘I spent that summer in the pursuit of an idea’ was like a flickering compass needle, impelling me to a way of thinking, acting and being. The line itself was from Agnès Varda’s Ulysse, and the method of Varda is exemplary. An idea may be present in the flicker of an image in a photo, or a memory, or an object, or an event, and Varda’s pursuit is neither gentle nor assured exactly, but a mixture of both; she is sure in her method, allowing each moment or object its proper place, neither forcing it nor holding it too loosely. Her simple brief descriptions of experiences and encounters show an easy ability to navigate the realm of feeling. It is as if she is holding in her hands, in her mind, a rare, delicate living thing, and treats it with deep care and interest. It is the tone of an expert, long practised at what she is doing.