premiere online screening of film about Severn Bore under lockdown

When You Call I Shall Come – Calling in the Severn Bore – Filmed During Pandemic

The Spring Tide Bore was a silent one, apart from the natural sounds of the river, the incoming sea and birds. It was both melancholic and beautiful. The bore surfers respectfully stood down. This may be the first time ever, and hopefully the last, that a pandemic has resulted in stand-down.  Knowing I am unlikely to ever get such a chance again to experience it with wonderful weather and a natural soundscape, I relished every minute of filming.

Spring tides are usually a highlight of the Severn Bore Surfing year. This year, on 8th, 9th and the 10th a four-star bore was due to occur every morning. Living in Newnham on Severn, we get to see the bore as it first manifests, having been channelled between a narrow part of the river between Awre and Bullo Pill, it enters the horseshoe bend, then races around the wide corner at Westbury on Severn. From there is gets funnelled tighter and tighter as it approaches Minsterworth. Many surfers enter the river at Arlingham and Newnham, with a few joining a little before, around Awre and Bullo Pill.

I usually make a simple documentary, unedited footage with top and tailing then uploaded promptly – filming the bore arriving then passing. But I also make video art, films that dig deeper into the nature of the river, look closely at the particularity of this fantastic phenomena, which I have the privilege of witnessing regularly at the bottom of my street. I draw, photograph and film the Severn constantly. I wrote about it in my book – Severnside, an Artist’s View of the Severn.

Every morning, when I awake, I look out of my bedroom window to see how the Severn is that day. I touch base with it.

Many people watch the wave form at Newnham, then rush upriver to other locations to see the bigger, louder, powerful waves, which give instant gratification to the people that witness them. Personally, I prefer the long slow arrival of the wave as it manifests, then hanging around to watch the drama of the fill. At this point you can study the conflict between river and sea evidenced by bidirectional tides, whirling vortexes and sea-horse waves.

Bore-watchers often line the riverbanks on both sides, some travelling many miles to see the surfers ride the waves (or not!), while enjoying the safety of standing on dry land, rather than quicksand. Various buzzing airborne things fill the sky – paragliders, drones and microlights – while other watchers ride in small boats with noisy engines. The landscape acoustic is added to by the bells of St. Peter’s Church ringing, alongside transatlantic planes overhead and trains nearby, creating a considerable cacophony of sound.  It’s not easy to hear the natural sounds, but that is fine with me, because I love the celebratory events few days per year that the Severn is a social destination. The majority of the time, people can enjoy the quietude. But it does mean that one can never encounter a high tidal bore in peace.

This year, April 2020, was very different. There were airborne risks for the surfers. With lockdown, only essential journeys were permitted, and the bore-surfer community respectfully stood down. The risk of injury was far outweighed by the risk of spreading Covid 19. Social distancing would be impossible for those lined up on the crest of such an unpredictable and exciting wave.

It was truly a unique moment in time for those who could walk to watch the bore that week, and, like me, those that filmed it. The surfers know I often do the first film of each event, posting them online as soon as I can, often before the wave has got as far as Minsterworth. I have asked for a one-day amnesty in the past, a chance to film without all the noise distractions. It was a perfect storm in some ways, one I took very seriously. I felt honoured to be asked to film it and share it with the surfer community so they could see it.

I am an optimist. What I am sharing in this film is evidence of river-knowing. I allowed the tides to reveal themselves through a series of static camera shots that followed my eye as it flitted around, searching for tiny events to capture. Shot in short spurts. While the camera filmed one scene, I scouted for the next and calmly redirected the lens, again and again. Some scenes are very short, others unravel over a longer period. My eye revisited sites to record slow progressions and shifts or followed a floating object on its journey. I wanted to share with viewers how the sea and the river negotiate their territory. And of course, the river eventually succumbs

Once it came to the editing stage, I was keen to keep it loyal to the timeline of filming, not modified in terms of speed or direction. Some shots are close-up, some long distance. The source audio is camera recorded, so some wind noise is evident. Then there is the most distinctive element of the film – the kulning song. That needs further explanation here.

Kulning is the word for the ancient Swedish herding call, that has its roots in the Nordic medieval age. Because of its special high-pitched sound, it was used to communicate with animals and creature through very far distances.

As well as being an artist, I produce arts events in non-gallery locations. A few years ago, I explored the possibility of commissioning a composer to write a kulning song that, instead of calling in animals, would call in the bar. I had a vision of that in my head and earlier this year I experimented with animated drawings, trying to create a simulation of how that might be. You can see one of those tests here.

When I began to edit the April tide footage, I sought some suitable music to help me create a rhythm that would anchor the cuts. After many attempts at finding something suitable, I tried a kulning song. On Spotify I found the perfect track, recorded by a number of Swedish performers, apparently for a radio programme. The two voices you hear on the film at Eva Rune and Susanne Rosenburg. They kindly gave me permission to use their sounds for which I am very grateful, and Ivor Richards did a great job of polishing the audio.

It is the singing that expresses both my love of the Severn and the yearning of the bore-viewers when they await the arrival of the wave.

What I hope is conveyed in the film is the detail of the flow, the strange thing that happens when a river pursues its route towards the sea with dogged determination, as the tide turns. It is nothing less than amazing to see. The seagulls on the bank caught my attention and I love the way the water filled the screen, while the birds did their best to stay until the last moment, hoping to snatch a fish from the cusp of the wave. Had the bore surfers been around they would have scared the birds away.

I want to thank the surfing community for their caretaker role of the Severn – I can only imagine how sad they must have felt. Fingers crossed for the future tides.

Meanwhile, we proceed with lockdown and social distancing, enjoy the river, but respect that it can be a dangerous place too. Watch, look and listen – you will be well rewarded for doing so.


 

Covid-time keeps me in a semi-liquid state, which is rapidly becoming my normal.

Set off for my daily exercise feeling a bit low. Walked about 2 miles but when I got to my destination, a swing next to the Severn, it was broken. I wandered along taking photos of other broken things, there were so many. My heart sank even further, like a boulder in the Severn mud.

BROKEN THINGS BY CATEGORY

BODY PARTS: Hearts Bones Ankles Wrists Teeth

COMMITMENTS: Promises Will Loyalty Trust Agreements Laws

FRAGILE THINGS: China Glass Jewellery Dreams Governments

TECHNOLOGY: Televisions Radios Phones Internet Computers Data

REMAINS: Pieces Shards Fragments Remnants Damaged Communities Debts

Just when I was beginning to feel very sad that it was shockingly easy to find many broken things, I turned towards the river and saw two blackthorn bushes, loaded with wonderful blossom. I smiled and my step lightened. A few steps away two bright yellow flag iris’ caught my eye – fantastic!

So easily up

So easily down

Mood swings

My emotions are not broken, but I sometimes feel as if they are on the edge of collapse. Like cornflour mixed with water, they pour and dribble towards that edge, yet are amazingly resistant to hard knocks. Should they become so liquid they drip off the table, I retreat from the world for a few hours, then simply gather them up and put them back again. And give them a good bashing to make sure the alchemy is still holding them firm. Call it willpower or survival impulse.

Covid Time keeps me in a semi-liquid state, which is rapidly becoming my normal.

As I walk further along the riverbank, feeling happier and highly sensitised, I notice the smells of the grass, the light on the river. Suddenly, a small cloud of birds passes overhead, looking like a shoal of fish in the sky, swerving en-masse and swooping, like a murmuration of starlings, but more tightly, in a soft pillow-like formation. As they swerved, they flipped over slightly and the sun hit their white undersides, making them appear to glitter as they moved. Like flying, glimmering jewels. Later, on my way home, the wind had risen and was blowing the silver birch leaves wildly in the wind – they too revealed their silvery underbellies. Like a visual echo of the birds.

Back to the riverside, my eyes locked onto a pair of barnacle geese wandering around in the mudflats. One watched the other as it traced loop de loops in the sand with its feet, leaving behind patterns like those that a sewing machine leaves in paper. They shouted at each other occasionally, like a grumpy couple. The wader dipped his beak down into the grey river silt and pushed it along like a mini-bulldozer. 

I settled down close to them in the long grass and got out my drawing materials.

Within a one hour period I had switched from rigorous speed walking, to slow, sad searching for broken things, then accelerated with glee at the beauty of the flora and wildlife. All that looking and the erratic emotions, were akin to sharpening a pencil in preparation for a period of deep engagement and immersion in the act of drawing.

When I ran life drawing classes I called them The Looking Class – partly a pun on Alice and her adventures, but also referring to it being a class where you learn to look. Because to be able to do observational drawing, you need to be able to see before you can draw. What you look at may not be in the room, but inside yourself. No matter. Whether you look out through a lens at an object, or reflect back into your imagination, you must be in a state of super-sensitivity. 

I decided I would write about this and use the photos I took as a mapping of the moods.

Together, every element of the walk is important to the outcome. On this occasion, the outcome is a strange rambling text, a series of photos connected by the concept of broken and a drawing that records the marks in the sand as described above.

And this blogpost.

Be well.

 

 

 

 

Letting Go, Refusal and the third space during Lockdown – a time when you have nothing to do and everything to do

Letting Go, Refusal and the third space

Lockdown – a time when you have nothing to do and everything to do – both at once.

Do you feel hypersensitive at the moment? Does your brain seem to be like a colander today, yet memories of significant things in your past float up constantly? Do they then create links with today’s thoughts in strange, unexpected ways – tethering the present with the past? Mine certainly do.

My instinct (or is that intuition?) is to listen to those collisions and collusions that my mind, and my heart, are offering me. Some people say we must respect our ‘innate’ intuition, others believe intuition is the outcome of cumulative knowledge (I’m inclined to believe both). I feel we are offered a new understanding of past and present if we can reconsider them through different lenses, at different times. If we allow them to have a dialogue, to intertwine, they may inform new ways of thinking about this strange period we live in. And we might learn more about ourselves.

I’m half-way through reading a book recommended to me by other artists, spotted on Instagram:  “How to Do Nothing – Resisting the Attention Economy” by Jenny Odell. One of the people who has read it told me “it will change your life”. It already has, yet I’m only halfway through. Which says something about my inability to do nothing. I spend way too much of my life on social media, for work and for pleasure. I love sharing photos, videos and seeing other peoples, especially during self-isolation. And, double irony here, I would not have heard about the book if I didn’t.

So, I am sorry Jenny, but your book is so loaded with things I knew nothing of before, I have to stop reading periodically and go and follow my curiosity – seeking out links and downloads to follow up with. If I don’t do it whilst live-reading, I may forget (see comment above). This is not an issue in terms of practice, it is a research process, but nor is it the outcome I anticipated when picking up the book.

The writing is delicious – the combinations of narratives on offer flow freely – the nuggets of examples from philosophy and contemporary art thrill me. A literary and creative feast. So much so that when I came to make my breakfast, I randomly added rosemary and garlic to my mushrooms and parsley to my scrambled egg.

  • Parsley: useful knowledge, feast, joy, victory
  • Rosemary: remembrance, love, loyalty, fidelity
  • Garlic: protection, strength, healing

I chose rosemary knowingly, as I had already considered its meaning when my brother died. I was also aware that garlic is for protection, strength and healing. But I didn’t know that parsley means ‘useful knowledge’, so that alone is somewhat spooky. Those things will now be intuitive to me.

Covid 19 is time to eat parsley, clearly. The remembrance issue relates not only to a family death, but also to that of an artist, Clare Thornton, who I worked with some years ago when I was a writer in residence for Redefining Print, at Double Elephant Print Studio.  A Facebook post about the anniversary of her death sent me off to dig deep into my archives where I found a recorded conversation with her about her work, in which I comment that I knew her partner from my time in 2002, when I did PVA LabCulture. I have shared that with him. Clare introduced me to the Triadic Ballet, which I have loved ever since. One of the people that set up the residency was Simon Ripley, who told me that the book (see above) will change my life.

During LabCulture I shared some films of inanimate objects being released into action then slowing down to a halt – the series was called “Letting Go”.  It was also the year that my marriage was slipping away.

Last week I made some slo-mo films with my iPhone – I pulled back a swing that flew above the River Severn (my muse and inspiration for all I do), and let it go. Only today have I spotted the link with the LabCulture films.

Collisions and collusions – past and present.

My film of the swing is also about letting go. Here, now, in this unpredictable, unknown place we are in, we must let go of many things. If we don’t it is too painful. Our daily routines have changed, forever, but not through intention. There is little choice.

In Odell’s book she writes eloquently about refusal. She refers to Diogenes and his explorations and actions relating to refusal. She describes his actions as creating ‘a third space’ – a magical exit to another frame of reference.

“For someone who cannot otherwise live with the terms of her society, the third space can provide an important if unexpected harbour (pages 68/69)”.

Might it be that our creative selves can provide us with our third space, when we urgently need a magical exit to our present frame of reference?

Wearing a quickly-made paper mask influenced by the *Triadic Ballet, and photos by Inge Morath & Saul Steinberg, (which came to me from a friend sharing on Facebook), for a zoom meeting, allowed me to prevent others from scrutinising my facial expressions. A refusal.

Sitting on a swing by the river allows my dreams to flow with the tide. Editing film takes me into another zone, as if doing meditation.

Making a silly video of my relationship with the screen, influenced by my watching the eyes of Villanelle in the TV series Killing Eve, lifts my mood.

I don’t think I really want To Do Nothing – I doubt it is even possible.

Just as John Cage proved you can’t record silence. Like Bartleby the Scrivener, if you ask me to do nothing I shall probably respond with “I would prefer not to”.

Surely this image from Triadic Ballet is calling out for a re-enactment during social distancing?

Screenshot 2020-05-03 at 10.56.46

 

*Note reference Triadic Ballet – made in 1922 by Oskar Schlemmer, it is a great early example of performance art/dance choreographed for filming for the screen. The activity is played out within that frame, just as Wood & Harrison do in their work. I propose that the screen of ZOOM and other online video conferencing facilities provides a ‘third space’ we can explore through creative practices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bean Project revisited after 15 years (actually 20 now!)

Recently I sent out some Morning Glory seeds in a handmade seed-pack to family and friends. Intended to send hope and optimism, beautiful flowers to enjoy over what could be a long summer.

CDD476BE-724B-412D-8DCE-883722FAA5CF

This blogpost is a re-share and refers to my first ever website project – all about growing.

My niece, Erin, is sending me daily photos of her seedlings growing, which is delightful! This all makes sense of my Story of Objects project too. Sometimes little things are loaded with love. It is said we need daily routine in our lives, especially at times like this. That will explain why there are so many fab projects emerging online.

Instagram: #nicoloneaday2020 #oneadayephemeralartproject2020

Facebook: What do you see from your window? #StayAtHome The Story of Objects (one of mine!)

Twitter: #fractalOfTheDay #DailyArt

Here are Erin’s daily photographs of the Morning Glory seedlings.

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Flow Contemporary Arts

The Bean Project 2002 – archived here: http://iloveepoetry.com/?p=196#more-196

There is something very wonderful about a friend finding my first-ever web based text project 15 years after I made it in 2017. There it is, The Bean Project, tucked away in a corner of cyberspace – the source files all gone, the software I used to programme it defunct and the browsers advanced beyond what could be imagined when it was first written. Thanks to Leonardo Flores, of I ♥ E-Poetry for taking care of it for me. Odd to think it’s used as a teaching tool in a university in Puerto Rico – but then that is the wonder of the web. I have often referred to the root meaning of the word ‘curate’ as taking care of, so this is a good example of what that makes reference to.

It was while I was doing my MA in Fine…

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Covid19, the rural idyll & climate change

Take a look at this video clip:

Is this your rural idyll?

In the light of the shutdowns occurring across the world, we are undoubtedly struggling to do everyday things that we take for granted. Travel, work, leisure, exercise, culture – all disrupted. How are you coping? Is it very different from your usual everyday life, or is it not dissimilar, but a bit more extreme? Do you miss the noise, the pollution, the packed trains, the spontaneous flights to sunnier climes? The casual shopping therapy to bide your time spending your hard-earned cash?

The video shows a world where nature is simulated, but you can’t touch it. The good old days, when you could walk into a shop and be greeted at the counter, not two metres away from it. The game is as surreal as our present reality

Until Covid19 the headlines were all about XR, climate change and Brexit. Conversations about those subjects have gone as quiet as our skies and our roads. They are still an issue, but we have taken our eye off the ball, big time. Now the only balls we hear about are rich footballers bemoaning loss of income, or Wimbledon players not being able to play tennis. Really – is that what the majority of people are worrying about? I doubt it. They are more likely concerned about friends, family and incomes. While the media carry stories about unimaginably well-payed sports people, at home people are worrying about the NHS, the service providers, the people who are important to our survival. And we thank them wholeheartedly.

This planet rolls on, for now. It is the biggest ball we rely on for our survival, yet we are still not keeping our eye on it. When I watched the promotion for the Walden Pond video game (above) it made me question the rural idyll – the quietness, the tranquillity, the sense of solitude. Not aloneness, which can feel very sad, but solitude, an act of choice, of preference. Those of us who create things often relish thinking time, making time. A house by a peaceful lake would be our dream, as it was Thoreau’s. But for many, this is a nightmare. I was intrigued by the mostly accurate depiction of natural objects in the video, and how they move – the water, the sky, the creatures. And mildly amused by the awkwardness of the little boat, very badly located on the bank. Solid objects are difficult to simulate in soft surfaces, just as  hard thoughts are challenging when your brain is muddied by fearful thoughts.

Back to Thoreau, my sister told me he didn’t live in isolation, as she discovered it whilst researching for her book Technobiophilia:

“By his own admission, he [Thoreau] was hardly isolated. He regularly walked into Concord to dine, read the papers, visit the post office and have his laundry washed and mended.” Sue Thomas Technobiophilia, page 160)

walden drawing for technobiophilia
image (c)carolyn black in Technobiophilia

It is a bit like that now, with the pandemic. Those of us who live in rural areas feel like we are enjoying a period of solitude, the rural idyll, but we are still connecting with the wider world. Thoreau didn’t have the internet, he just had newspapers, aren’t we lucky!

So what interests me is how so many groups are setting up online forums of support and activity for local groups. Possibly the biggest loss to those who live in villages is not having a chat in the waiting room at the doctors, or in the local pub. Now they go online to their village Facebook page, or join a What’s App Group. Which is great. But there is a risk that unless those conversations are held wider,  localism to such a miniscule level may make us forget the bigger picture.

The media talk about the ‘British’ suffering with the pandemic, yet it is world-wide and others suffer far more than we do. And while it spreads ever wider and wider, individual’s daily lives are shrinking. So many people are switching off the news because they simply can’t bear it. Brexit was like that too.

Social and physical distancing is an imperative, a necessity. And online socialising is a great replacement to fill the gaps. But let’s not let interactions come down to the lowest denominator. Localism is important, but the planet matters more.

Back to the awkwardly placed boat on the side of the pond. It reminded me of me. Of the other day when I walked by the Severn and wanted to lie down on my back and watch the clouds. There was no-one in sight, so I did. I don’t usually lie down outside in public places, as I am a little ungainly when I do so. But that didn’t matter. And when I settled with my spine firmly grounded on the earth and watched the huge white clouds zooming across a bright blue sky, I thought to myself “if it has to be zoom, can it be this type of zoom please?”.

While the media bemoan economic crashes, find yourself a safe space, a private place, make the most of it, because it won’t last forever. Take the opportunity to lie on your back and wonder, wouldn’t it be great if it was always as quiet as this? And how can we move to make that our rural idyll?

How about we steer some of our strategic thinking back to planetary issues? Use online interactions to do something useful. We are getting used to our narrower lives now, our new normal, and no doubt enjoying the resultant quietness of it all. This *is* the rural idyll we have been going on holiday to find. We are living it. Go for a walk from your house, see how far you can go without meeting a soul. Listen. Look at the springtime rising out of the soil, blooming on the hawthorn bushes, the blackthorn. Wild garlic to eat, ferns unfurling. The sky above, only occasionally. chalked with the vapour trail from a transatlantic plane. Good trains keeping our industries going, farmers still working the land, tending their livestock.

Let’s get through this together and plan for what is ahead. I’d like to hear from others about this, as I am sure I am not alone. If we are going to talk online, on phones, over garden fences, let’s talk about the long-term future of the world. Doing so may also distract our thoughts from immediate concerns, like getting more toilet paper.

Our communities are getting stronger together now, it is no longer the rhetoric of ‘big society’ – people are actively working together to find solutions, and that is brilliant.

Let’s hold onto that thought and keep our eye on the ball, collectively.

 

 

Find your crying place – unstable horizons

Find Your Crying Place

Screenshot unstable horizons stillDo you have a happy place, a crying place, or both?

It is common to refer to ‘being in a happy place’ as a metaphor for feeling good, we are rarely referring to a location when we refer to our happy place.

A crying place is different. It is somewhere we visit, to lie low, like a wild animal. To calm anxiety, to release tears. More often than not, it is a specific location. It may be indoors or outside, in a cupboard under the stairs or at the top of a mountain. Whether the space is vast or enclosed, it must hold us. Because we are unable to hold ourselves and we brim over. It must allow us to have solitude.

A crying place is somewhere, where one can release emotion, often in private and feel safe, unobserved. It is a very important place.

Whilst we are confined to our homes due to the Covid19 pandemic feeling alone can be challenging. Some people may find being at home with family a wonderful opportunity to bond, others might be struggling badly for many reasons. Social media is flooding with videos of happy families singing together, communities getting together on conference platforms and reading poetry, doing yoga, discussing gardening. But not all families are so happy, and whereas previously they could walk out and escape, now they can’t so easily do that. Sometimes getting out is a necessity for vulnerable people.

As an antithesis to the parental mantra of ‘get outside to play and get off that screen’ we are now going to our computers in droves. They are our life line. After many years of social media being slammed and considered the devil because ‘people don’t get out any more’, it is now our only social centre, bar the telephone and letter-writing. No shops, libraries, gyms or community centres.

The saving grace is that we can go out for exercise once a day. So we need to make that outing enjoyable. And I do!

I decided to find a new crying place to visit. In my book, ‘Severnside – An Artist’s View of The Severn’, I mention a previous crying place, from which I looked out over the Severn.

Shepperdine was my bolthole, I went there when the currents of my emotions were dragging me down. I would walk along with my dogs and sing a favourite song from choir – “All will be well, all will be well”. The Severn lifts my spirits, always has, always will.

Initially, I had described it as my crying place, then dropped that term in favour of bolthole. The earlier drafts described how I would go there when I felt upset, take the dogs and lie on the slope of the flood-bank and sob. I remember how it felt, to get out of my home and release my feelings into the open air, unobserved by others. I smile now as I write this as I notice the word flood-bank is a very apt one. On reflection, by later editing out the lying on the grass sobbing part, even in my autobiographical book, I was unable to present myself as vulnerable. Instead, I described myself as a positive, optimistic, happy-clappy woman singing songs as I walked.

How hard it is to be honest with oneself about these things. Writing this is my self-imposed penance. Self-isolation is inclined to evoke contemplation of life and the universe.

When I finally left the east bank of the river to live on the west bank, I had to relocate myself in the local landscape too. Where I live now is very close the banks of the Severn, so I set off up into the hills behind the village to walk and explore and get the long view. On the way up to Pleasant Stile, across the meadows, there was a tree-stump at the top of the last field. It was high, about one and a half metres, and I used to climb up onto it and gaze at the horseshoe bend of the river below me and look over to the Cotswolds. It became my Forest of Dean crying place. I would sit and draw, breathe, cry and wonder at the world, then return home feeling lighter, relieved of my burdens. Looking the other way, I occasionally drew the view of May Hill in the distance.

What needs mentioning here, is that both of these places inspired me. When there, I took photos, did drawings, recorded sounds, collected flotsam and jetsam, read books. Not surprising that my professional work as a producer involves commissioning art for unusual locations and I wrote a book about the Severn.

Back to the now, this strange time when we are challenged by having both everything to do, and nothing to do, at the same time. One piece of exercise allowed outdoors a day, but where to go? The tree stump has been removed, to run a new track through the fields. Electric fences now zig-zag the hillside and the footpath is hard to follow. I miss it, but everything has its moment. Things change.

I decided I must relish my time outside, so I struck off for a walk in a direction I hadn’t been for many years, because last time I went the footpaths were untended and impossible to get through. I sought to try again, heartened by seeing someone from a distance walking there.

Suffice to say I have found a new crying place. At a time when everything else is moving fast and furious with unexpected twists and turns, I found the place to ground me, to escape to. Next to the Severn, my anchor. With open views and wildlife, washed up branches, quiet corners to lie down in, off the path.

My days of self-isolation are over. Yes, I am in my tiny house every day apart from the necessary outings for food. But now I have purpose – a new series of photographs and films so far, maybe some drawing when it gets warmer. There is a swing on a tree facing the river, with a railway behind it. The occasional passing trains fracture the soundscape, the roads are now very quiet. I swing. I film.

Sitting on the crooked wooden seat, I am in my happy place. Lying on the ground, looking up at the clouds, the tears scud down my face as I consider how special this world is, how good it is to be alive and to be able to lie there. Unseen, alone and coping (just).

The swing connects me with my creative inner child and lying on my back on the ground, my adult.

Right now, I need both, due to unstable horizons.

(also published onMedium)

associated video film:

 

 

PS I will have a new batch of copies of Severnside – An Artist’s View of The River for sale very soon. Get in touch if you want one – there will only be 100 copies available.

REACHING SATURATION POINT

Listening to the weather when I awake

It is unsettled and petulant

With a grey moody texture

Swishes of tyres, squelching of feet

The soundtrack of recent weeks

Puddles become pools become rivers

Heavy grey skies mirrored in a spectacular waterland

As far as the eye can see

Water defies boundaries, bursts banks, streams over bridges

Natures rule book sodden then swept away

Trees dance thrash then snap

Wrenched from the earth by turbulent storms

We have slipped, fallen, gone under

Into the depths of climate change

Yet still we build build build on flood plains

Our infrastructure crumbles

A saturated honeycomb of potholes 

A lonely island with fractures and fissures

In a state of collapse

We must listen to this saturated land