Pilgrimages

What a long silence it’s been. Between the last post and now, I have gone through illness and health scare, and through a spell of just general sort of fatigue. I also already in March made the decision to not to photograph any of the things I usually photograph (as a part of the annual cycle in a way), but to enjoy them as they are; fleeting moments of nature. Marking this long stretch of creative barrenness were two events that turned out to be, in their small and big ways, more important to me than I thought they would be, during the many months they were merely dates in the diary, becoming small pilgrimages.

The first pilgrimage: To Painswick in Gloucestershire. This was a road trip that turned out to be important in many ways – it was to see and hear someone important to me sing a program of songs that are dear to me; it was made with a dear old friend with whom I was glad to be able to share this experience with; it was made to a place and through country featured in one of my favourite (in a small way) songs, the road signs reading like the list of the places named in that song. I had never been to that end of the Gloucestershire before, and could now finally understand why the dramatic landscapes have inspired so many poets. I also learned something that I have never thought of before: I love hills – I have learned to love hills with such passion that the coastal flat lands of East Anglia (until recently where I have assumed to live one day) have lost all appeal.

Why yes, I often surprise even myself with the randomness of my flow of consciousness.

The second pilgrimage: Joan Baez in the Royal Albert Hall. How is that for a string of words? I don’t even remember how or when I first heard Joan Baez, I just remember loving her. Suddenly it’s decades later, and she is on her farewell tour, and I just had to be there, on the fifth row or so, curled up in my seat, holding it together until Farewell Angelina, when I just lost it and spent the rest of the evening quietly sobbing, while she was beautiful and wise and funny, and I didn’t know if I wanted to just admire her from afar, or be her lover. Or whether she looks too much like my cool aunt (the one I have never really been close to at all) for either. It was wonderful and overwhelming and emotional in the most uplifting way, and I also loved the random meeting before the concert: in the full to the bursting bar, I sat in a table with a family of four, and had the best kind of meeting of strangers.

And then it was summer.


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