It was overcast when I got to college on Tuesday, and the clouds refused to shift. The truth was that I didn’t notice the sky until I walked out of the gates at three O’clock – and the sun came out.
It’s almost a natural reaction now, to take photographs. I had an intriguing conversation with Jonny about it last weekend. When I told him about these, and about other photographs I took last week and don’t plan to post, he said, “I understand. I do the same with woodcraft.” For me, when I long to escape but my throat closes up and the words won’t leave my fingertips, I pick up my camera and run to the woods. For Jonny, he gets off the bus and picks up a stick, and whittles it into a whistle with his penknife before he steps through his front door.
I understand, he said, It’s about releasing everything inside you in a positive way.
Yes, I said, it’s a way of dealing with emotion. But is it not also about control, and about worth? When you feel like nothing is in your hands any more, when you don’t know what will happen with exams and with university and with the stupid Leavers’ Ball in two weeks time, to create gives you back some of your power. It proves there is something unique inside you, which only you can access. It puts you in control, and it makes you feel powerful again.
What do you mean, it’s about worth? he asked.
I said, I worded that badly. I mean, it helps you prove to yourself that there is something that is yours and yours alone. Lots of people can make whistles out of sticks. Lots of people can take pictures with their cameras. But your whistles and my photographs – they are unique. They prove our worth as individuals, because no other individual can do what we do.
You’re mad, Jonny said, and we carried on folding paper cranes.
So on Tuesday when I was sad, it was a natural reaction to come home and change into something sunny, and sling my tripod and my camera bag onto my back. There’s a photograph I’ve wanted to take for a while, and so I went to the garage to find a bicycle. I got oil all over my turquoise coat, and then the tyres needed pumping, and eventually I realised that both had a puncture. It was still sunny when I set off on foot.
The field I wanted to use is a village or two away from here, but I took a short cut across fields and thought instead a lot about photography and the earth and what it means to me. I have so many thoughts to put down and no time at all to do it, but I can’t stop thinking. I listened to a Mozart Sonata in C Major (Sonata in Sunshine, Sonata in Yellow), and posted a letter, and after half an hour I crossed the main road and found the perfect place.
I took lots of photographs, but there are two that I really like. One will probably be my Week Thirty-Six, if the next four days pass as I expect them to. And one – a mistake – summed up everything I had done in the past hour. It is dirt-caked feet and yellow blur and a turned back and a swinging skirt, and a green pathway that ends in light.
This is where it has come from.