Long lost journeys
In 2019 I spent a few weeks travelling around England to meet up with friends and attend a photography workshop by Jacqui Hurst. It amazes me now how I took such a luxury for granted (two weeks unrestricted travels!!) but back then I could not imagine a pandemic hitting us so hard that we would end up staying put in one place for over a year. Now on the other hand, I look at the pictures and marvel at the freedom we all had. I'm not one of those people who would insist on my individual rights to not give a damn and go for jaunty adventures while the rest of the world sits still in lockdown. To me it is a question of solidarity with humankind to do my best not to spread the virus, and hence I am consigned to looking at old pictures instead of creating new memories.
It is not all bad, though, this looking through old pictures. In fact I'm quite enjoying it. Sometimes it feels like we all lived such a fast paced life that existence was more about doing than about being. 'Snap, snap, snap!' the camera went. Lots of new experiences, an album filled with pictures, but never the time to sit quietly and reflect on what I had seen or done. Afterwards, all the impressions blend into a fuzzy feeling without any definition. Now looking back on it through old photographs, I can se how the yellow and blue borders please my senses deeply and I think about my own borders and the tweaking that needs to be done in spring to make them more harmonious. I look at the sweet pet cemetery below, and reflect on planting hardy shrub roses and raising a commemorating stone or cross at our own little pet cemetery. And in these reflections I remember why I used to love travelling and I muse on the importance of inspiration in my work. Having sat still for so many months I have felt quite uninspired, but now with the spring light returning I find inspiration in the still life pictures of long lost journeys.
It is not just the compositions of plantings or the well placed garden decorations that gives me inspiration to improve my own garden. It is also the details in the flowers themselves; so intricate and multifaceted, and in all their simplicity they act as the cornerstone to life itself. My neighbour from across the lake came over the other day with jars of his own honey and I was humbled to be part of a so much bigger a network than I just my gardens. They feed off my flowers, these hard working bees, and pollinate everything that is growing around us on this little peninsula while buzzing around. I would never use pesticides or chemicals in my gardens, but knowing these tiny little troopers are why I get apples in the orchard or beets and potatoes in the vegetable plot make me all the more evangelical about being an organic farmer and gardener. I try not to preach, but it is hard to stay quiet when everything I love depends on how well we humans take care of the world around us. We can do better I think, and off I go in another rant about making ethical ecological choices. Not travelling for a year wasn't a voluntary ecological action, but now with hindsight I see that I can make much more sustainable choices in my future travels. And there, in a loop, I am back to where I started. Long lost journeys and finding my way home.