Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bobby's Memory

On the third of August just as we were leaving Orkney after an amazing tour we received the news that Bobby Fraser had passed away. Bobby had always been a huge part of the annual Winton Massif tours. His absence on this trip had been tempered somewhat by the inclusion of Brian, his son who was joining us for the first time. Yet, there was still a small, stocky hole left which he should have filled. Bobby's passing has affected a great number of people in varying ways and strengths. The writing below was a way of me dealing with and attempting to understand what had happened; the Eastern tangent coming from a comment my ma made.
Bobby meant a great deal to me and I held him in the highest regard. He was an incredibly kind and caring individual who both calmed those around him but also invigorated them. If my small bit of writing strikes a chord with any others or simply provokes a handful of pleasant memories containing Bobby then it is at least doing some good. Alongside the writing are pictures from the Outer Limits tour.You can read Mike's write up of the tour here.

Eastern religion and mysticism, speaking from a Caithnessian centred outlook, states that you cannot step into the same river twice. In that same vein and train I imagine that that also means you can’t skim a stone over the same water twice; although that maybe has something to do with you having thrown your stone in the first place. This idea focuses on the moving substance and element of water. What it fails to do however, is take notice of anything else.

If water and its constant motion symbolise time, where is the rest of the picture? Where are the stones and silt carpeting the river bed? What has become of the darting, dancing fish or the insects they prey upon? What of the aquatic greenery or the moving grasses that sway above the water, bending and dipping to touch into both worlds. Where are Ratty and Mole singing as they play upon the swirls and eddies? Where have the birds gone? The swirling, swooping, gliding swallows? The waiting, watching eyes of the heron and the gentle scull of the ducks and ducklings?

Surely these representations are of the buildings and worlds we have created and the vessels of life that move among them. Yet where are they?

The Buddha would state impermanence.

The Dalai Lama would repeat it.

That list of importance is insignificant; a list created and extinguished repeatedly throughout time.


The only constant.

Yet to a western mind, let alone a rural Highland one, such explanations do not fit nor carry much favour. The all expansive finality and assurance, somewhat lacking in warmth. If the Devil were to blame then at least there would be some reassurance in the normality of the heat of his flames.
The explanation of the river has no warmth.
In that particular scene one living, screaming, laughing vessel is missing. It may not be their picture but it is mine.

Our world has been irreversibly changed.
A swallow has vanished from the sky.
A fish has disappeared from the water.
Ratty and Mole aren’t singing in cheer but lamenting.
They’re describing a being that lived and laughed, cared and created. Painting a picture of a soul that grew and groaned. A possessor of a heart that beat a rhythm and gave warmth to those around him; safe and protected under his watchful, caring, smiling eye.

He left a trail among the water; a wake which would be pointed out to be passing. Yet such thoughts of nothingness sit ill with such strong feelings and memories. The banks still feel the push of his passage past; even if that is all that is left.

Those fish will remember and the birds will continue to sing his memories and stories of his life from dawn to dusk.

Thank you Bobby for your life and all the positive energy you channelled and shared throughout it.
See you downstream. x