A few years ago I found myself in a hostel for the aged, having a conversation with my only surviving Aunt who with her husband had just had to make the difficult transition from their home of over 30 years into supported care. Aunty Rae is quite an amazing woman, she sees life as a series of rooms that you just walk at some point from one, into the next. She think that worrying about things is simply a waste of time, because often you have no control over the situation. Better to just accept and save yourself from the stress. That being said, if she make it she will turn 103 on the first of September this year!
I watched both of them let go of a lifetime of personal possessions. But the conversation that I had with Aunty Rae on that day was about a life time of personal photos. She explained to me that they had not been planing on taking their photos with them, but on the spur of the moment decided that they would. The night before I visited them they had sat down together and looked through them all and reminisced about all of the adventures that they had taken together over their 69 years of married life together.
After selling their farm and moving into town they bought a small caravan and every year they headed off somewhere in Australia for around 4 months during our southern winter. They had certainly seen a lot of this country, But once they reached their 80's they could no longer travel. Aunty Rae's words that resonated with me were 'You have to have good memories because they keep you going when you are no longer able to do many things'
It wasn't that I saw myself in their situation, but it made me think of experiences in my own life that I would like to be reminded of at times. I decided to begin a series of tapestry postcards titled 'Memory of Place' to record moments in time that have moved me in some way. So far I have woven three and have plans for many more.
Four years ago while I was traveling in North India, I visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, in the Punjab and close to the border with Pakistan. It is the holiest place in the Sikh religion. It is a huge complex and it was a very busy day when I was there. Although the crowds were large it is a very peaceful place. There are rooms where pilgrims can stay and the Lungar on a quiet day serves around 40 thousand free meals. All ingredients are donated and volunteers prepare the food as part of their Seva, or selfless service to God as it is referred to. Pilgrims bathe in the waters of the moat and the Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple as it is more commonly referred to reflects in broken glory in the waters. This is my tapestry to remind me of my time there. It is currently in America as my entry in the American Tapestry Alliance Untitled/ unjuried exhibition.