[Poetry] Moment in Landscape no. 3 — Georgina Watson

My feet tucked     
away from the water     
I sit, taking a moment to contemplate this place

But I do not sit alone,
I hold a photograph of the same stepping stone 
On which I now sit, from the 2nd of April 2002.

With a firm and nervous grasp, I hold my Mother’s hand.
She carries my brother on her back while her other hand delicately clasps around my
sister’s.
While my sister guides my Mother across from the stone I sit on to the next,
I lean on them both
Needing their support in this moment.

For I am unsure
For I am nervous 
For I am far from shore

The memories I attribute to this place are slippery like the water beneath my feet.
They move away from and around me, 
Making some parts certain and others far from it.

A memory drifts past me,
I cannot place the year or specific circumstance.
All I know
It sits somewhere between this photograph and now.

About a mile down the track before reaching the stones
“Are we nearly there yet?”
“How long until the stepping stones?”
“Can I go across first?”

Then, I was sure I would enjoy the act of crossing,
No thoughts of slipping or falling in,
Knowing I had done it before so I could do it again.

But you see, today, I do not feel that same excitement and certainty.
Instead, I feel unsure. 
Just like in the photograph.

The moss and lichen have reclaimed the stones
Creeping up from the sides
To reside on the top
Taking advantage of the recently reduced footfall
Laying claim to their home

Just like the moss and lichen      
The unsureness has reclaimed me,
Pushing away my previous certainty.

So while we sit 19 years apart,
I feel,
More like the version of myself from the photograph now,
Than I ever have done.

Vulnerable, I sit
Smaller than the lichen and moss atop the stones,
Which have become the details that hold me in place.
Opening up crevices,
I could not crawl into before.

In this moment,
Looking at the photograph,
I am in the same position now as I was then.
I can begin to learn about this place again.

Time for me to finish crossing,
To move from this stone to the next.

But as I cross, I let the unsureness continue to grow,
To morph.

Together the moss, lichen and unsureness hold me up,
I rest in their arms,
Making my way from one stone to the next.
They become my Mother’s hand,
But this time my unsureness remains 
A part I shall continue to grasp.

*

Georgina Watson is an artist, writer and performer currently based between London and Buxton, Derbyshire. Working across a variety of mediums including text, spoken word and moving image, she explores her relationship with the rural landscape she grew up next to, while critically questioning our general engagement with those spaces. Georgina is currently studying for an MA in Contemporary Art Practice: Public Sphere at the Royal College of Art, London, she has previously shared and has new forthcoming spoken word on Montez Press Radio as part of 302_Redirect and Everything Forever respectively, and was nominated for best spoken word for her performance A Moment of Rural Walking at the Buxton Festival Fringe in 2019. Instagram: @georgina.watson

Published in partnership with Everything Forever, organised by Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art.