A big pile of soil, some glitter, some photos, various gems, various textual gems that we have shared and some coloured feathers all put together on a world map. … What on Earth?
This week we said goodbye in the nicest possible way to our first group's devised character Eddie who came into being in week five as an excellent example of a 'life well lived'. We saw him off with a fond wave after asking each other what we would like to ask him and composing our answers on his behalf.
We dealt with the Big Questions like 'What do you find funny?' (his answer? 'Me'.) as well as 'What advice would you give people?' (his answer, 'Live openly and fully'). Our creation helped us to understand preconceptions of the Other and of ourselves and how we can challenge these and we love him for it.
The rest of our extremely creative day was spent with our fingers in the dirt looking for evidence of the work we had made together over the course of this project. We heard special phrases from each of our participants again as we unearthed snippets of stories, conversations and phrases; my personal favourites including, 'Underlying dandelion', and 'Mary Poppins took all the children off to meet the stars'.
One of the most poignant moments in this project for me overall however was one participant's reaction to the jasmine tea flower we unveiled in week one where she observed, 'The moisture feeds the flower – it is like a sea urchin'. This was not only poetic but the support assistant she had arrived with shared with us that in over a year she had never heard such words from her. There were happy tears all round. Wonderful.
Interactions such as these have made for an intensely emotional journey for both Liz and I and we hope that each of the incredible people we have shared it with feel the same. We thank everyone for taking part, being so open as to try new things every week (as well as helping us to eat all that cake!) and for sharing themselves with us.
We have all – literally - planted seeds today (in case you wondered why the soil) and I sincerely hope our orchids grow strong and remind each of us of the times we have spent together.
Thank you all.