Wednesday, June 27, 2007

27th June 2007

I was at a meeting today, about THE CROSSING.

This is a project that has been rumbling on for years, loosely inspired by the oldest representation of the female form in Scotland - in the Royal Scottish museum, where we met.

The theory is that she guarded the crossing at Ballachulish: that travellers made an offering and a prayer to her before embarking on its fierce currents.

Then when the Christians came, she was wrapped in wicker and buried in a peat bog to preserve Her.

So she would not be forgotten.

The prokect began as a dance/text collabioration between Claire Pencak and me - Claire is the artistic director of Tabula Rasa Dance Company - which we thought of in a residence in Cove Park in 2005. It was in June: and at the end of that week I discovered Susie had suffered her first stroke.

That was the beginning of her Crossing.

I'd also thought at the time it was the beginning of mine.

The piece is about the meory of the body: and the memory of the earth.

Peat stands as an image for both.

Recently Claire went to a dementia study centre in Stirling where they use 'Memory Boxes' to help people suffering with dementia remember who they are.

Memory seems to function a bit like a peat stack: layer on layer.

Dementia sufferers lose the upper layers - the most recent memories - and retain much earlier ones.

And perhaps our meory forms part of our identity, that means they also regress into childhood.

The Boxes are set up to help them remeber.

I spent the evening clearing out the cupboard under the stairs: a hateful task.

Because it takes me back to past lives, to past selves.

There was Susie's walking stick, that she bought after her stroke.

There was the sun umbrella that she always insiosted on keeping, year after year, much to my irritation: rather than buy a new one.

I felt strangely reluctant to bin it - until my daughter reminded me of how I always longed to bin them when Susie was alive.

i didn't expect her photo to be at the head of this entry: but there it is, dear love.

No wonder its so hard to let go of this past.


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