UNDISCLOSED #1 – 27th January 2008

It is 6.30am.  The sky is fresh and clear.  There is an energy in the air, one tinged with the expected heat of the day to come.  The birds are up and chirpy, obviously getting their business done before the day gets too hot, before it slips into the drowsy midsummer heat.  My body feels a warm expansion.

I am sitting under an old and reverent oak tree. There is something about this oak tree that speaks of ages. Ages to come, ages past.

This oak reminds me of a timeless grandfather figure. A sturdy, wise, solid and enduring. I don’t know why or why a grandfather rather than a grandmother.

I pull out a wad of red origami paper, a green fluorescent clip-board, a pair of scissors and some red twine.

Taking the top piece of paper I place it on the flat surface of the clipboard and begin the precise folds.  I am making a red origami fish. I am quiet and concentrated. As I am folding the paper I am thinking of a missed opportunity, one I did not take up, an event that did not come to pass, slipped through my fingers, so to speak, like a slippery fish.  As I complete this fish I give it my blessing and let this event go.  I take the twine and after carefully skewering a hole in the top of the fish, I thread a long length through. I stand up and attach it to a branch of the oak tree.

This has taken me 3 minutes.

I intend to keep going until I can think of no more missed opportunities.

I sit back down and take another piece of paper…

I have just completed ten fish.


I have been engaged in this task now for 30 minutes.


I have already gone into a trance-like state, consumed by all these thoughts and memories that have been percolating and making themselves available.

It is surprising me. I thought maybe I would draw a mental blank very quickly, or just get stuck because ‘I did not want to go there.’

I pull another piece of paper off the pile.

A memory comes up, unexpected, I didn’t bank on this one, I had forgotten. I am in tears, a drop, then another drop lands on the paper.

I find it amazing that the memories that seem the most obvious to trigger grief, sadness or melancholy, are sometimes the ones that are, just are. It is the unexpected ones, the seemingly innocuous, that creep up behind you, that nab you. Before you know what is going on you are in their clutches.

I finish the last folds of this fish, perhaps a little slower than the previous.  I sit with it, before I scewer it and thread it. As I slowly place it in the tree I am filled with loss, absolute loss, an empty hollow place. There is no evocative streetscape here. It is what it is, pure and simple. Empty…

I have been sitting here for an hour and ten minutes. A man is walking past with his dog.  He is glancing over at me, and my decorated tree. I can see he is interested but a bit unsure whether he should intrude into my space. I can sense he has questions.

Questions and interest aside, he smothers this instinct and just keeps going.


I think I am up to about fish, twenty-three, I am losing count. Half way through this fish I chuckle to myself, this is an interesting one. One of those “Oh my God!”,  opportunities. Had I followed it through, my life would have taken a bizarre turn.  Possibly fun, but ultimately, unsustainable. It never the less leaves me feeling warm and happy.


My back is starting to complain, sitting on this hard ground and constantly bending forward. I do some stretches.  I am also feeling the first pangs of breakfast hunger.


I have water with me but nothing else.

I resist the temptation to just hurry this along. I try and remain true to the cause. I have a backlog, now, that is just sitting there in the queue, awaiting a fish.

It is 8.18am, I am just sitting now, trying to work out if there is more or is this enough. I am waiting for more to surface.


It is 8.32am, I have just completed two more.


It is 8.46am, I have decided to wait another 15 minutes, just to be sure.


I am leaning against the trunk of the tree, looking up and around at this red paper tree.

Red fish swimming in the summer air.

Maybe a bird will mistake them for fruit when I have gone.

That is sort of a nice idea, red fish fruit.

9.01am, two and a half hours have passed since I commenced this event. I stand up, surveying the result. I feel calm, elated, tranquil, happy, excited.


The tree looks festive, it looks celebratory, it feels solid.

I pack my things up.

As I walk away, I glance back at this tree that has suddenly flowered a myriad of red buds of possibility, swaying in the gentle morning breeze.



~ by jvulcan on February 15, 2009.

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