Darkness

7:39am

I just had to do a double take of the clocks in the house. The clocks have gone forward so although I thought I had been up since 6am it was actually 7am. So we are out of the dead zone, the darkness and into the lighter months of the year. Outside it is a grey nothing, the mini daffodils in the window box add some yellow cheer to the dull. I can hear the birds, they have started to sing for the spring. Yesterday a stared into the eyes of a nervous wren who had paused momentarily on the fence in the backyard and glanced into the kitchen window where I was standing at the sink washing dishes.

The heating is on. Lines of socks and clothes are drying on the radiator. When the weather is warm enough  I will be able to peg out the laundry, then at least some of the damp in the house will subside.

Last night we turned off all the lights, and heating in the house to celebrate Earth Hour . It was pleasing to manage longer than the mandatory one hour. We ate and read by candle light. Naoise carved bars of soap with a kitchen knife until each bar crumbled and fell apart. He then put the rubble soap into a plastic bowl added water and mixed the soap into a batter.

I went to bed early with Naoise spurred on by disagreements and misunderstandings with Patrick. It was a shame as there was a beauty and romance in the darkness that befell the house. I read to Naoise by torchlight. We read two books by Tomi Ungerer, The Beast of Monseuir Racine and The Three Robbers. He is such a brilliant and subversive illustrator. We picked out details from the pictures that we had not noticed previously and spotlighted each with the beam of the torch. Naoise was so so tired, I put my arm around his little body and we both fell asleep together.

At long last I have completed the Rebecca Solnit book A field guide to getting lost, I lost the book for a month which slowed the reading of it. I found it safe, tucked inside my computer bag. I’m always doing this, I am far too good at taking care of things I love. One of the last chapters in the book entitled Blue of the Distance, drew upon the work of Yves Klein to weave together inner thoughts and observations on being lost and getting lost and disappearance.

This was a very helpful chapter to me. I am still mulling over the performance that I intend to carry out where I dip my hair in milk and mop the kitchen floor. This performance idea has been inspired by the performance called Loving Care by Janine Antoni. Loving Care pays homage to Yves Klein and his performances where the naked bodies of women were used as paint brushes. I will become a paintbrush, a mop, a cloth. The milk is to be used as a metaphor of loss. I love the phrase don’t cry over spilt milk. It is easy not to cry over spilling cows milk. If I had ever spilt human breast milk, then I might certainly have cried. Milk as tears. Tears as milk. I shouldn’t think or write about this action any more. If you try to hold and pin an idea down it has no freedom, it is stuck, it cannot move. Art is unpredictable, uncertain, undecided, fluid, open to interpretation. I don’t want to prescribe meaning onto a work that does not even exist yet. So shhhhhhhhh be quiet don’t tell, say no more.

I was going to write about darkness, not milk. In the candle light I remembered the darkness of my parents house on the North Coast of Scotland. I remembered the night of the panic attack, when I woke up screaming and stumbling around in my dads shirts hanging on the wardrobe rail. I was stumbling and thrashing about trying to find a way out of the room, a way into the light. I thought I had died. Is death dark? It cannot be dark, it can only be a nothing, a not feeling, an end. Darkness is a feeling, an experience a physical presence. Darkness is to be alive. Darkness is home. Yves Klein made a Leap into the Void in 1960. I made a leap into the void, the unknown of motherhood in 2001. I am still trying to find my feet, I still feel lost within it. I was drawn to this passage from The Field Guide to Getting Lost, because it speaks of darkness, of  film, of dreaming and of running. I love the idea that as I run I am levitating, flying, lifting momentarily above the ground. When I run I am free, unburdened, simply moving on and forward. I am my own movie.

Movies are made out of darkness as well as light; it is the surpassingly brief intervals of darkness between each luminous still image that make it possible to assemble the many images into one moving picture. Without the darkness, there would only be a blur. Which is to day that a full-length movie consists of half and hour or an hour of pure darkness that goes unseen. If you could add up all the darkness, you would find the audience in the theatre gazing together at a deep imaginative night It is the terra incognito of film, the dark continent on very map. In a similar way, a runners every step is a leap, so that for a moment he or she is entirely off the ground. For those brief instants, shadows no longer spill out from their feet, like leaks, but hover below then like doubles, as they do with birds, whose shadows crawl below them, caressing the surface of the earth, growing and shrinking as their makers move nearer or farther from that surface, for my friends who run long distances, these tiny fragments of levitation add up to something considerable; many minutes, perhaps some significant portion of an hour or perhaps far more for the hundred-mile races. We fly; we dream in darkness; we devour heaven in bites too small to be measured.

Page 175-176, The Blue of the Distance, A  Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit, Canongate, 2006

I don’t know where I am going with this. Its been two days in the bedroom. I am the queen of the duvet. I guess I am cashing my time back in from caring for others. I am pale and washed out and I think I should stay home for one more day. Replenish the body.

Each period, each shedding and bleeding, fills days with darkness.  Pain and waiting and darkness.  When there are no more eggs , no more womb linings to shed, I will be officially old, menopausal. I see my skin ageing, wrinkles and furrows and varicose veins make marks. You cannot stop time. I am fading. The fading has begun.

I’ve seen Yves Klein’s work in Paris, at the Pompidou centre. I remember staring into the blue of his meteor paintings and sponge sculptures. I think of Paris. I think of this romantic city and the men that I have loved. I think about the time I spent with Syd’s dad in Paris, how patient I had to be as he wanted to share the time in the city with his other friends, whereas I would have preferred to have been alone together as a couple. We probably always were at odds with each other, and each others needs and desires. The blue of Klein reminded me also of the holiday to Morocco that was just us two alone. During our time there we travelled on a bus to Marrakech we drove though the Atlas Mountains,we saw blue and burnt sienna and on the back of the bus a snake charmer with a cobra curled quiet in a woven basket. We gazed through the windows at men sipping mint tea on white plastic chairs outside cafes, and we both caught sight of a beautiful girl around the age of four holding a big red balloon. She caught our eyes and we smiled at each other and back at her.

 

 

 

 

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