Rain

I have begun walking the south west coast path, you could say scouting locations for my final MA project, but no I have begun it properly. Scouting is part of my research, but I consider that I have started. 
On my walk from Maidencombe to Watcombe I have found a beautiful wooded area. I was in these woods when a shower of rain started. It was not heavy, but enough to come through the leaves and create perfect droplets on the leaves. The sound was exquisite and is impossible to describe, which is not good for a writer. It is best summed up by the poem by Walt Whitman. 
“And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,

Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer,

as here translated:

I am the poem of earth…”

Walt Whitman, The Voice of the Rain

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The Lure of the Water

Water has two effects…one it is calming the other is terror. For a lot of people in the world at the moment it is causing a lot of pain and fear. People trying to escape oppressive regimes in boats that are either overcrowded or not seaworthy. For other there is a fear of tropical storms which raise towns and villages to the ground causing death and destruction.

I am fortunate, I do not live in an area where I need to escape with my family to be able to live safely, nor do I live with the fear of tropical storms or hurricanes. I grew up by the sea and currently live by the sea. I have never been far from water in my life…either rivers or lakes. I like to holiday where there is water and be able to walk by the river if I am in a city.

Even though I have a romantic view of water: with a feeling of calm and serenity, I am fully aware of the power and strength of the water. That if you do not respect the water it will find a way bring that reality to bear.

I love the water, I have decided to base part of my MA project around the water. Being by the sea gives me an opportunity for reflection that is not always possible anywhere else. The draw of the horizon line, wondering what is out there and if I could get there what would I find? The idea of searching for something greater than myself, in whatever form that is, is something that I want to explore by walking part of the South West Coast Path.

Spitsbergen

Ice fascinates me, as does the lure of the north…the high north, basically Iceland and above! I have been reminiscing this evening about my trips to Spitsbergen in 2011 and 2012. It is a long time ago, but I can still feel the cold on my face, the wind in my hair and the beautiful, crisp fresh air.

I had dreamed about visiting Spitsbergen and the landscapes did not disappoint, they were beyond anything I have ever seen or could have imagined. Mountains, glaciers, ice flows, wildlife, flowers it was all so stunningly unspoilt.

As well as visiting many different glaciers and walking along beaches and visiting hunters cabins we visited settlements such as Pyramiden and Barentsburg which are former Soviet mining towns, Ny Alesund which is full of research stations from around the world and the ‘capital’ Longyearbyen. These settlements were so different and it was fascinating to get an insight into these different regions which have vastly different purposes.

As I stood in these landscape I thought about the will and survival of the animals and people to allow them to proposer here. Animals are full of courage and survive instincts while humans also full of courage are geared more towards hope than survival.

Talking to the people who live in these regions about the long dark winters is when you hear the stories of what is seemingly survival, but when you look further into it what they are really talking and feeling is hope. Hope for the arrival of the first light, hope that the snow ploughs work, hope the supplies can arrive and don’t run out. The hope of the families that are with them.

Hope is a beautiful thing and something we tend to value all to little in this world of materialistic elements. In these places you are stripped of everything, it doesn’t matter which iPhone you have, or how big your car is…it is about the hope that the sun will soon rise up above the horizon again.

My Masters…

I am just about to start the final year of my Masters degree in Photography. I am full of excitement and trepidation as I love the research and the photographing – but what I don’t particularly enjoy are the sessions where we are with our tutors and the rest of the group.

There are times last year where I got nothing out of some of the sessions…believe me I tried, but when all day (and I mean all day) is spent listening intently to everyone else project, and then realising you are last and most people (we are a group of 10) have had to leave early is not good practice. Also the clock is ticking as the remaining students and tutors want to get a certain train home and it turns out you get less than 10 minutes to talk about your work (when others have had an awful lot more time than that). It’s not fun and when I was struggling with a mind-block on my work it made it even more unhelpful.

I am incredibly lucky to be doing an MA, my mother never had the opportunity and my grandmother (aged 99) didn’t have the chance to even contemplate going to university. So in a way I should not be complaining, but these situations are not how I learn. It is that simple. My time is limited and I need every moment available to work on my project and talk to people about my work. Not sit in a room and watch the clock. It is difficult to gain ideas from other peoples work because all our projects and ideas are so very, very different.

So, I will be going in with a different, more upfront attitude. I need to get things out of the sessions and I intend to. This is the final module and I want to have the advice and help I need.

Just another blog…

There are thousands of blogs around the world perpetuating the same things: life styles, hopes and dreams, baking, photography and many others. This is my blog, falling into all of those categories and none of those categories because it is mine and mine alone.

So why am I writing this? Well, I need an outlet to write and think out loud. I realised at some point over the summer that a journal was not going to work. I needed something where I could talk to the wind at any time of the day or night without scratching round for a pen that worked and a post-it note. So Devon Sweet Pea was born at lunchtime on 9th September 2016. I am in the final year of my part time MA in photography as well as teaching 3 days a week at a further education college and am in need of this space to write and think.