SENSE OF HERE

Voices travel featherlight on the wind, like a kind of music, and then drift off and the air is a tumble of water once more, the chill of October edging in on the tail end of the year. The grasses around me have faded to brown. Heather too, withdrawn and quiet now, forgetting flowers and its warm pink August flush, holding energy instead in roots and leaves.

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September 7 2019

I’m sitting beside Wastwater, looking at the canvas and the land beyond it where the sheer rocky screes tumble into the lake. I’m still, and quiet, simply watching the play of cloud shadows on hills.

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Phew, what a week. This is a very brief blog on the first Sense of Here residency, something that’s hard to sum up and in fact is about the sowing of seeds, the beginnings of ideas and the forming of relationships.

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We were completely taken aback by the quality of applications that came in for the forthcoming residency, The Light of Things : Making Sense of Here. It’s not easy making a selection when you’re faced so many applications that shine. But we did it.

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Storm at 414 metres

N54° 25.807′  W3° 04.742′

in the black pitch of our tent
we have entered the breathed-out silence
of a sleep that floats on moss and mountain air

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We were sitting chatting over a beer yesterday, after a morning with the August canvas in the Duddon Valley (which we’ve yet to blog about), and it occurred to us that the canvas is not the only installation in this project.

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July 23, 4pm It’s hot, very hot. Must be 25 degrees or more, the sun is burning, there’s barely any wind and we’re wet with sweat. We’ve just set off from Elterwater to begin our ascent through the quarries and we’ve stopped to one side to try and locate the peregrine we can hear in the trees to the left. We don’t, but instead, I see a red squirrel, its compact rust-red body on a wall and then a fire-bright flash of tail as it disappears up the trunk of an old oak.

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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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