Since 23rd November it feels as though my life has been turned upside down. My husband of very many years had a stroke and we said our final goodbye on December 7th. We have always spent so much time together walking in the beautiful countryside and along the coast. Although he wasn’t a writer, we both shared a love of photography and he was always there to help me with selecting a good composition.
A few days after he had passed away I was out on a sunny, frosty morning with my camera and was very aware of him and what he would have been saying to me as we walked through the woodland and by the lochside. Moments like this I still feel that he is with me. The beauty of the natural world is a great comfort.
There is so much beauty to be found on a beach. Beachcombing is a very therapeutic occupation but we don’t need to collect everything that catches our eye – some shells and pebbles may find themselves on a shelf at home, but in some cases all we bring back are photographs.
This sculpture did have human hands as well as the power of the sea to create it.
While we are facing yet more months of limited socialising and mask wearing has become the norm, walking on a beach or through woodland restores peace of mind. We can breathe the fresh air, smell the scents of the natural world – more valuable than any bottled perfume on sale in the shops.
It’s been a month since I last wrote anything here. Partly because I’m now getting used to a new laptop and partly because life, other than the writing life has been dominated by too many other things.
Now, I have a week with more time and so hopefully I’ll get back into blogging again at least once a week. There are times when no matter how hard we try to prioritise things or rationalise which of the many demands on our time should be given priority, we end up not achieving as much as we had hoped.
So now, to quote Beckett – I am aiming to ‘fail better’. Trying to set aside a regular time to write has never been easy. It’s often a case of stretching the day – but going to bed two or three hours later than normal works better in the summer when the daylight hours stretch well into late evening here.
Why am I writing at all? There have been days when seeds of doubt begin to grow and I think that I’m wasting my time; more profitable time could be spent in the garden or the kitchen. Maybe I should focus more on developing my photography – and so my thoughts ramble on. In Chekov’s play The Seagull one of the characters, Trigorin – a celebrated writer has doubts about his ability and imagines people standing by his grave saying that ‘he was a clever writer but not as good as Turgenieff.’ Self doubt is not uncommon even among successful writers.
So, this hiatus has not just been because of ‘life’ getting in the way presenting other demands on my time. I have also been struggling to motivate myself to either write on this blog and also produce poetry that seems worth submitting somewhere.
However, some progress has been made with my photography. I have been persuaded to use something more than my little ‘point and shoot’ camera and actually take a step up the ladder and start using a camera that produces RAW as well as JPEG images so I can learn how to do some post processing. This is a steep learning curve.
A walk in the hills last week didn’t produce any poetry but it did give me the opportunity to work on some photographs – one of which I’ll place below.
We took one of the few fine days in the week to visit the wood. We knew that after all the rain we’d had, the waterfalls would be looking quite impressive. The following day, the forecast was that we were to have winds of over sixty miles per hour and heavy rain showers.
As we walked, it seemed hard to believe that there could be such a change in the weather, that tomorrow we would be watching rain streaming down the window panes and listening to the wind battering the trees and flowers.
This is the wood that we chose for our first walk after lockdown in the spring had eased, and we could walk further afield. (See my blog written on July 18th). On this day near the end of February, the sun was shining, the silhouetted branches of the trees were creating an intricate tracery that reminded me of the leaded lights in stained glass windows. Here though, there was just the one colour – a radiant blue, shining through.
Days like this make us really appreciate being alive and being able to get out and walk in beautiful surroundings. The pandemic has made us realise we need to live our lives to the full and make every day count.
It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up — that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross