Warm Water

I struggled to get off last night. And then when I did the dreams came in luscious detail. I’m getting better at remembering them. They speak to me, certainly. In the one I recall I went off on a walk before a meal I was to have with a group of people. When I left them it was gloomy but when I was out walking it was a clear sunny day. I must have been abroad for the walls that encased the path were whitewashed and glaring in the sun. It was warm. The path took a fork and a woman on a horse was coming towards me from one side, she was bare-back and hatless. We spoke and she asked me the way to somewhere without waiting for my answer, then she laughed and said that she was going to wrong way and took the other turning. I took the other fork and came to a gully that was full of clear water. A man who soon became a woman was squatting by the water, I followed suit. We both touched the water, it was warm and quite shallow. I suddenly noticed that a complex of houses and flats had been built around the water. I spoke to the now woman about what it was like to live there. It was communal but the flats were discreet and private. She was thinking of retiring out there. Then I was watching her performing at an event held at the complex. It was evening and she was on stage with two other colleagues. They were using large cards to cover their faces and singing. The cards were beautifully illustrated with old Punch and Judy imagery and they flowed seamlessly between reality and hyper-reality. I was spellbound and saw the woman in an entirely different light. Such inventiveness. The symbolism speaks to me. There is much there for me to decipher. I write to remember. I hope it doesn’t bore you. Welcome to the inside of my head.

I sent him what I wrote and slept while he read it. What did you think? I asked him when I woke. I’m not sure about the Norway bit, he said. You don’t know enough to write about it. He is right, and it smarts a little to hear it said. But I need to write it regardless, if only to blue pencil it afterwards. I’m on a path and I need to get to the other side. I am writing to understand not to explain. But you can write, he said. It’s a clear as a bell. How lovely to hear that. It felt good. And he wouldn’t soft soap me, not ever. See how blessed I am. I have to put it aside for the moment. I’ve a mountain of things to put in place now and I’ve another small writing commission just come in. But at least I know what to continue with, even if I am still in that fog. I will come through it. I will.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.