travelling from home, taking home with me

I went for a long drive. I went to a hill of ghosts and a pale, silent river. In the night, I slept beside an open door, and the damp wind, the moonlight, the old wild wishes of trees, slipped through my dreams.

And the downs were covered in dust and silent. And the sky was unrepentant.

While I was far away I kept with me certain things close to my heart. A beloved old book. My camera. Twitter for the latest news. A story of haunted Russian forests that I have read a hundred times at least.

Coming home, I saw immediately that someone trimmed the wind tree. But it goes on standing for now, and so my sea-wracked suburban sky still breathes.

I was surprised the mountains I stopped to photograph, finally, after years of holding my camera out the window as we drove past, proved not as heart-stirring as the willows, the river, the gentle busy birdsong beneath them.

I was surprised that, on returning home, all I missed of the countryside were its jessamine hedges (and of course the people I went to visit).

And I was surprised by how my perspective on social media clarified when I was mostly disconnected from it. Facebook in particular feels soulless, pointless. Looking at the photographs I'd taken, the lovely or strange or sunlit moments they captured, I don't want to waste them on instagram. I want to tell their stories leisurely, and know my audience is drinking tea or having a little breather to read with their feet up - taking time, giving it. I'll still use social media, for links if nothing else. But several women are returning to old-school blogging, and I'm glad to be one of them. I shall be giving some thought to this template, and whether I want to enlarge it for the sake of my photographs, or keep it quiet and gentle. Your thoughts on the matter are welcome.

All in all, it's rather good to be home. I love the countryside, and wish it was my home, but until it is my home I stand knee-deep and intimately bound with the heart of my cluttered, faery-ridden, dreaming little suburban town.


  1. This is absolutely beautiful. Truly happy to be reading this "with my feet up."

  2. So beautiful! I like the idea of always having a bit of home with us in our hearts.

  3. The first photograph reminds me of a thousand photos I've taken while on a hike somewhere (I'm no photographer, just a hiker with a phone camera) -- where something about the vista just seemed to fill me with the feeling of being out on a hike in a beautiful place, and taking the photo is an attempt to encapsulate the feeling of the whole exhiliaration of the day.

    And then when I get home and look at my pictures, often they are very simple pictures of a pretty place, lovely but they seem far too ordinary compared to the feelings I was having when I took them. They are almost unrecognizable as the picture I remembered taking.

    Not that your picture is ordinary, it's just that it hints at a greater reality that the picture itself cannot carry.

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  5. it's an open question in my own mind whether what we see/carry in our memories/cherish as "home" exists in reality in the same way that we see it...i have wondered if what i see, when looking at a beloved view, is what others see. and i've wondered if what we respond to in a photo or painting is what the photographer or artist saw and meant to capture, or if it's something we bring to it, and whether what they saw was (i think it must be?) affected by something in them. and of course, what is in us is shaped by our surroundings, so perhaps it's a circular questioning i have!

    i am happy you are thinking of returning to/remaining with blogging. it is my favorite format, personally.

    i love the look of your page, but if you did enlarge the images i think that would be beautiful. also, those of us whose eyes may not be quite as sharp as they used to be wouldn't mind a bit larger type? i think it would still look gentle. i often play with font to be sure it conveys a "not shouting" quality, so i do understand the desire for a certain look...

  6. It's funny how a little time away can give a new perspective. A few years ago, on one of my trips back to the place where I grew up, the landscape suddenly seemed different. Maybe it had changed (or maybe I had), but it no longer greeted me with the same familiarity. It has been that way ever since (rather like a child who grows up and discovers his mother is her own person).

    The photos I take often surprise me. I snap a picture of a tree and upon processing it, I find myself taken by the sky or a little chipmunk I didn't even notice was there. It is one of the things I love most about photography--the surprises it reveals about the path I am on.

    I treasure you words and pictures in this space and am glad that you will be here more.♥ I cannot get the hang of Instagram! I want to love it, because so many others do, but I don't like it much. I still love to read blogs when I can, although these days I have very little spare time. I am becoming more and more selective about how and where I spend these moments on the internet (and I usually do make a cup of tea and allow it to become a refreshing pause of connection and inspiration to fuel the rest of my day or week).

    Here is something strange, too: I longed and longed (sometimes it is all I thought about) for a life in the countryside until my life here in this lovely old New England town became less certain. Now that I can move to a country place, I'm not so sure I want to live somewhere that requires me to drive a distance for anything I need and to anywhere I must be! It turns out that I like my life here very much.

    Love and blessings to you, Sarah.♥

  7. Hear, hear! I loved this. Lovely to come home and rediscover the 'lashings of magic' in your everyday setting, to quote Jane of Lantern Hill. And I appreciated your thoughts about sharing via your blog vs social media. I'm so enjoying the renewed conversation and sense of community. Let's hear it for the tea-drinking, feet-up ladies! :)

  8. Thank you all for your lovely comments :-) I'm sorry I don't have time this morning to reply to each individually. Except to say to nofixedstars that the font issue is one I've wrestled with these past eleven or so years! I hate a large type, but do appreciate how it can be hard for some people to see the smaller one. I continually strive for a compromise and don't ever really find one, just go back and forth. I shall look at new templates today. :-)

  9. I agree with you entirely. I love old school blogging - and ignore every voice that tries to tell us that long-form blogging is dated and obsolete. I find Facebook and Twitter useful for short bursts of information (a notice about an exhibition opening, a review for a book I might want to read, a link to a good long-form article that I might otherwise have missed) -- and I use them myself mostly to let people know when a new post goes up on my blog.

    I agree that Facebook seems more and more soulless -- and without any viable competition, I suspect it will get worse. I wish someone would invent a viable alternative, with privacy/data controls and respect for users, so we could all migrate together.

    I'm glad you're one of the women committed to old school blogging. I always find soul-refreshment here.

  10. I enjoy your exquisite writing and would miss it if it were on social media only. I don't partake in Facebook, but I do look forward to relaxing and reading beautifully written blogs. Feet up, cup of tea, just as you say. It is a treat and I often revisit the concepts and ideas I encounter in the blogs throughout the day too. Musing on them. I appreciate your writing very much, I find it quite magical.