“tread softly because you tread on my dreams”

The mother of Raoul Moat, the fugitive gunman, said that she believed her son “would be better off dead”.  Moat’s mother said her son had chronic asthma as a child and did not have many friends.  “He was like all little boys,” she said. “We used to find him with pockets full of spiders.” Referring to school photographs showing a contented-looking child with a toothy smile, and contrasting them with the hulking bodybuilder now on the loose, she said: “This man does not look like my son.” (7th July 2013, The Telegraph – 3 days later Raoul Moat was killed by police snipers)



“tread softly because you tread on my dreams”

Walking on eggshells
To be very careful with someone because they get upset easily.
Context : Business, Relationships, Social Life Category: Idiom Semantic: careful


cracked shells


“tread softly because you tread on my dreams”

An eggshell is a natural example of an arch. One end of the shell has a larger, rounder arch, and the other end is narrower and more pointed. You can crack an eggshell if you tap it against a hard surface. But if you interlock your fingers and squeeze an egg lengthwise to break it, you’ll find that it can withstand more force than you might expect. (from website: Science Buddies)

egg form

“tread softly because you tread on my dreams”

nec careo, nec curo (family motto)
In English: I lack not, I care not.

My grandmother would get cross with me when I said goodbye to her and I said “take care”. She would invoke the motto, and say “I neither care, nor take care”. This seemed heartless. But, so many years later, and thinking through the eggshells and their collecting, I suddenly see this positive sense of being uncaring: of not lacking, being carefree.  I see the danger of caring for something where to care for something or somebody constructs the object of care as lacking. When we walk on eggs so as not to crack them, we must tread softly, giving attention to our force and must constantly shift our body in response to the forms that we encounter. With our full attention feel our way around their form.

egg shrine

I have spread my dreams at your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats, (lines from”He Who Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”)


About Christina MacRae

My background zigzags between working in Early Years settings, both as a teacher and as an artist, and in research. My thesis (and later research projects), in turn, have crisscrossed child development theories, critical and materialist writings and art theory. I put myself forward as a contribut…Read more

One Response to “Notes and photographs: from a collection of eggshells.”

  1. Char March

    I love these intimate eggshell photos, and all your thoughts around them. Esp re Raoul Moat’s Mum – that reminded me vividly of We Need To Talk About Kevin.


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