Earlier in the year I had a very lovely email from someone I’ve connected with on Twitter:
“..Your work really resonates with a group that I am working with currently. We are keen to make some performative work. We have been thinking of producing some work held in a public space that perhaps will subvert or agitate some feelings or responses. Perhaps something to do with flows of things: time, tides, sea, erosion, water, rivers etc.
We are a group of six BAHons Fine Art students from UCA, Farnham. We are in our second year. We would be looking at trying to create something by April… ” Rups Cregeen
A series of emails followed that disappeared down spurious rabbit holes, but what resulted (mostly due to deadlines and Rups energy) was a fantastically cold overcast morning splashing around in the sea, and this:
It was a morning that shook me from my hibernation and of being closeted up ‘waiting to get better’. We laughed a lot and got cold and wet, some more than others. I tried to harness as much of the energy from Rups and the group, her dog, her daughter, and the sea, and it kept me going for a little while.
We all really liked the reflections too, the unexpected and the surprises, not all were caught on camera.
Logging in today and I am surprised how much time it has been. I last wrote on the Winter Solstice. This week heralded the Summer Solstice. Half a year has passed. Six months of intermittent visits to the sea, of gradual improvement in fitness and health, so slight it is barely noticeable. This blog has loosely been mapping and tracing a recovery of my health, threaded with connection to the sea. I have been conscious of this blog, waiting. I’ve had thoughts of posting a picture or some words, but they have not seemed substantial or pressing enough. And yet it has snuck up behind me, my recovery. I am doing more things that I want to – that glorious luxury of choice. I can walk to the sea without questioning if I can, or what it will cost. This is worthy of a celebratory post if nothing else. And on Sunday I have the rare and great privilege to talk with Helen Scales – marine biologist, writer, diver, ocean storyteller – at Wealden Literary Festival. In preparation I have been re reading Eye of the Shoal and remembering what it is like to dive, to be held in and by water, the awesome power of the ocean and the wonders that it holds. It is a fine parallel of the surreal world I am currently inhabiting, with one foot in wellness (and the outside world) and one foot out.
Winter solstice. The shortest day of the year. From here on in days begin to stretch again, light returns. Without the dark there is no light, they say. It was an unremarkable day otherwise, not especially cold or calm, not especially bright or gusty.
A couple of weeks later, another transition, new year. A full moon, a wolf moon. There will be two in January, a wolf moon and a blue one. It’s a time where everything feels a little more unhinged, where more things might be possible. Liminal spaces in liminal places.
Waves drag at the shingle then push it back up the beach. Housekeeping, rearranging the shore line. Everything moves and shifts yet (almost) nothing changes.
Lace built of water hangs in the air. Delicate and fleeting. Structures so easily fallen through and captured by. A momentary suspension of salt water in cold air, patterns of foam, shapes left in sand after the water has gone. Bubbles burst and fall. Spectacular droplets catch the light and dance, then return to the mass and force of the ocean, the moment is gone.