Negative Solutions

Every so often, Mr S commandeers my car. It’s not a bad thing, he dumps me at work first and then I’m left with a walk home. It’s a walk I enjoy. It’s downhill all the way and more often than not, on the days it happens I’m usually rolling something around my head and by the time I get home, I’ve processed things in a satisfactory way.

Today my head is chock-a-block full of words and chunks of passages jostling for order but refusing to line up in a way that pleases me… The last leg of the write up for the D. O. has not even been limping along… It’s been one foot nailed to the floor circling and wearing a groove into the ground. Maybe a walk will kick it into shape?

I begin my walk home and I’m more interested in the things I see in my peripheral vision… the unmistakable orange of Chinese Laterns that reminds me of practically every front garden I can recall from the 1970’s… The reds and purples of dangling fuchsias… Raunchy little fairies jigging in the breeze… A man carrying a power drill crossing my path, I feel a flutter under my right ankle bone and momentarily visualise churned up gore and mangled flesh. The image quickly vanishes as I see the tool is not plugged in… Though an extension lead has been left stretched across the slabs. I tell myself to stop daydreaming before I take an accidental trip…

A far off voice enters my head… Look at the clouds! I look, they are big and fat and fluffy… I hear the voice again… The answer is up there, for scrying out loud! I look and look then look some more but nothing resonates… I inwardly laugh at myself that I’m too air head today… Thoughts blowing away faster than the clouds… Ouch! Wtf? My left foot goes into painful cramp… I shake it out, the spasm refuses to budge… I hobble along thinking that if I keep moving, it will free itself… Nope… The grip tightens, I limp down the steepest part of my walk home and decide to go sit in the park…

I find a bench and try to remember what the word is for divination by clouds… Nepholomancer?? Dunno… Could be? Maybe something like that… I dunno… Some kind of mancy… NEPHELOMANCY! I turn my face skywards… The clouds mock me. There are no answers in those shapes…

I decide that two can play at that game so if they’re not going to speak to me then I’ll not speak to them… I reposition myself, turning to the left, maybe the answer is up in the branches… Oh FFS! What kind of cosmic joke is this? Seriously? I can’t see the wood for the trees? My left foot spasms again, spiking me with pain. I stretch it, flex it… Every motion seems to annoy my foot further… To distract myself, I pull out my phone and take a photo. It’s not a good photo… Today is Monday and I’m beginning to see why Mondays get such bad press. I go to delete the photo then suddenly pause and stop… There’s my answer!

I vividly see a shape come to life… Not in the trees, not in the clouds as such but in the gaps… The negative space. I find myself staring into the face of a fawn… Negative space… Careful placement of gaps… The solution is not about adding or sequencing… It’s about removing…the taking away… Choosing the things to leave unsaid… To make my finished piece like a spindly legged fawn… Something that might look as though it can’t walk but then suddenly sprints… The pain vanishes from my foot and I amble off home smiling… Less is more… Less is more… Less is more…

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