I lived in Aberdeen for 4 years and moved to Stirling in 2013. For very many reasons (mostly personal, of course, that I do not wish to explore here) it was a ‘big move’. I have lived abroad for a few years having to move between countries. But this was a significant one. Soon after, as I was walking around the loch at the rather beautiful Stirling University campus I made this image.
It was made on a Samsung mobile phone. There is nothing technically exceptional about it; but to me the way the path curved into oblivion (at least from where I was standing) and the shadows of the trees were interesting and ‘spoke to me’, as it were. Since then, I have found paths intriguing. To me (and am sure to many others), it works as a fabulous metaphor.
I recently began reading Neil Gaiman’s collection of short stories called Fragile Things. I like Gaiman’s work–the way he creates alternative understandings of reality and how he questions the imaginary and the reality in very unique ways; they blend and yet they contrast. However, what fascinated me the most was the Introduction chapter of this book. At one point, he says: “The peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how tough they truly are… Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkably difficult to kill” (Gaiman, 2006: xxx).
Paths that we take, the choice we make (or sometimes forced to make- then it is not a choice, is it?) are inherently fragile and here I am not referring to the ‘path not taken’. We do not always know where we will end up but also because there is a need for certain trust or openness with which we choose that path. We, to some extent, need to ‘let go’ of ourselves in order for us to work through the path. Yet, we are all, after all, embodied beings. How much of what do we ‘let go’ then? Does that render us fragile? This made me wonder, how do we understand fragility?
Is it vulnerability? Is it loneliness?
Does the ability to transform one’s form render them fragile?
Or is it the perceived lack of clarity that makes things appear a tangled ‘mess’?
Can this ‘messiness’ be seen as an invite for further exploration?
Would that transform the way fragility of things are understood? So… what is fragility?