Looking to the Edges: The Space Between Categories

Imagine sitting in the cosy living room of a small cottage, warming your hands by a crackling fire. A cup of tea sits on the table beside you, accompanied by a plate of golden gingerbread biscuits. The smell of woodsmoke and cinnamon coats the air, along with the faint scent of some unidentifiable herbs, and a hint of pine.

A tall woman dressed in black sits bolt upright in the wooden rocking chair opposite you, her sharp features fixed in an inquisitive stare. You get the impression she already knows what you’re thinking before you do. Mistress Weatherwax, her name is.

As you peer more closely at her neat grey updo, you’re convinced there is a shadow of a tall pointy hat atop her head. It is clear she is a witch. You venture to inquire about a witch’s purpose – but before you can formulate the question, she nods knowingly.

“‘We look toโ€ฆ the edges,’ said Mistress Weatherwax. ‘Thereโ€™s a lot of edges, more than people know. Between life and death, this world and the next, night and day, right and wrongโ€ฆ anโ€™ they need watchinโ€™. We watch โ€˜em, we guard the sum of things. And we never ask for any reward. Thatโ€™s important.'”

– (Terry Pratchett, from The Wee Free Men)

You carefully sip your tea, nodding in contemplation.โ˜•

What edges do you look to?

My thoughts:
I often try to find a middle ground between opposites.
In this world, there are so many categorisations and labels for things – but nowadays we are better at seeing in a less black and white way. Spectrums and scales, rather than one or the other. Process and progress, instead of start and finish.

Recognising the spaces between categories can be vital to understanding things more deeply. For if we were to always separate things into immovable boundaries, we’d miss out on a lot of the nuances that come from variation and combination; ambiguity and chance.

See more of my photos at @katiesliteraturecorner

Often, the indescribable, unanswerable and uncategorisable (is that even a word?!?) are the most perplexing yet fulfilling things to ponder over, as they are unanswerable. Yet, an important aspect of the human experience is that we question them anyway.

(The illustration at the back of the photo is called ‘Granny Weatherwax’s cottage’, by David Wyatt)

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