Acrylic, 28" x 24", June, 2005.
This is inspired by trip to Jellyfish Lake in Micronesia near Palau; some of my fellow divers took an underwater photo of me in this very pose. I put this scene into my novel Mathematicians in Love, where the big jellyfish just under the diver is a kind of god. Here’s a passage describing this scene:
“I swam out into the lake. Trees shaded the edges; the gentlest of breezes riffled the surface. The sun’s rays were angling down the ridge into the greenish-yellow, algae-rich water, warming it to nearly the temperature of a bath. And all around me pulsed the jellyfish, millions of them.
“Each jellyfish was a little dome, with four short, dangling arms beneath it like the legs of a table. The domed bells were pulsing in waves that moved out from the center, bounced off the rim and returned to the center, there to begin a new cycle. This meant that the smaller jellyfish were pulsing faster: less distance from center to rim.
“I dove down to about twenty feet, looking for the big one. My visual field held only sunlit yellow-green water and jellyfish, everywhere and at every angle. It was hard to tell which way was up.
“Just then I felt a cold flow of water against our feet, an upwelling as something huge moved towards the surface. Without even slowing down, the giant jellyfish moved into our location, engulfing me. Each of her gestures was ideally formed and laden with meaning; each gesture was a novel, a theorem, a cosmic work of art.”