The Last Path (1st Movement)

Here we are on a double excursion: first Ursula, then Simon.

Where is the end of town? The end is at the end, or the ends. Many ends then, which all must come back to one another. Because in the end, a town comes round to itself. I mean, it’s not a line, it sprawls out. It can be quite line-like, but not totally – it could have a linear form but not just a line. Not a line, so several ends then, not just two! One of them is one of the main roads, on which the sign ‘Maryport’ appears. So here’s a definite entry-point. And exit. Border-point, seems like. If this is entry-and exit, it’s the end and the beginning too. Well. So here we are, in town, so for us, this sign is an exit-point then. What if we didn’t leave the town here but chose this point as a starting point to walk alongside our town? Along it, around it? So there it was: we are looking for the last path – the last path for us in town.  Therefore the first path out of it. The threshold, the liminal path, a way in and a way out.

From here, inside, from town that means: if we want to get there, we have to make our way to the end. Journey of encounters along this line. Houses, buildings, streets, people, plants, animals, objects. Objects can be the tiniest factor in this whole scenario called ‘town’. Pieces along the way. I found a funny red wheel on the roadside! I mean, the sort of wheel which could have been a part of a gadget. Small, plastic. On its own it could be admired. It’s impressive. Next to a wild-flower by a wall it made a good impression. I photographed it in a way as to portray the flower in the middle. The flower was yellow, wheel red. Though small and plastic, it looked like an old iron wheel from the age of the locomotive! Or a wheel of a watermill. What a nice combination, making an assemblage: or colour assembly by grey pavement! 

It took me back to my found object from the previous day: a kid’s coat hanger! In the form of white plastic and in the shape of an arrow, pointing upwards. A strange thing to find, and a strange hanger it was too. It had an additional square-structure below its pointing arrow-head, and so it looked like a shape of a house. I put my foot in it! I actually did: seated down on the pavement by the car park where I had found the coat hanger, laid it out on the ground, and stepped into it. Its outlines looked fascinating, demarcating a space. To have a two-dimensional object to step into and out of! Foot and coat hanger became object – body interaction.  

There was body-to-body too: there was us, both of us, speaking of objects and things, beginnings and ends, the world and how it is organised. The order-point came up. Hierarchy. High-rarchy! Can we counter it with low-rarchy? 

And that was yesterday if now is today – which was when we walked to the last

path. And that wasn’t easy to find, or there. Not even there it was indeed, it didn’t exist! There was a path leading to a farm, but otherwise no path alongside the edge of town. From a house at this end we saw another path into town, but it turned out to be just another end, like the end we were on. And we had seen it before, we had been there before! It leads from Flimby back to us. Upon entering our town, it passes by the magic and almost-ruined Ewanrigg Hall. The west wing of the Hall is the only bit of it still standing! 

So here’s a once-grand hall, on the threshold of its existence, and on another end of the town then the one we were on. Inside we caught a glimpse of four posts. Double end, quadruple post.  

The last oath
The last drum
The last night
The last chance
The last attempt
The last gig
The last round
The last argument
The last statement
The last word

Searching for a way out of the town. A town that has the sea. Many would have found a way out seawards. A sea path. Many came here from there. To go and to come.

Setting out to find the Lost Path… the Last Path… the Sevenfold, Eight…
Folding path
Forking path

The orchestra tunes up with individual intention but collective randomness
An action can be both determined and random
A fixed ritual within a sea of flotsam
Each flotsam is structured but the collective is all over the place
Angling for the Last Symphony

To the salmon sandwich that had a knock-on effect into a flat white for only an extra 45p
No pressure but pressure
The pinkness of fallen beetle who can’t get up
Spreading eagled in ungainly fashion.
Tangled in the bureaucracy of randomness

Noticing the notices of the carpark
Sitting beside it like a cinema
Watching cars enter stage left, stage right
Exeunt
Down the last path
The last road
Re-purposing rubbish
Is it found?
Re-found?
Lost?
Last?
Will it last?
Like plastic in the ocean.
How long before it becomes locked back in?

The man clocks the sunset
Gets up
Tosses his pizza box into the sun
Into the bushes
A macho display?
Will it come back to haunt him?

Soft Solway
Slows falling Sun
Hard border
Melted by light

Now sitting on a different bench
Looking at the carpark from a different perspective
Cicero said:
To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history? Cicero, Orator, 120

The past back in the day
Less ‘needless’ restrictions, less bureaucracy
…less alienation
More pollution
More racism
More war
Overlook and underlook
Which way to the past, the Last Past?

The Last Path is debated
Whether it is possible
To collaborate
Or is it simply placing things side by side
Like two hands
Side by side
If their fingers should mingle do they become one?
Centre moves to periphery and holds a direction
Where is the end of the town?
Or is it a when?
And so on.
Infinitely recursive discussion on modes of approach
The doubled up method
The singled out method
Then a collision?
A melting?
An interlacing lattice?
A Last Path?
A line?
Colliding like a couple
Of hadrons

No Last Path
In the Long Thin Woods
Creeping past the industrial waste estate
The flitting hoards of fritillaries and peacock butterflies
…and landfill
To return via Ewanrigg Road, thereby Ewanrigg Hall,
And so it is that we already travelled the Last Path
Past Dixon’s Farm
Past the devastated remains of the Hall
Erstwhile home of Fletcher Christian

The last mutiny
The last family
The last marriage
Back in the Day
Today.

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