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  • Writer's pictureErin Clark

The Spectacular Edge of Time

This film is a tribute to Catherine Frazee. filmed while I visited her in Baxters Bay, Nova Scotia

I noticed that there were trails of quartz in the rock the day before filming that looked like keloid scars. A sudden pucker of stone, brightly colored, announcing an event. On both skin and stone, a scar is a mark of a violence. In stone, however, the time it marks is significantly more vast. I determined I would follow these timelines the next morning while the tide was out. The rocks were damp from the rain, and spongy from the layers of shale, where water flows, not just over, but also through the rocks. The camera, and therefore the landscape, remains still.

I don’t know what to call the way I move. It isn’t entirely a crawl, or exactly a lumber, it certainly isn’t a walk, which I have heard described as a controlled fall where face-planting with the ground is prevented by each subsequent footfall. I am never falling. My center of gravity is low, the dynamics of my momentum distributed equally between four limbs. It's more of a scramble, perhaps even a type of loping which is a slow canter in the repertoire of a horse’s natural gaits. A movement in three beats which distributes the momentum across four limbs. I lope because I am partially paralyzed. My hands do what my feet cannot, my arms do what my legs cannot, my legs do what they can, and this is how I roam wild places without my wheelchair. This is also how I feel the world in rich and sensual detail. My palms pressing into the slick stone, my fingers petting the rough edges of the quartz, my eyes close to the variations of color in the grey day. Detail that is inaccessible to the camera in it’s fixed position.

The frame is reset with each segment of progress and to film that, I set my iphone in a tripod and went the entire length that frame could capture before I disappeared. Then I loped back to the camera, carried it with me across the path I had just travelled, and set it up at the point at which it had recorded my disappearance and moved further along. I press forward to the edge and down the slope, where I decide I can press no further on this day, in these conditions. So I rest and gaze across the stone channel straight out to the Atlantic, which is licking and lapping its way in-land. The wall of rocks (which themselves will be entirely submerged in the span of several hours) blocks the camera's view to the ocean. The camera captures me as I enjoy the view, the wind idly ruffling a strand of hair untucked from my bun. I left the scene deliberately unedited (and therefore unmediated). It is between you and a spectacular edge of time.

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