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182 TO THE LIGHTHOUSEbut exciting ecstasy in the air. Where to begin?—that was the question; at what point to make thefirst mark? One line placed on the canvas com-mitted her to innumerable risks, to frequent andirrevocable decisions. All that in idea seemedsimple became in practice immediately complex; asthe waves shape themselves symmetrically from thecliff top, but to the swimmer among them are dividedby steep gulfs, and foaming crests. Still the riskmust be run; the mark made.

With a curious physical sensation, as if she wereurged forward and at the same time must hold her-self back, she made her first quick decisive stroke.The brush descended. It flickered brown over thewhite canvas; it left a running mark. A second timeshe did it—a third time. And so pausing and soflickering, she attained a dancing rhythmical move-ment, as if the pauses were one part of the rhythmand the strokes another, and all were related; andso, lightly and swiftly pausing, striking, she scoredher canvas with brown running nervous lines whichhad no sooner settled there than they enclosed (shefelt it looming out at her) a space. Down in thehollow of one wave she saw the next wave toweringhigher and higher above her. For what could bemore formidable than that space? Here she wasagain, she thought, stepping back to look at it, drawnout of gossip, out of living, out of community withpeople into the presence of this formidable ancientenemy of hers—this other thing, this truth, thisreality, which suddenly laid hands on her, emergedstark at the back of appearances and commandedher attention. She was half unwilling, half reluctant.