I set up a makeshift studio in the large attic of my old
I set up a makeshift studio in the large attic of my old family home. Sheltering here after a stormy time in my life. Happy to be back on the river, which, throughout my childhood, was my life-line to the sea. The attic was high up, with a crouched-woman-size down-to-the-floorboards window. This window overlooked the River Dart, and its confluence with The Wash, a smaller river, where the brown trout weave shadows into sunlight beneath an old stone bridge. After school, my brother would feed them, and come Summer, when they were large, he would catch them with a rod and line, or tickle them out onto the bank. He stopped taking me – my screaming only subsiding when the fish was released back into the wild.
Back in the attic, to when I was making work with salt tears, my lover used to phone me first thing and after that “Hello”, he would say: “The tide’s out isn’t it.” “How do you know?” I would answer. “I can hear the tide in your voice” he would say. Other days he would tell me the tide is in. “When the tide is high, your voice! – it’s all excitement!”.
Now, a few years have flowed by, and I have slipped downstream to be nearer the sea, and I swim in it almost daily. But here, the wading birds of low tide no longer cry plaintively, achingly with longing, but with the revelatory expansive joy – of home. And I notice, I notice… that the voice of the beloved sea calling becomes ever more insistent. So, I make my work here at its edge – our edge. I make my work in it, under it. It’s all I can do. And when I have forgotten to look at the tide tables, I find the moment I arrive at the furthest point out to sea… that is the very moment the tide has decided to turn, to come in. You hear it first in it’s voice – all excitement. A small tidal poem (excerpt): I can’t seem to get as close as I’d like; It’s the water’s bluff. Even with my head under, The scrims are untraceable.
And then that insistent subsiding across the floor the sound of leaving. …
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