Heading to the Well I realise that water is a mystery to be investigated, standing with my mother, our feet sucking down into the sulphurous ground, cows and sheep moving at the edges of my vision and the cold wind, rushing around us in great gusts sticking my hair to my lashes, making me blind, again.
We reach the well, this is the third time now, and the water and mud has taken over, no patches of dry to skip between, so it is a slog across this small part of the moor. The story keeps bringing me back, the idea of healing and restoration is of interest, from the scare that takes me back years, and the coincidence of the photographic profession in the same year. The idea, and reality, that one can go blind from being stressed, blind from a feeling, not a tangible event, but an accumulation over many years, incrementally stressing the body and mind until effects are literally seen. It was a close call and the fears and tests to check worsening of the condition have finished now.
There is no path through the bog. Mum came along at my request. She has been on many journeys with me, and against me.
The Well is encircled in a wall built by French prisoners, I climb inside and lay low out of the wind, bend over to collect the water then rise up to leave. Mum is standing just across from me in the field, in the boggy ground just looking into the middle distance. I Photograph her then call out, she laugh. She never talks of her own feelings or thoughts, so I am left to wonder. There is a deep sadness in her, it has always been a feature but it is quite well hidden apart from these cursory junctures, I am aware that she also went to Art College and that she quit it before I was born, recently she told me that she too had used photography and liked the darkroom, this is new information. I am blind to her.
I wish I understood your mystery, I am stood still in the dark in Germany.
Location - SX 578759
Fices Well, Dartmoor - SX577759 - This well has been credited with restorative properties for the eyesight, it is unclear after research why exactly this is, apart from stories that mention mythical powers of mists clearing after drinking the water and an unnamed man travelling to drink of the waters each year. The place is surrounded by boggy peatland, and further information about these stories can be found on the Legendary Dartmoor website. I decided to further investigate as my own left eye is afflicted, a partial impairment diffuses and inhibits my view, a glitch no less.
I took samples to see what might lie in the waters, I found small creatures, not Piskie's as can be found apparently nearby. The images were created using an electron microscope - another way to navigate landscape we cannot immediately perceive.