A recent walk in the woods where I encountered a pile of felled trees got me thinking about all of the information about history ‘stored’ in those trees – that by looking carefully at a cross section of the trees it’s possible to learn so much… or so little if we are simply to chop the wood up and burn it – our choice. As so many things do, this got me thinking about pathways and the decision making process, about preciousness and disregard. I imagined the felled trees chopped into tree stumps, arranged as they might have appeared in a forest as stepping stones. I imagined them bronzed, immortalised, there to learn from, to admire, to enjoy, to play with/on. Beautiful, clever trees. Nature with all its hidden messages.
Growing up in North East England I frequently dipped my toes in the cold, rough North Sea as a child. Gazed out to see spotting huge ships on the horizon, panicked as long strands of seaweed wrapped around my legs, as my feet sank deeper into the soil, as the shelf fell away beneath me swept by the strong tide. The water was invariably icy, and I didn’t see it as welcoming. Sometimes we’d drive along coastal paths and the car would sway as harsh coastal winds and sea fret beat against the side of it. For me, the sea wasn’t something to mess about with, it wasn’t a source of pleasure, it was something to be wary of, to treat with utmost respect, to never underestimate.
The sea was also a source of income to many people that I grew up around. Mainly through associated petroleum industries. I’ve always been in awe of the sea. This deep, dark uninviting chasm, in constant flux, that we know so little about. Magnificent, and terrifying.
I’ve just been invited to enter some work into a group exhibition in Oxford in April 2015 on the theme of sea… Which I’m very excited about.
Desperately grasping at straws I’ve been attributing a lot of behaviour to the moon recently (and part jokingly, though I do believe there’s something in it – lunatic!). Which has brought my focus back round to thoughts about ocean currents – contributing factors resulting in activity taking place above and below a surface and their effects on that surface… Existing on a level.
See also The Natural Course of Things.
One of the most beautiful things I’ve encountered becoming a mum is the little ear imprint that my beautiful baby leaves on my arm when she falls asleep on me.
I don’t think I’m alone when I say that (non-sexual) physical contact has dwindled with age. From being a baby when you’re as good as physically attached to your parents (literally attached to your mother in the womb), to a cuddly infant, to a teenager looking for a different type of physical contact, to a young adult with virtually no physical contact, to a parent re-learning the wonder of physical contact… And it is wonderful, and it is precious, and it is a basic human need (possibly a basic need full stop – Coatimundi demands attention), that is so frequently neglected.
As I feed my baby, her skin against mine, she relaxes and my heart swells as I cradle her and her body grows heavy and limp as she falls asleep on me and I feel mutual trust, love and understanding right there. When I pick my baby up and her face fills with glee as I pull her close to kiss her, when she wakes up alone and is upset until I pick her up and hold her close to me where she feels safe and secure I’m reminded of the physical foundations of love and trust.
Touch / contact is so very important. As well as leaving an imprint on my arm, that little ear leaves an imprint on my heart too, an imprint that deepens with every sleepy cuddle.
I’m not suggesting that we all become physical pests, but that we remember that there are probably more times and places to hold a hand, to put your arm round someone, to squeeze a knee, to stroke hair, to invite a loved one to rest their head on your lap, or to give a kiss than you think, and doing so will undoubtedly strengthen those foundations.
To quote Jim Morrison, “Come on, come on, come on, come on now touch me baby…”
Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
- He’s the king of the castle.
- Just ignore me.
- After you, Dear.
- Whatever makes you happy.
- Is there anything else I can do?
- Have a good day.
- Behind every good man…
- Don’t worry, Darling, I can manage.
- Of course, Darling. Do what you need to do.
- I’m sorry, you must have had a hard day.
- It’s not about you, it’s me.
- Never mind you, what about me?
- Baby in a snow-globe with bank notes floating instead of snow
- Inflatable toy ball with a toy inside it, melted onto that toy is a mother’s degree photo and on top of that the suffocating plastic cover of The Red Book
- Inglorious vices – a series of tall thin 6foot high, precarious pedestals, perched on them a bottle of wine, a bottle of gin, a packet of cigarettes, some soft rinded cheese, some blue cheese, coffee