T is for Timescape

| March 22, 2014

In The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, http://www.elisabethtovabailey.net/files/WildSnail_Chapters_watermark_2010.pdf

Elizabeth Tova Bailey tells of the transformative impact a tiny garden snail has on her life when a debilitating disease leaves her bed-ridden and out of touch with humanity. Her constrained movement, bodily and spatial restriction leaves her forced to attend to something (a snail) in a manner outside her normal mode of inquiry of experience and re-regulate the overall existing modes of stillness and movement in her life. Being prevented from normal movement and constricted to a sterile, unfamiliar space allows her (actually forces her) to open new intervals and biograms and allows her to come to terms with the total and permanent loss of the familiar.

Her book chronicles the shifts in her ability and motivation to move when confronted with new content and attendance to the rhythm around stillness and motion, oscillating between the two in unfamiliar and initially uncomfortable ways. At first, she feels tremendous guilt for being out of sync with everyday human movements and rhythm (of waking, sleep, movement).  It isn’t until she finds synchronicity with the snail that she feels comfort and reprieve.