(extracted from my field notes)
A day in the woods, making work with dead bluebell stalks that I had found in their hundreds lying all over the area…
Brought photo kit, but no string, and no brush (to mark and define edges). Gathered sticks into a little ‘brush’ with a view to binding them together with rootlets. Forgot to do it.
Worked for a number of hours with the stalks, making a trail of rings and tracks through the trees. Weather good, though less warm than a few weeks ago.
I like working close to the ground – slowly shedding layers of cultural programming and feeling very much a part of the surroundings. The birds don’t seem to mind me being there either – they obviously accept me as part of their surroundings too.
When eventually it came to taking photos – they did not look good.
The sun came out in its full glory, and I could not read my finished work for all the dazzling shifting blinding patches of sunlight. The images, viewed through the back of my camera showed huge patches of white everywhere, all in the wrong places. I was not happy.
Also, as I realise now, the work I was making was not appropriate for the white ‘ethereal look’ that I knew would happen to the stalks if I exposed for the trees and undergrowth.
And I could not get far enough away to make an interesting composition.
And, and, and…
I was not happy.
Determined not to go home feeling negative, I gathered up all the stalks I had used, and piled them in a circle around a handsome nearby tree, having a luxuriant growth of bright green moss at its base.
I was not sure about this either, but as I walked away, I could see that this simple circle made an excellent focal point for the whole area… drawing attention to the characteristics of tree, moss, land and plants, and inviting enquiry.
Finally, before I left, I wondered what it would be like to move like an animal, so I crawled along the ground, with video camera in hand. That was a bit of a disaster, so soon gave that up!
But I liked the closer proximity to the land, and the delicate but insistent scents that filled my nostrils.
The sort of simple solitary activity I have described is important to me (and I believe, of value to others) as I remember again who and what I really am – an intrinsic part of a living planet.