I’ve no idea how many times I’ve walked the loop road between our village and the next. At a very conservative estimate I calculate it to be in excess of 2000. It has been 14 years.
Over the past 12 months, it’s gained a life, and a lifeline, of its own, and my senses have tuned into things that I’ve either overlooked or failed to fully appreciate. These have found their way into my practice, and what has now become a little series of books: shadows on the lane (Essential), flora in the verge (feeding into my acrylic attempts in colour, motif and mark making).
Sadly there isn’t an abundance of wildflowers - it’s a heavily grazed and fertilised regime here - but that makes me appreciate the grasses even more, from sunlight through new green, to their tactile emerging flowers, to their seed heads. I’ve collected materials with which to make marks - some more successful than others. While I’ve neglected them a little over the winter, they’ve crept back into my conscience recently. If you keep looking you see anew.
After the snow and wind had pushed the stems around I began to notice patterns within the flattened clumps. Perhaps too there’s a parallel - we’re all winter worn, and weary, this year. At first that was enough to prompt the idea of adding to my collection of 'Covidious' books. But as soon as I began to look for compositions, I noticed the way that they had been pressed and formed against the dry stone walls.
And then even the tangle of woody plants resolved itself from simply being unkempt into line and pattern, and became a part of it. Finally the ropes of twisted bindweed enveloped me, and have become new favourites while we all wait. It's been a long winter.
The title, and the introductory text, came readily:
FOR WINTER TO END. FOR LONGER DAYS. FOR BIRDSONG AND BLUE SKY. FOR WARMER WEATHER. FOR GROWTH TO BEGIN. FOR SPRING. FOR GREEN.
FOR THE NUMBERS TO COME DOWN. FOR VACCINES. FOR LOCKDOWN TO END. TO GET A HAIR CUT. TO SEE FAMILY AND FRIENDS. FOR A RETURN TO NORMALITY.
This week a bust of welcome warmth has begin the greening but many of us are still waiting.
If the quiet conversation of the verge talks to you too, a Limited Edition of 5 handmade books is now available, with the first two offered at a special introductory price. It is, after all, Easter, and it should be a Happy one.