As part of The Basildon Bond Experience exchange with Annabel Pettigrew, and after discovering two cuffs I had saved from Chris’ favourite shirts that I had ripped into tatters and tied to the fence at Black Rock Nature reserve back in 2014 (see Tying the Threads) I wanted to revisit the site of this ritual I performed for over a year – photographing at each full moon to witness the effect of time and tide, decay and decomposition; to provide a linear counterpoint to the cyclical grief process.
I wrote whilst I sat there –
A reminder of the passage of time (six years) since last I was here I had to use google maps to help me navigate to the location. It felt strange to come with Carol, not on my own or with Ulf, Penny or Mollie (my original collaborators).
I started to search for any evidence of the tatters, I like that they are not here anymore, even the top strand of barbed wire is missing between four of the fence posts. I started on the other side of the fence slipping and sliding in the low tide mud and then realised I had come too far down the fence when I returned to the near side, after checking my original pictures on my phone. The memory of mud had pulled me further down, the mud is dried and largely absent further up, have the tidal patterns changed? I take digital and analogue photos – using a polaroid camera. The polaroid images catalyse the absence inherent in the missing wire.
The sun is hot on my back as I write, I am not and also am the woman who did that ritual act. The space created by the missing fence is the space between who I was then, who I am now. It’s good to come back and really feel/see how time has passed – that is why I chose here, so the linearity of time and tide could act upon the tatters. Later when photographing the far side of the fence I find a piece of the barbed wire embedded in the mud containing two tiny fragments of threads. I could have left it but it called “pick me up, take me home, transform me into something else”.
I didn’t sprinkle any cremains at this spot – maybe that could be one more thing to happen here. I look up from my notebook maybe hear first the whooshing, amongst the chirping birds and the slow murmur of traffic crossing the second Severn crossing, before I see the tide. The tide is coming, churning as two bodies of water meet. I sense the power, the pull of the tidal flow, this vast body of water stretching out to the horizon.