Auriolus Art

Poetry and thoughts regarding “Time” I have jotted down along during my wanderings.

 Epilogue: Forty years after I left my cave in N. California, I returned. I wanted to revisit the events that started me on my life’s journey 'round the world and refresh my mind concerning the revelations that sparked my quest for adventure. It was a great experience, and I left more determined than ever to treasure what remains of my days (or moments) on earth.

Photos from the trip: The cave - 40 years later.

My intended profession was International Law. However, after two years of study, I was swept up in the anti-war, peace movement, and dropped out to become a hippie who practiced Zen and did all the proper things hippies did in those days (yes, I inhaled).

I was not at Woodstock as I had dropped so far out I was not aware it was happening until the movie came out. I was living in a cave in Northern California seeking the meaning of life –mine at least. I was very spiritual, or so I thought. Enlightened was the proper term in those days, and for some who are still inhaling, I suppose it still is.

One night (June 17, 1972) I was sitting outside my little cave 100 feet above the crashing waves of the coast near Santa Barbara. It was awe-inspiring. To get to the cave one had to pass through a Eucalyptus forest, which is now the largest Monarch butterfly preserve in North America. Few knew in those days. There were white egrets, deer, mountains, and every imaginable beauty surrounding the site. I had spent the day on the beach meditating, as was my habit. I was unusually uneasy as I stared into the stars that evening. I then received the revelation I had so patiently and perseveringly sought.

In short, I realized while I was staring at Eternity, Eternity was staring back at me. The truth is, I had no clue what Eternity is and realized that night, anyone who says he or she does is lying – either to others or to oneself. On the one hand, I was disappointed, even a bit fearful, but on the other, relieved that I no longer had to “figure it all out.”

Three nights later (June 20, 1972, at approximately 10 PM), I received a second revelation. The second was even clearer than the first and changed my way of looking at life for the next 50 years and counting. It was about “Time.” While I realized I could never truly fathom Eternity, “Time” became very simple to comprehend. The one thing I realized above all else is that it runs out. It is the opposite of Eternity. It is finite. There is only so much of it, and when yours is gone, it is forever gone.

Therefore, I realized the only logical thing to do was to preserve and care for my time to the best of my ability and decided from that moment; I would live my life by moments and treasure each one—extracting from it everything I could. The poet Cesar Pavese put it this way, “We do not remember days, we remember the moments”.

That night I designed two pieces of jewelry, which design I executed many years later—“Eternity” and Time No More.” (See Gallery III)

I left my cave in the next days and ended up a “Wanderer” by profession, seeking to squeeze everything I could from the world in which I lived – which I soon realized was pretty big (or small depending on how you look at it.) I traveled to more than 100 countries, picked up a doctorate along the way, started humanitarian organizations, and passed through five wars and numerous epidemics and natural disasters. I met Mother Teresa in India, where I taught briefly at a University, befriended several Prime Ministers and Presidents, and worked for two of them for a while. I encountered all manner of other fascinating individuals, some famous and others were obscure but no less important to me as I learned life’s greatest lessons from those about which you will never hear.

All the while, I practiced and perfected the art of Jewelry Art and other forms of art, including what you see on this site (Gallery IV). An important subject of my art was, what else, “Time”. As I traveled the world, I picked up odds and ends—antiques mostly, that dealt with the subject and which could be incorporated into my art. I met an old man in Istanbul from whom I sometimes bought antique watch parts. He was well into his 80s and had been repairing antique watches his entire life. He had a little shop lined with hundreds of small drawers where he kept the treasures of time he used to repair old pocket watches. Istanbul, along with Switzerland and France, used to be a renowned city of watchmakers.

One day as I approached my friend and told him I needed a few things, he said, “If you want anything from me, better be today, as I am retiring this week.” Wow—my favorite supplier of “Time” gone? I looked around the shop at all the little drawers; each labeled meticulously. I thought for a moment, and then asked the old man, “How much for all of it?” He looked a bit startled and then with barely a blink gave me a price. I bought them all. Hence, I am the owner of tens of thousands of antique watch parts. With this “paint” in hand together with all the rest, I have collected in nooks and crannies around the world was born, “A Time Gallery”.

I am just now starting to employ my treasure trove in ways other than jewelry and hope you enjoy and perhaps are inspired to treasure your moments as never before.

Douglas Layton

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