An exercise is suggested, two love letters (there is more time for the first, perhaps about ten minutes). The first to a place, the second to an action.
The place. The only place. A valley. A valley in chalk. A valley topped and sided by trees; a bowl like valley with exits and entrances up and over. The only low gap being a field that leads to more fields. A tin shed house, green. A hedged garden. A world of its own. Apple trees even cojoined apple trees. Lilac. Cherries, both ornamental. An adhoc shed of old doors and windows and wooden panels. A bucket toilet – with a view. Two gardens, one each side of the house; one his one hers. Two swinging gates divide: clunk thunk thunker thunk. Oh smells so many smells, from paraffin to sweet peas – even the two together, the larder, the wood fire. Sounds of insects’ feet – ok maybe spiders’, on the board walls, the crisp yet deep sound if I drew my fingers across the walls. Rain on the roves. Blackbirds and cock crows deep in the early morning; woodpeckers and deer. The click of the door on it’s ball closer, the clack of a latched dor, foots steps. The sound of the clock – sometimes clocks, tic toc chime. The voices – the voices left in the parrot after the breathing lungs have ceased to be.
The sense of belonging, of acceptance, being comfortable. Body relaxed, my body relaxed, my self accepted.
Oh early morning chaffinch in the big cherry tree, coming in with the light flickering through leaves and cotton net curtains, as I hang half in sleep on a high princess and the pea affair. The hint of apple, from yearly storage. Dark corners in the room, boxes of photographs, mysterious never unravelled. Never can be unravelled. I live now knowing so much remains unknown. Now it is only through conversations, through words and another’s memories that I can glean new information from inside fence and hedge, inside the valley, the square mile (y sgwar) of place. Sound, smell, touch it all bundles around, memories clear and vague; whispers that will not be held, that cannot be chased.
So I look back and ponder and try to think of this all, maybe to unravel or understand. Was it always about loss, at least from the age of nine? Before that it just always was there, then it was rationed – a week a year? Loss of childhood? Was it, is it fantasy? It is full and deep and real in me – the feelings, the memories, the sensations – all of it of course now memory.
A place no longer, you do not exist. Except for the cherry tree over 70 years old.
- - - - -
Your hands. I could pick so many actions of your hands. Scampering across the keyboard, relaxed doing nothing, soft on your lap; of course cooking: deftly chopping, stirring, clearing, cleaning, serving. Hands so adept, so full of precision. But of course mostly, I remember the feeling – the physical and emotional feeling of your hand on my face as we slowly moved between two display cases at the Arnolfini. And wondering when on earth someone had last touched me like that….
And I think of the letter that I have just written to a place and wish you could have stood there, within that garden, and have touched my face like that; in that place. I want you to know me and still touch me like that. To be known and loved and accepted.