sittin’ with moncton (4)

September 29, 2011


jè-st’ : un festival d’art performatif et d’intervention, moncton new brunswick, 2011.

today is my last day sitting on the bench in front of city hall on main street in moncton, new brunswick. today photo and video documentation is arranged. i am watched as i watch. the day unfolds, the scenery changes, two new flag poles are placed in their slots and two new flags are raised. picnic tables and blue garbage drums are brought in. i recognize some of the “users” of the place while other people coming and going are new to me.

three days is not long. but maybe it is long enough. when i watch people i am touched by certain figures who catch my attention and enter my imagination. today for instance, a woman. older, probably in her late seventies, small figured, hair white and curled, dress pink and flowered. she strolls towards city hall. i remark the determination in her stride. one hand is holding the corner of her cardigan, the other hand hangs loose as she swings her arm back. her gait is uneven, one leg is shorter than the other. her spine is curved round. her head leans forwards towards the ground. when she returns from where she came she walks towards me, and, for one brief instant, her head raises up. i notice her face. she is smiling. to herself. if hearts can bloom from the unseeing glance of another, my heart bloomed in this instant. what you love is beautiful says sappho.

and so, yes, to answer my question for myself, yes, i perform “as if” bodies passing each other can and do “mean” something. and yes, i will continue the performance in my memory as i hold these moments inside me. and yes, i will hold these memories, for these moments of gifts received unbeckoned, when we believe ourselves to be unseen, when we are engaged in our daily tasks, when we are not performing for another – these moments of “being” transmit a kind of “grace.” a grace given freely and openly to a stranger who glimpses the face of a woman who smiles to herself as she walks by.


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