a space is not so big as when you lose something in it.
i decided that this was the case a few months ago, when my favourite jacket fell off the back of my bike in the city somewhere and i trawled the streets of melbourne, looking for it. this idea was confirmed for me the other day when, whilst flicking a cobweb off my hand, my ring flew off my finger into the large expanse that was my parents’ country front yard. in searching for it, i tracked the space, searching for this cheap-arse, but meaningful piece of jewellery.
whilst doing so, i realised that a lot of the ideas i’ve had about knowing a space through measurement and occupation came up again in the search for the lost object.
whilst i didn’t take quantitative measurements, i did make calculations of the space in which the object would probably be. which means i determined the space .
then i tracked through the space – measuring it through movement. i tried two types of ways to traverse the space – in a random way, hoping that i would stumble upon my ring. then in a methodical way.
neither worked to find my ring, by the way, but both ways gave me a whole new knowledge of that space. my eyes, scanned back and forth under and across patched of dirt, weeds, sticks, scrub. reducing it down to a smaller and smaller surface area, seeking out the rogue piece of gleaming silver. the level of detail within which i was ‘in’ was greater and greater. needing to ‘zoom in’ to the place in order to look carefully
and it is this looking ‘carefully’ that one only really does when we’ve lost something. when we’re searching for something specific. both physically and phitosophically speaking, i guess.
places change their appearance, and our memory of those spaces becomes infinitely more vivid once we’ve combed the area, almost hunted for what we’ve lost. it becomes larger, deeper, more complex. and we take notice of those complexities, out of necessity – as each one could reveal that mising piece. that item of clothing, that person, animal, cheap piece of crap jewellery.
and this is going to sound remarkably patronising and preposterous, but while i was out there, on my folks lawn, keenly straining my eyes and aquainting myself with the bull-ants, i started to understand how indigenous australians (and those to other countries) KNOW their country. they spend/spent is hunting, gathering, searching for food, shelter, water, etc with the same level of analysis that i did looking for my shitty ring. they knew each part of their space, their property’ in the same way – feeling it.
i wish i could have felt that land in quite the same way the other day. it would have been much cooler to just flesh out my lost item. instead i had to ask a friend to bring over his dingky metal detector.. how shit is that.
however, the experience gave me a new insidght into that listtle spot underneath the tree in the front, but also solidified this idea about this great relationship to space and loss.
edit: this was written in a haze of jetlag, so apologies for the rambling.