SENSE OF HERE

Sense of Here is about gathering views and bringing different points of view together. We’re delighted to have been awarded seed funding from Great Place: Lakes and Dales to support a residency for four creative people to join us for creative reflection on the Lake District and meet curators at the Wordsworth Trust and Grizedale Forest. If you’re interested, or indeed know someone who is, please share the opportunity!

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It’s bin collection day. In any case, the A591 is getting busy now it’s approaching 9am. The birds are raucous in the trees, unwittingly competing with the sound of traffic – but when there is a break in the traffic, being here is like being in a dome of sound: tweets and chits and chats and phees and phews resonate in busy conversation. And I’m here, with memory and hope. 

Memory and hope

So much hinges on these two things

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“It is my soul’s food, my mental calm and my physical energy. I need access to the outdoors, fresh air away from the sound of cars, smell of exhaust and sight of tarmac at least once a week.”

This is one of the views shared through the Sense of Here questionnaire. Why does green space matter to you? And what are you concerned about? And if you have a connection to the Lake District, what is it that you value? 

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We have been blanketed in cloud, wetted through, walking within a multi-directional wetting. We headed downhill to seek a ghyll with a fresh flow of water, and all of a sudden the clouds lifted, danced in front of us, dressed and undressed the hills, rolled up from the valley and then back down again.

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A camp just for one night takes us a long way out of the normal counting of days. Each camp is a journey – the settling into a rhythm, the tug of walking up hill, the sensation of looking down across the path we’ve ascended, the moment of awe at the highest points, and the changing view as light shifts. We witness threshold times: dusk and dawn, and the depths of night, dark window onto the universe of which we are such a tiny, tiny part.

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Just because you know a place it doesn’t mean it will ever feel the same twice. Today our walk takes me back in time, to memories of sitting in a cottage windowsill and watching snow fall, memories of daring dips in a chilled lake, memories of late night card games, days in front of the fire, walks into Martindale, warm, simple dinners shared with friends.

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The highest peaks are catching the last rays of sun as it dips in the west, sending the land into shadow. It’s just before 4pm and I’m looking over lines of grey on green, each fell writing itself on those beyond it, lines of light and dark writing the passing of time, another day’s turn. 

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a rising sun, milked gold
raven’s call echoes into sky
 
how much difference can a moment make
how much difference can a moment make

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We’re driving in, listening to the radio and all the talk is about Brexit – last night the government’s deal was voted down, Corbyn called for a vote of no confidence, and there is, if there could be, even more political uncertainty than before.

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The sun is being played by clouds, lining the high points of fells with gold for brief moments. Here in the valley the light is bringing the subtlest of blues out of the black-white tumble of the beck. We’re very gently gaining height as we stroll up Greenburn, with the beck to our left and the bracken-covered fells towering on either side of us. 

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It has started. This evening I was standing at the ironing board flattening the hems on a piece of white cloth measuring 250x250cm. A blank canvas.

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