Saturday, 17 October 2015

Woodland Creatures

I don't want to talk anymore about counting time, or seasons or counting rhymes. Let its serene workings speak for itself through photographs for a little while. Although nature and change is endlessly enchanting and fascinating, I fear I may talk it to death and so lets look at the moments within moments. Time within time, frozen in a journal entry to be relived and relived until they corrode. To be experienced by others and shared and interpreted. Let the years not be years but merge into one timeline- our timeline. Time is free flowing and no two seasons are exactly the same. Oh darn, I mentioned the 'S' word.  

I'm thoroughly enjoying my final year at Uni so far - particularly my course module 'Writing a novel for young people'. I am working on a book called 'The Archipelago of Skye" influenced by my love for the original Oz tales, meteorology and Da Vinci flying craft. I'm reading again and what's delightful, is that for my module I am allowed to read children's literature and it's completely accepted. What's more, is it's celebrated. This week I read 'Skellig' by David Almond for the first time  and I was enchanted by it's delicate themes of fragility and death with a story as brittle, tender and dreamlike as it's characters. Despite an incredibly small world setting; barely leaving the neighbourhood, it wrapped me up like a blanket and made my heart flutter like the wings of a little bird - a motif that is recurrent within the story. 

George is searching for his place within the world, and so to escape the monotony of a tiresome full time job, we took a trip to the deer park nearby Bath in South Gloucestershire. I used to work here once upon a time in a world not long ago and because I have a national trust pass and a free ticket from my other job, we got free entry to wander the grounds spotting the Roe deer herd and taking in the majestic trees and rolling landscape. The open space allowed us to breathe and simply be, and for us those moments are precious. When little is required of us, we can simply take each others hand and exist together, marvelling every so often at the leaves floating from the trees and young bucks playing together. Did you know George's Dad wanted to call him 'Leaf' when he was a baby? I always enjoy this story because I think it would be delightfully funny if George was named Leaf. I think it would sort of suit him, but I'd have to resist menacing him with a lifetime supply of foliage related puns like 'Leaf me alone' and 'I would Lychen him to a Maple since he's part Canadian'. Oh okay, who am I kidding, my leaf puns are dire. Can you guys help me out? There'll be a high five for the best leaf related pun in the comments. 

'I wanted to build them, those pictures. I wanted to make them tangible. I longed to prove somehow that they existed and so I painted my story in chalk on the concrete, every chapter, every memory and thought decorating the path outside our house. It began with the jasmine and rose hand wash – cool water on my fingers and that ruinous soap. I recognised the smell instantly and the wall that I had built an age ago crumbled against the tide. I remembered the other family, the other place and the other world. Slowly, the new existence that I had crafted for myself began to fade and the voices of those I had learned to love sounded like a television playing in another room. The old world began to visit me in my dreams and I slowly forgot the names of my parents. The memories spilled from me the way that rock-pools overflow when the sea comes in.  I drew on the walls, the garden table and the car with my white chalk. The boy who professed to be my lover shook me and begged me to return to him but I had forgotten his name too - he was unremarkable. All I could smell was the Jasmine and Rose soap when I sat in the shower, letting the water fall on my face and thinking of that infinite summer in France by the lake. With the memory of that summer, I felt the gentle bite of the long winter after that had broken me. It was reminding me that it was patient and that it had waited - that winter that I had kept on the other side of the wall. I told it that it had to wait, because I was making the pictures and I wanted so much to look at them again and give back their reality. When I finished, I dropped my chalk to the floor and smiled at my story in all of its chapters. For precious moments, there was a portal to an old life once lived. The light dimmed as a dark cloud covered the sunshine and I felt the droplets of autumn rain in my hair. The boy who I had forgotten took my hand and covered us with an umbrella while the shower washed away the marks I had made on the pavement. I watched them over my shoulder, as they ran away down the gutter, the marks that had reanimated a chapter I could never return to.

After watching the rain wash away my former world, I finally accepted that there was nothing to be gained in nostalgia so we went inside and waited for winter to come'

-A sudden prose that I wrote last year-

Little by little, I will start sharing short stories on my blog. For some - I wish to accompany them with photographs because that's how I started writing again properly. I needed a story for the photographs, or a photographs for the story. They sort of mingled and fell together and have become something essential to me. 
I suppose I could also tell you the hat story, a true story this time. The story of a yellow hat, yes, THAT hat, the one in these photographs. 
            One winter evening, a boy and a girl chased each other on a moonlight beach beneath constellations and an inky black sky throwing the hat about. The girl being clumsy, grabbed the hat from the boy but slipped in the sand and they both fell about laughing. They giggled and lay next to each other and stared up at the stars listening to their breathing, beating hearts and the crashing December ocean. The boy turned to took at her and she looked at him. He pulled together his courage and kissed her on the mouth. She kissed him back. 
             Today, they lived charmed lives and always look up at the stars with fondness and intensity, because it was the stars that gave them the bravery, the courage to trust in each other with their hearts and souls. And they never forget to thank the yellow hat. 


Tomorrow, it's back to work. Back to working two jobs and taking naps in the spare hours in between.   But it's okay, if it's one thing I've learned - it's that nothing is forever. There'll be a wondrous moment again shortly and all will be well. 



  1. Your writing is sumptuous Sarah. You make me imagine wide spaces, beautiful moments and a freedom and yet intensity of life within one.
    The photos are glorious! What a majestic deer! I love him!
    The hat story is beautiful and it was constellations and the night sky that gave me and my now husband (both incredibly shy) the bravery to kiss each other!x

    1. Wow! That night sky has been bringing lovers together since the very beginning :) It's the true match maker ^_^ It would be amazing for there to exist a collection of individual true love stories written by peoples account of the night sky's match making services :D I'd love to read it! x

  2. I love taking a moment to escape to your blog, your writing is the perfect solution for a stressful day. I really want to draw a yellow hat now, after reading that story. It makes me wonder what other ordinary objects/things have brought other couples together. x

  3. Gosh, your writing is absolutely gorgeous. What a treat! I am feeling all of the warm fuzzies. Your first kiss with lovely! My first kiss with Connor wasn't quite so romantic. :P I tripped and ended up kissing his chin.

    THOSE STAGS. OH MY GOD. How close were you? I just showed Connor and he immediately said, 'oh cool, those deer have trees on their heads'.

    I love your writing! You are meant to be an author and a photographer and a fairy and an astronaut!

    - Laura

  4. Hypnotic and bewitching :)
    This is beautiful Sarah, as always!
    Thank you for reminding us of the importance of simple things and best of luck with the course. I know the work you produce will be wonderful
    Abel x

  5. Wow Love your pictures =]

  6. This is just WONDERFUL. Photography, writing... is there anything you can't do? Your words are incredibly beautiful, as are your photos (and aah, I love roe deer so much - they're such majestic creatures), and I love how they compliment one another. I definitely look forward to seeing more of your short stories. Best of luck with uni and work!

    Mimmi xx
    Muted Mornings

  7. Wow what gorgeous photos and writing! You've really captured the idea of autumn perfectly and the colours of the photos are beautiful. xx


© The Salty Sea Blog. All rights reserved.