It was once said to me that “everything that you need to photograph is within the confines of where you live” good advice but right now spending my creative time looking in and exploring the hidden gems within my own domestic environment is not for me. Surely the most comfortable and harmonious of homes under lockdown 23hrs a day must feel like an entrapment at times. Thankfully the weather has been merciful with its sunshine and warmth, respite from the background hum of Covid-19 deaths, related concerns and the myriad of online distractions that turn a quick peek at the phone into browsing frenzy through numerous fb comments (which seems to be the site for sharing one’s thoughts with fellow minded souls) and travels through Twitter with disbelief at the continued stream of support for Donald Trump, even after his comments to the assembled press, American people and the world at large, that injecting Dettol is a good idea! I even ended up getting into some online banter with a supporter opposed to the lockdown in the States, the exchange was surprisingly civil as we agreed to differ, even so, the process of heading down such curious routes (for me anyway) eventually leads to an overwhelming sense of irritation and futility.
So, I wake up today determined to avoid such anxiety provoking ventures. Beginning with The Cure (literally) and the album Seventeen Seconds which I have not listened to for a long time. For some reason I don’t have it on vinyl and had to listen to it online, but it still sounds good, in fact I’d say excellent. I’ve always thought that the album cover was one of the best – one that suits the vibe of the music perfectly. I am alternating between listening and drifting; The Cure seems to be working for me but don’t tell Donald that.
After a bite to eat (mushroom pate in a wrap if you must know) it’s that time again. Today, a solitary trip to some nearby woods which I discovered a week or so into Lockdown. It’s become a sanctuary of sorts, a place to see into the trees. The ground is festooned in carpets of wild garlic and bluebells, a steep winding pathway leads to meandering singular channels used by the occasional dog walker to the place where I want to be. It’s clear that some twilight visitors have lit a bonfire the night before and several other times too but this is the place where I intend to be creative – working with the remaining pieces of charred wood that rest at the edge of a bed of white and still-warm ash. But first, those revellers whoever they were, have annoyingly left a couple of empty bottles and assortment of plastic food packaging that I gather up into a pile to re-cycle at home.
That done, I begin the process of gathering and rearranging the remaining pieces of burnt wood into differing configurations within an allotted time frame. All around the abundance of nature is clearly evident and I appreciate the moment. I am happily lost in this place and this activity, further afield beyond the trees I think of the countless millions who are gathering their own thoughts and rearranging their lives within the framework of Lockdown.
Words & Images © Brian Gibson 2020