Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Carrying My Own Bags.

I have decided to pack very light for this trip. Just one little bag that I will carry myself.

Tim and I have two very different ways to do things. Packing is one of them. First time we went camping I arrived with a small backpack and sleeping gear. Everything I needed was in it. Simple, thought out and light. He arrived with a truck that was packed with everything for every contingency ncluding a broom and a dust pan. We looked at one another so shocked.

"Where is your stuff"

"All here!"

It took me awhile to realize I had grown up in a large family and he only had one brother. We were only allowed one small bag. His family was small and when they went away it was for the whole summer in a fully loaded truck.

I have to admit to finding it a luxury sometimes to find a library of books and music in the van, comfortable chairs, 10 changes of socks, a choice of wine etc. He wants to pack the van the night before and has lists and lists all over the place. There are usually 10 chores to do before we leave that never feel urgent to me.

He likes to get an early start and blast down the highway. I think dawn is a time people just imagine and like to wake up at a decent hour like 7 or 8 when we are travelling. He has serious purpose. He has maps and charts and always picks up a caseload of fliers at the information kiosks. I meander. I like looking around and experiencing things I didn't plan for or expect. I like taking the time to surprise myself. Schedules are only good for me if I have to catch a train or a plane. I haven't missed one yet.

But I like the journey and he likes the destination.

I was raised to be self reliant, to improvise, to be flexible depending on the location. I can make fire pits, shelters, and identify wild food. Challenge is exciting. Rest is important. I keep things safe.

He was too I think. He can do anything with his hands. He is a bodger and can make things out of nothing. He has capacity with things like sail boats and mechanics. He loves building things.

We once went on a holiday to a little island that only had one road. It was cliffy on one side and dropped sharply to the ocean on the other. He was driving with a map in one hand. We got into a terrible fight when I asked him to put the map away that the road was very well signed. He said it would be easier if I would navigate. I agreed. I opened the window, took the map and let it fly out the window. The island had only one road and it was very well signed. He was horrified. I was victorious. We got there because the road was very well signed.

I went with him to England where his people live. Everywhere we visited a family member would draw us a map to show us our way. Accurate and well drawn maps. And they all compulsively watch the weather channel.

He came with me to where my people come from and he asked directions from my Uncle. My Uncle replied in a way I completely understood. "You turn left where the big blue house used to be. You turn right when you get to the Meyer's land. Sorry but they sold it. Well you'll know you're there by the lame ass dog that sits on the stoop." I understood immediately.

We were expected to find our way home when we were little, to rely on memory and all of our senses. We knew if it was going to rain or snow by the taste in the air. Primitive knowledge. Like dogs who sniff the pee on a pole. I heard Wade Davis, the anthropologist, talk about the ancient Polynesian navigators who were put in the boat hulls as little babies to listen to the slap of the currents, to feel the temperature and smell the air.

So every time he gets panicky in the truck and asks me to tell him where to go I say..."You know where that blue house used to be..." He did the same thing to me when I got panicky in the Paris Underground. I couldn't figure out where we were at all. Thankfully he had his trusty map or I'd still be down there.

Tim can do celestial navigation, he can draw detailed maps but he gets lost all the time. I have only been lost twice. Both times I was reading a map.

So I packed the bags for this holiday. One each. And there is some nice wine and Baileys in there.
And a change of socks or two. And a book and two maps.

Funny thing is after all this time I now pack more than I can carry and he is starting to meander.

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