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Fiona Wright

The questions we have
February 2021


We have been talking around an event that disappears even while it has yet to take place. The questions we have are drifting across the months, like curls of smoke in the light. The lists of limitations imposed by circumstances are increasing. The restraints are becoming haiku-like, restrictive and yet instructive.

House-building. Tea-making. Resting. Weathering. Deliberately giving it away. A complete stranger. A trusted stand-in.

Holding the intention as the practice itself.

Making peace with how we got here.

Making peace with all of this living on in our imagination.

How did we get here?

Are we alright here?

Can it be done?

And can it be done alone?

Or could it be done by someone else instead?

There is a certain strength in a thing seen from a distance. Perhaps, viewed like this, things can more easily take their place in relation to the wider picture. If the focus can soften, then something can emerge from the texture, unexpectedly, more like shapes of light on the surface of a body of water.

Across an imaginary town square is one way we seem to imagine coming across it. We fall into speaking retrospectively about the event, as if it has already happened before and somehow we know how it goes. It’s a transmission, a score, an assemblage.

We speak about something that is almost like what people mean when they talk about the feeling of being comfortable in your own skin. What would it mean to just feel alright?

Whats the point of memory?

There’s no-one there now, everybody’s gone. Apple trees become important in the memories. We talk about people who come from lives often lived close to the land, or what is called the rural. And we see that those lives usually come to be lived within what is named the suburban, or inner city.

And in our own imaginary back garden we would dearly wish to see those same apple trees. And we would wish to stand on the doorstep, to wander outside without thinking twice, to hang laundry without listening for who might be looking. Imagine time spent without looking out for who might be looking askance, even now, even here, or sitting quietly on a park bench, or offering a helping hand to a stranger in the street, or eating at a train station, or waiting in an airport.

What is this desire for being okay? Before we die we’ll need something better than a wish list.

We like to be safe in our houses, but it seems as if things that are out in the elements and weather-dependent are truly where we long to be.

We suppose we think about death everyday.

Being ready for anyone’s death. In no particular order, they say. Like the arrival of an audience. In no particular order.

How to speak to them? Maybe conversation is not the point here. More about presence and taking space and time and, yes, to just feel alright. Needing to become okay enough to be okay anywhere. Something about grounding or earthing, and the necessary amount of gravity to feel steady.

Putting it all together and taking it all apart. The endeavour, the task of it. Standing back to take it all in, to get an overview. And to see the devil in the detail. Time to look at things indirectly, just to the side as it were, somewhat obliquely. Something like askance, but without the suspicion. Peripheral vision seems to have less colour, possibly because nearer the edges there’s more need to be ready to sense movement out of the corner of the eye.