Rites

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Louie has a knife. A small, blue handled Opinel. It’s round ended blade folds into it’s wooden self, small collar locking it into place.

The sun is shining into the kitchen. A week before he turns seven he wakes and finds a small present in place of breakfast. Face open with surprised excitement he rips it open. He gasps. Mouth agape, eyes wide. He is delighted with this gift. Breakfast forgotten he runs outside, still pyjama clad, to find a stick to carve. He settles himself happily, outside the kitchen door, working away. Later this day he has a carving session at his forest school. His favourite activity there. He is proud to take his own knife. Enabled to work continuously throughout the session without turn-taking with the shared equipment. He sits in the sun, eschewing all other activities to focus on his new tool.

He understands how to use this knife. How and why to correctly position himself. Back in the garden neighbours and friends come to watch him work.

‘You’re in my blood bubble’ he tells them. Pausing his activity to explain where they may safely observe. He is engaged, vital. Commanding his activity.

In a former life I spent many years working with ‘disengaged’ youth. Young folks not buying into the main currents of education, society, civilisation. Described by those who ‘knew’ as not engaging, disenfranchised, offending. Powerful words to paint a youth that consciously choose to distance themselves, set themselves against ‘proper folk’. These young people were neither in control nor choosing of their circumstance. They are disempowered. Caught and trapped in the entanglement of disadvantage.

A large part of working with young folks involved teaching weapons awareness. Large numbers of urban boys carry knives. Not knowing why, other than it is exciting, empowering, what others do. Many hours were spent explaining the dangers of carrying a knife. Describing the horrific aftershocks of an attack. Breaking down the effects of escalation.

Time after time we told these boys ‘You must never carry a knife’.

Louie takes his knife. Carefully folds and locks it before passing it to me to store in the agreed safe spot. He follows safety rules and advice. He whittles away at various sticks. He carries it safely. He feels empowered. He respects this tool for it’s uses and dangers. He feels respected that he is regarded old enough. Responsible enough to own such an instrument. At seven he has experienced a small rite of passage. It gives him power.

Knives masquerade power for the city boys. Without teacher or mentor in how and why we use such a tool it becomes a weapon. A dislocated, confused rite without passage. a desperate search for empowerment.

Western civilisation is not a one-size-fits-all arrangement. It’s expectations, structure, ensnares many. Holds them down, clips their wings…

And scapegoats them for societies ills.

These boys needs are manyfold and complex. But perhaps a shift in curriculum focus. Change of perception. Perhaps allowing mentored time outdoors. Using tools, building fire – The basic elements that set humans apart – could offer them a foundation to use tools safely, appropriately. To understand a knife is not necessarily a destructive force. That there is power in using this item to make. To create. Could offer them rites to pass into and through childhood.

Louie carves butter knives, tent pegs, toy daggers and swords. He carves decoration into magical wands and walking staffs. Endlessly returning to his projects. His own knife. His own tool. One of his own creative forces.

Like Twilights

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I sit in bed. Small girl to my right. She pulls herself in to me until we are connected along the length of our arms. I am jotting notes in my diary. A task I do each night before settling to sleep. She watches me then runs to get her ‘diary’ and some pens before settling in drawing flowers. She chatters away. About what she is drawing, what I am doing and making suggestions for flowers in my diary. I am quiet.

Finishing up I say ‘I’m going to sleep now’

‘No!’ she looks at me indignantly.

‘Why don’t you keep writing Mummy? Why don’t you write about what fun you had at the red tent?’

When I do not reply she looks at me inquisitively ‘Yes mummy?’

Not waiting for a reply she turns back to her diary. She has filled it with sunflowers and a powerful crown. Like twilights.

I am tired, so tired. And the small girl goes on. And she goes on. A little night owl, revelling in these stolen moments. Stolen, i think, from my sleep. She never slept as a baby. Not during the day and not in the night. Daytime naps were dropped before turning a year and nights remain foggy in my memories. A haze of feeding, holding, singing, crying. Me crying. All vital energy drained through depravation of sleep. Leaving a tiredness so heavy it was almost more than I could carry. Basic functions eluded comprehension. A clear memory of a hazy day sees me sat on the edge of my bed. Gazing, agape. Delving deep, trying to grasp within, the connections in my mind. Not understanding how to make my clothes work. And giving up with the stark realisation that today would not be a day we would leave the house.

‘Please can you finish your flower mummy’ an instruction not a question. Her pages of flowers wearing crowns grow. With heavy eyes and sluggish mind I love this moment. Our ‘sleep is for sissies’ phases are now simply that. Short phases. And once asleep my little night owl refuses to rouse early.

So little moments in the dark. Just us. Just two, are to be cherished. Savoured. Saved and remembered. Balm to heal ancestral wounds between us and set us on a journey of lasting amicability. I neither take these moments for granted nor expect it to always be this way. Her delight in our moments together. Drawing close. Colourful flowers and magical crowns. The insecurity in navigation of the mother daughter relationship agitates my nerves.

We are bonded deeply, with long held traditions and values. We carry much from our mothers but they also provide us with the images of what we want to break free from. We assess from their lives what we want to carry forward in our own and what is surplus. That which we choose to reject. And the bonds that nurture us through childhood can become a strangling web. And our mother is the image of what it means to be a woman. How to conduct, be, cope. In a world that is ill equipped to support what is truly feminine. Motherhood, menstruation, creativity, community. Young girls are instructed through a misogynistic media in ‘how to be a girl’ leaving little space for influence in ‘how to be female’. Disunion.

And so I try to prepare the way for when Maia needs to both push away from me yet hang fast to the feminine influence. Mayhap that as I grow my role as her ally she will understand that to reject traits does not mean to reject me.  Or that I in any way reject her for growing into her own beautiful womanliness. A magnificent blooming sunflower bedecked in magical crown.

But now we have our quiet times. Night times. The feminine time. Writing, drawing, chatting. Growing our understanding of each other.

Before we go

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I am sat on an underground train. I am watching my child. Recovering. Quiet. Resting. I look at his face; long, drawn down in sadness. His eyes dark and red rimmed peering over two oversized balloons. His mouth hanging open in a gentle O. His eyes gaze, empty, into nothing around him. I feel bruised. We have weathered a small storm. Louie grips his balloons tighter and brings them to his chest. Neither triumph nor victory that he carries them with him.

Leaving the house I fretted about the balloons. Almost bigger than him and floating along behind on a straggle of ribbon. I knew they would be caught up, blown about, blown away. I saw how I must end up carrying them along as they become too cumbersome. Man, I hated those balloons for what they were about to put me through.

So I’d bargained. Whined. Suggested. ‘How about we leave the gallons here?’ ‘What if they pop?’ ‘What if we lose them?’ What if they get taken off you at the tube station?’ Until my boy is in tears. Sobbing with grief between the choices of abandoning the beloved balloons at his grandparents or losing them to London underground staff. And my frustration gathers momentum. Those bloody balloons. Already bringing so much stress to my day. To my time, To my plans. And I am unable to comfort him as his grief and my anger become a swirling vortex between us. Each of us feeling out of control trying to grasp something, anything, that we can call our own.

We push on. The station approaches. Louie gathers the balloons. Holds them close to himself. Fat tears plummet over his cheeks.

Suddenly realisations smacks. Pulls me up and blows my head clear. I have been stuck in a train of thought. I have aligned myself with a stressful unhappy day. And I have brought this day to my children. I have missed the magical imagination at play. The joy and fun brought by these temporary toys. I have frowned and fretted and wound up this unhappy scene. And I see how my son is more than capable of solving the problems that I so readily conjure. He will handle these oversized balloons through small and overcrowded spaces.

And I am watching him. Small. Drained, and I must make this good. I lean over and stroke his hair. He looks up at me.

‘I love you’ I say.

He leans in and I kiss his head. He looks intently into my eyes. He knows I did wrong. I know I did wrong. It takes the smallest words and actions to re-align a whole day to the right tracks.

There is a strange dynamic as we hurtle through life together. The rights, wrongs and unknowns of family. Motherhood is a precarious balance of holding fast and loosing control. The intensity of love for my children is both a wonder and terrific goliath. I would lay myself prostrate in shit if they so much as needed a bridge but I resent a childish request to bring balloons on a train. I would lay my life out on the line for them but would really rather they just left me alone from 7.30pm onwards. I find myself in a dichotomy of motherhood. It is so much of what makes me yet it smothers so much that I call myself.

We rattle on together. Underground. Quietly contemplating our depths.

We will emerge, eventually. Nothing said.

And endure on onwards.

Thriving together.

Sometimes you get to see the sea

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I often think about this blog, it’s new for me but I find it a great place to refocus things that happen around me and make sense of them. But I’m also aware that others read it… And that stops me somehow, like I need to reassure myself that everyone’s happy, from really delving into the darker, shadow sides of living.

And that’s where I’m looking for balance. The incessant striving to find the happy, the bright, the lovely things is leaving me dry. There’s a whole load of stuff I don’t write about or explore because it might bring up something of the darker side that I try so hard to stuff down and assure myself I don’t really have.

At times life is just shit. With so many of the immense joys and mild happiness I experience is an opposing depth of feelings that I often ignore. Or give them an inferior status. Like boredom. Anxiety. Depression. Frustration and Anger. It feels taboo to talk about such things with people other than your closest. We all assume a persona that tells the world and ourselves that all is rosy. Except a persona has the uncanny knack of slipping. Then, alone, we air our darker selves.

So how about me, my anecdote for a blog post? Right now we are riding low, down in the trough of a financial wave. Week on week I watch the money coming in and the money going out and pour hours into finding ways to stretch it further. We rely heavily on tax credits and housing benefits and the austerity squeeze is leaving us gasping for breath. We no longer function in ways that I recognise as a ‘normal’ family. And we are falling into the trap of poor people making poor decisions. Hearing my son tell his friends ‘we can’t do that. We’re poor’ shocks me into the realisation that this is not what I want to be the identity of my family. But when there’s no cash there’s only so many ways you can tell a kid they can’t have; trips out, new toys, new shoes, food. And there’s the trough, looking in the cupboard and lacking even the basic ingredients to rustle up healthy snacks. I comb through blogs and recipes ‘gluten free on a shoestring’, ‘economical homesteaders’ and such like but find nothing that can inspire me with a nourishing meal whipped up from half a cabbage, a bit of squash from the garden, some gluten free flour, rice milk and rice. There the darker emotions set in. The anxiety that we are tripping along the edge of complete financial meltdown, the stress that we cannot provide for our family and the fear that others might find out. That we have failed.

I skim through Facebook looking at posts, articles, updates and photographs. And I am confronted by a dichotomy. The pages I follow fill my feed with articles of despair, suffering and how the structures of civilisation that we have upheld for so long are crushing so many. Here, there and far far away. We pass notes between each other highlighting the ‘other’ darkness. And we share anecdotes, updates and pictures showing how much fun we’re having and how well we’re doing. And it all makes me wonder if, really, we share the bad stuff to make our stuff feel good.

We do not question whether, in fact, we are the entirely oppressed. Born into a life of entitlement filled with the need to consume, consume, consume! That we must continually strive to achieve…. What exactly? We lack communities that support us, strong bonds and networks between families, friends and neighbours that mean no matter what shows up we have a team the size of a large village backing our response. And we reassure ourselves that it’s ok, that we are the lucky ones. We have no war, no famine, no disease, no worries that we are the same people that perpetuate these horrors amongst those we do not see each day.

And like I said sometimes life is just shit. The boredom sets in, the anxiety that perhaps we are not quite reaching our potential as we measure ourselves against a rotten and decayed yardstick. We do not openly talk about the chronic sleep deprivation, the vague unhappiness within relationships, the fear that we cannot ever overcome the shadows that haunt us, the financial worries and stresses that take over our minds and bring illness to our bodies. Because to voice such thoughts feels to give away that we have failed. Keep it quiet and we still have a chance to win.

But back to finding balance. There is much that I am now learning. As I have through every other trough. The deeper the trough the deeper the learning and how much fuller the joy, the knowledge and good feeling as I raise up and out. Now, the less my family is able to engage in ‘civilised activities’ (you know, going out for meals, a quick pint, anything that costs anything) the further back I am able to stand and reflect. I am given the opportunity to stop and really question what is right and good here? And how do I relate to it all? There is so much that confronts me, that angers me and fires me with a rage that such things can happen and I become acutely aware that our trough is a mere dip compared to what others are being put through each day. That we are blessed and abundant in so many ways. That what we no longer participate in is merely superficial rituals of wealth, whereas, in that which truly matters; love friendship fun, we are truly wealthy. I am learning the true meaning of abundance, how to pull further and further from a flawed and damaging economy and build ever stronger links with others who create alternative economies. How to shift my perceptions and see how well we are provided for in all that we need, how to create much from very little. And yes, I can whip up whole ranges of interesting and tasty meals from the oddest of ingredients!

So what is the point of it? Well, perhaps, if we opened up and shone light into the shadowy areas, if we could face up to them, recognise and name them, if we voiced them and shared them as the ebbs and flows of living, we could better ride the inevitable crests and troughs while maintaining a balance that keeps us all afloat. Maybe if we shared the downs as well as the ups we would recognise patterns and see how we can make little changes that improve life for everyone. Perhaps, we could own up to the depths of destruction that are carried out in our name and realise that we have the sovereignty to say ‘no’. Just maybe, we’ll realise that fundamentally things aren’t that alright and that we have the capacity to grow ourselves the communities that can bring changes.

And what about the current trough? It’s a wave, sometime soon we’ll be on the crest.

‘There are times when life seems like a struggle, where the only reward you get for hanging on is the chance to struggle some more. It’s a heavy toll. But it’s a fine ride and sometimes you get to see the sea.’ – MMS

8h k y LOuiE L tent

LOuiE L tent

 

I’m moving around the flat, getting things sorted out for the kids bed time. Gathering pyjamas, checking what needs to go in the wash and what is clean enough to wear again. The bath is running and I call to them both to come through to the bathroom.

There’s no answer. I carry on pottering away. Picking up used towels and relocating toys and household stuff to it’s usual home. I call again.

Maia tends to wander round at this time of night with her head half cocked murmuring and singing to herself. Quietly ignoring any request made of her. Louie is often open and attentive in the evening and becomes well focused on books and projects. I get ready to start rounding them both up. Unusually, they are in the same place. I find them in their room, leaving together, heading for the bathroom.

Then I spot the graffiti. We have a loose agreement in our house that they may ‘decorate’ their own items any way they like. (Just not the blummin walls!) Louie has been writing along the top of his play tent.

It says:  nm e  h8 L6bF K y  M

Not going to school has meant that Louie has not had any formal lessons in reading and writing… ever. We occasionally look at workbooks and he has sometimes used an online reading app called reading eggs. But these have been sporadic and he has not shown much interest in either. However, we read. We read everyday. Short stories, baby books, magazines, longer stories; we have a home full of books. And both children look at books alone. Maia likes to ‘read’ the stories she knows well. At any one time Louie has a largish stack of children’s graphic novels that he ‘reads’ alone.

I have not felt a need to support either child with literacy. At times I have felt a vague pressure from myself to make sure that they are at the appropriate level, whatever that might mean, but have resisted the urge to sit them down and focus on either literacy or numeracy. Or any other given subject for that matter. I follow a parenting theory called ‘make-it-up-as-you-go-along-parenting’. I read and discuss many various parenting and educating theories and ideas and borrow those that feel intuitive and work well with our family. So in this vein we loosely follow un-schooling methods of education.

“This is also known as interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning. Lately, the term “unschooling” has come to be associated with the type of homeschooling that doesn’t use a fixed curriculum. When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear.” – Pat Farenga, Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling

So reading and writing can come whenever the child is ready. Louie’s been confident writing his name for a while. It started appearing on scraps of paper, along his bed and bookcase and of course on cards for others. Then he stopped. He knew the letters in his name and that was enough as far as he was concerned. Until he learned how to write Maia’s name. It just sort of happened accidentally. He was just showing her how to write it more neatly and suddenly it was another word in his writing repertoire.

Then he began reading. First spotting individual letters (thank you reading eggs for the first few letters!). Then full words. He got excited to see a Jack Daniels poster on the underground. ‘Look daddy! Look! Look! It says Jack and there’s a guitar!’ And just this week as we drove into Stanmer Park pointed out a banner saying ‘Look mummy it says Apple Day. Is it today?’

And then today. The hieroglyphics across the play tent showing the first inklings of coherence. He’d copied a few letters from a little heart that read ‘Cheeky Monkey’. A clear K and Y just along from a couple of h’s. Followed by his name, half in capitals which he is starting to experiment with. I ask if he’d like it to read ‘Louie’s Tent’. He says yes so I tell him he needs to start with T. Straight off he puts up a t, albeit with a bit of a tail. Then another without, e and n go up easily and the last t without a thought.

I don’t know where he has learned these letters, how to go from left to write, to keep the letters at a similar size and in a straight line. Without focusing time, effort and concentration he has absorbed a knowledge and he is in the first stages of applying to his need. It reminds me of watching him learn to talk, or to walk. Both fundamental human skills, both acquired without lessons or training. And so I aim to support both children in acquiring this human skill in much the same way, by speaking and reading words clearly to them, by modelling how to do it, by holding their hands when necessary and giving them a hug and a kiss if they fall over/miss a word/do something really cute!

At first it was difficult to trust that the children could learn all that they need to learn in an undirected way. Until I realised the issue was not the ability of the children to learn but a cultural attitude to prescribing what children should learn and when. In our home educating adventure the more and more I let go of the traditional ideas of ‘teaching and learning’ the more I am able to see just how much the children learn each day. How much richer and fuller their knowledge is because they are learning in every single opportunity rather than being taught what is prescribed by others.

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”
George Bernard Shaw

And Maia… at three she has her numbers down. All the way to 100. And she’s beginning basic addition and subtraction. How does she do it? I have no idea, she certainly doesn’t get it from me!

On Play

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I watch my daughter (aged 3) sitting quietly, playing with her small figures and dolls. She is building communities amongst them. They are kind and co-operative with each other. She is building her own version of a good society and reflects the cultural practices she sees around her. She also thrills in playing superheroes and defending us all from ‘bad guys’. She runs and yells and explores the feelings of fear, excitement, anticipation and victory through imaginative play.

My son (aged 6) constructs more elaborate games with friends that enable them to simulate scary or challenging environments. I watch him with his friends playing amongst trees and bushes on a slippery bank. It is difficult for them to climb and they frequently lose each other amongst the growth. They play a game that involves getting each other to the top of the bank.  They develop teamwork skills helping each other in difficult parts, they shout instructions to each other and they escalate a sense of danger amongst themselves that makes this task thrilling and adventurous. I see in the childrens faces the weight of this endeavour. They experience peril and danger and solve problems together to overcome challenges. They glow with the pride of their achievement as they reach their goal.

As I type my children are playing in our communal garden, with other children from our block of flats. They are creating a restaurant. They are developing their physical skills as they rearrange the space, they are learning about edible foods as they forage from our herb and vegetable beds. They are learning to work together and delegate roles to each other. They are developing communication skills as they discuss how best to do things and learning about relationships with friends. They are playing out an adult situation but entirely under their control.

Play offers children the chance to ‘try out’ adult situations, to transform the world about them into a more understandable form. I believe that most learning happens through play for both younger and older children. I believe that most learning happens through play for all of us.

The value of interdependence

 

I was up and out of the house at 5am. Sleepy, excited and nervous to venture out alone. I lugged my bag over to the waiting taxi.

‘Where to?’

‘The station, please’

I asked the driver whether he was starting or ending his day. He told me it was the end of a long shift. The dawn light barely cracked the the sky ahead of us as we traveled east towards the station. The shining beacon of lights around a small church caught my attention then faded as we moved onwards. The station was also quiet. A mix of people waiting for the early trains up towards London gathered around the concourse. Commuters, suited and smart with wheeled suitcases looked up at the departure boards. Efficiently waiting for the platform number to flash up on the display. All around them the sleepy, unkempt end-of-the-night and homeward bound laid out across benches and each other.

And off I went, beginning the longest solo venture I had taken since becoming a mother.

So… the whole motherhood thing. It’s hard. At times damn hard. And I reach the times when I feel that I will collapse under the weight, the responsibility, the love and the day to day repetitiveness of it all. And it’s the most amazing and wonderful thing. Following and learning from these beings that teach me what it means to be human and show me the magic of the world and all around us. I adore my children.

But. I had this niggling but… when is it time to do something for me? Is this how it is? The dichotomy of love, wonder and oppressive need.

Then I’m on my way, stretching the time and distance between us to learn permaculture and sustainability on a far and foreign island. For seven days. And I learned so much more. As a home educating parent my children are with me most of the time. We wake, eat, sleep, learn, play and learn some more together. I am aware of how I meet their needs for security, for comfort and for the most basic of needs. And amongst it I try to meet my own needs too.

It was strange being alone in the world. For the first time in so long I only had myself to look after. I reveled in it. I was able to move at my own pace, to stop, to go to change my mind on a pinhead. Amazing! I felt that I had forgotten something. And it was a gift to immerse myself in permaculture for this length of time. To get up and make only one breakfast. Our meals were prepared and, staying in a hostel, I felt pampered to the point of queenliness. And all was well. I worried that my children would be ok without me. That they would cope with this minor upheaval to their steady lives.

Until I got to day four.  I loved my course and delighted in the new friendships with other participants but my heart felt heavy.  I felt like I was walking with a gaping hole. That I was not all that I am. And day four was long enough for my children. As we skyped I could see the struggle for them. How long would I really be away now? The first time we had used skype Maia had thought I was inside the iPhone. “But how did you get IN there mummy!?”. By now she could barely look. And my boy, looked so pale and sad it almost broke my heart. And so we had to stop with skype.

I ground down. I focused on my course. I learned and shared and spent a fabulous week with like-minded souls. But I was missing… my children, my family, a chunk of myself. I could feel the lack in all my senses.

On the way home I half ran through the airport and burst into tears to see my family again. It was really a short trip away. People had said to me ‘it’s good for you, it’s good for the kids, it toughens you up, got to do it sometime’. But it didn’t feel that way to me. Why should I put us all into a misery to toughen us up? How does that make us better people? What do we really learn?  I learned so much during my time away. I learned skills, I gained knowledge and experienced much. And I learned that I need my children and family as much as they need me. That I am sustained by the weight, the responsibility, the love and the day to day repetitiveness of it all.

And I hope that my children learn through all of this that there is strength in love, in attachment and family bonds that stretch and pull and keep us close to each other. That there is value in interdependence.

 

Tinney’s Firs

We were staying with family on the edge of The New Forest. There’s something about time outdoors together that tightens the family bonds. Just up the road from the family house is Tinney’s Firs. A tucked away woods with meandering streams, plenty of Holly trees and, while we there, a seemingly constant drip drip of leftover raindrops. The earth was a deep muddy brown coated in the black mulch of fallen leaves. brown shades from tan to sienna reached up to the sky darkening into silhouetted branches against the cloudy grey. The odd spray of bright fresh green leaves brought vibrancy to an otherwise earthy palette.

Louie and Jack found large fallen branches which furnished them beautifully with walking sticks. Maia struggled with the deep mud bogs, huge expanses to her little legs. We followed the path up around and over the stream. A slip on a mildewed log left Louiel with a soggy boot but we carried on regardless. Humming songs and discussing the toad we found last time we walked this round, Louie leads us through.

Jack entertains us skipping and hopping, dramatically avoiding the bogs that Louie marches gloriously towards. Family time well spent. The colours anchor into me, warm and reassuring. As we leave the woods onto the neighbouring bridleway a phone call tells us that friends are engaged. We reminisce about getting the buggy stuck along here years before and pass by the fields and smallholding back up to the road.The next day we head out to a wildlife attraction across the forest. After an unplanned detour, or… could say getting lost, we arrive in light rain to out-of-our-budget entrance fees. I use the toilet and much to the disappointment of the small ones we get back in the car and head back across the forest. The rain has slightly abated and we make a stop at Bramble Hill for another walk. Here we are adventuring and exploring somewhere we have not seen before. The orange brown flint of the car park holds pools of silver water reflecting the flat white sky.

We head through an opening following a slightly worn track across an open area through gorse and small trees and shrubs. The mossy ground would be a citrus green in another light. Jack runs ahead with Louie fast behind him. They delight in a dewpond on the edge of a larger clearing. Clouds pass and for a shimmering moment the water reflects a blue that I put on a par with the boy’s eyes. Maia wants to paddle but the water is quite deep. Jack carries her through. On we go up and over and down a steep hill. The ground is striped with white stones, red flint and black squelched leaves. The shades of green here are deeper and fuller than our previous walk. At the bottom we reach the stream and wooden bridge. We navigate a huge boggy patch to reach the other side where the children splash and paddle in the perfectly clear flowing water. Orange flint shines as it is continuously washed and the trickle drip and splashes quiet my senses.

I remember these times in my skin, in my muscles and bones. I feel the colours and sounds shimmer through my nerves. The subtleties of all that surrounds us becomes the raw matter from which I am made. Then in this way I can re-make and make order of feelings that I may otherwise lose. The walks contain my family and this I hold in myself. I re-feel the colours and through my hands attempt to remake them into another tangible form. Maybe I am trying to contain, keep  and store that which passes around and through us.