I’ve been thinking recently about the spaces between states, or objects. The spaces between spaces, if you like. That pause between the phone ringing and hearing the bad news; that interval between certainty and incomprehension. We thought we knew something; now we don’t. We have something; then it’s lost. And in between, what? Blissful ignorance? This is a space filled with unknowing. Fear, uncertainty, confusion inhabit this middle ground, along with what now? And it’s this space before ‘what now?’ arrives that I want to investigate, because there is creativity in these gaps.
There’s a cessation of activity, a pause in which things take root and grow. I wrote about buddleia, that stubborn, pervasive survivor of building sites, I wrote about the Chinese cockle pickers caught between the tides on the lost sands of Morecambe Bay, I wrote about the wait for a new political morality, about a lost child being found after the Boxing Day Tsunami and finally I realised that I’m more interested in seeing what’s cooking than eating the finished dish.
We’re in a gap right now, the gap between today and the day after the election results. Coping with uncertainty isn’t easy. Here in Market Drayton, the food banks are running out of supplies. I am about to take a contribution to them and I’m thinking How much longer can this go on? Marie Antoinette said, when there was no bread ‘Let them eat cake’. Then the revolution really got going.
Leaving the EU – here’s another gap, a space full of uncertainty and doubt. The creativity that drives groups – mainly charities- to look back into their own resources and invent new ways of dealing with the world is working hard to plug the gaps, not always legally. But the people who are stuck at the bottom of the pile, when their benefits are cut, when they are out of work, when they become a single parent, or sick, or desperate, or homeless, live in another space between one hand out and the next, sometimes one mouthful and the next.
Turning on the shower
there’s a gap,
filled with an icy flow,
before the arrival of hot water.
She stands and shivers.
Anything could happen.
Opening the letter, there’s a gap.
A thousand possibilities-
love, hate, an accident.
Heart and entrails know;
her eyes read what’s concealed.
She holds her breath, waiting for hot water.
Anything could happen.