The Nature of Me

This blog has been sitting on the ‘back burner’ for quite a while, it is the introduction to something special to me, something I have been compiling for a long time, it has a way to go yet, editing, re-writing and tweaking here and there but it is coming along nicely, so here goes ………

The Nature of Me – Recently the news has been full of important Mental Health issues, people, famous and unknown opening up their hearts to tell their stories of anxiety, depression and much, much more, being tremendously brave in opening up not just to themselves but to the world about what has troubled them in the hope of helping others.  Seeing, hearing and reading about this makes one feel very humble and thankful that in comparison some of us have had an relatively easy ride, but if we are really honest with ourselves many of us have had some small issue in our lives that may have been battled through or ‘brushed under the carpet’, or if not experienced first hand have had connections with mental health stress through friends or family members.  Life cannot be ‘stream-lined’ and ordered, it takes its own twists and turns and we have to go with the flow or battle against the tide. I have been lucky generally, having a comfortable, secure childhood, holidays in Devon or Exmoor, steady employment when working, a long lasting, loving marriage and a couple of wonderful children, but none of these things can ever be without some amount of anxiety, we have struggled through un-economic times with high mortgage debts and teenage children’s own stress and anxiety but we count ourselves as lucky.  As a terribly shy child I was happy in my own company, I immersed myself in nature, toy farms and ‘What to Look For in nature’ Ladybird books, nature was my solace, my escape from the world, it was my world, an interest that I kept to myself, soaking up information like a sponge and never sharing with school friends for fear that it was ‘not their thing’, even as an adult this passion was rarely shared until I had children to ‘teach’.  I always had a wish to draw and paint nature, write about it, research it, but as a child of the 60’s and 70’s we had no internet, no computers, only pen and paper and the village library.  When our children were nearing senior school age a set of circumstances and a house move prompted me to begin writing things down, accounts of outings, holidays, activities, in the form of letters and diaries, and to paint the countryside around us. My Grandmother May Violet was a very quiet lady, brought up by her Victorian grandparents, my Cousin’s husband, who was a journalist and could get a good story out of anyone, would sit with her and encouraging her to talk about her childhood, I remember him saying that she should write it all down or it would be lost, sadly they both passed away before this was done.  Maybe this is a lesson to us all? Having made the house move I immediately felt at home in our new surroundings and set about investigating my home patch, not just discovering the nature and the landscape but my own family ancestral links with the area, which truly did turn out to be ‘home’.  Being creative can bring its own anxieties, whether a writer, painter, designer or other artistic producer we always seem to hide in our shell, always unsure of peoples opinion, afraid friends will say ‘how lovely’ so as not to offend.  This was me, as an untrained artist I paint how and what I feel, my own vision, always scared of revealing my work to the public. However, with the help and encouragement of loved ones I gathered my courage and joined a couple of local art groups having some success.  The writing I kept quiet until I read Chris Packham’s ‘Fingers in the Sparkle Jar’ and was moved by his honesty, then a couple of years ago I suffered with an eye problem and came close to losing the sight in one eye, which as an artist was doubly terrifying.  Spending endless hours with nothing to do but think and listen to the radio and the birds outside a plan began to form, so now I too have opened my heart with words and paintings, it is not a huge monumental story, it is no big deal, it is not full of drama and life changing experiences but it means a great deal to me, it explores my childhood memories, my secrets, my history, ‘the nature of me’ and how these things may have influenced me and moulded me into who I am.  It tells of how I began beneath the Sussex South Downs, moved away, explored my nature and returned full circle coming home to the nature and the land of my fathers’.  Having put this all down on paper the next move is having the courage to share it, so publishing this blog is that first tentative step.

 “Each careful step along the byway, much more much more than this…………”

1 thought on “The Nature of Me”

  1. I was engrossed in this reflective, heartfelt piece – so interesting to follow the current of someone’s relationship with nature. It made me look at the nature in my own present situation, and how grateful I am to have even this tiny city garden. And oh, that beautiful downs image…

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