I've talked about my field over several months now, the highs and lows of weather, the growth of hedgerows and plants, the first birdsong and other wildlife living more secretly there.
I had a tutorial with Sian a week ago, the chance to reset my thinking. So in addition to making my usual observations, so good for settling the mind, I'm going to make a walking record. I've made a long paper strip four inches wide, rolled round a small tube and have a collection of media, though I'm hoping to find a feather or stick which can be dipped in walnut ink. It's quite a balancing act. Making marks to denote my paces is fine. Adding bird song to it is manageable. But recording wildflowers not so, yet it's what I want to do. What I need is a small version of an ice-cream vendors tray! Then I'll be able to store all my recording implements and keep anything I find. Still this is the first time and the results are satisfying. I feel as if I've produced a field translation scroll.
As yet there are only my paces with bird song accompaniment. I've marked significant trees and wild flowers that I noticed with crosses, but a combination of juggling and porous paper meant the exercise fell short. I've made a scroll in more robust paper, white this time, and will try again. I should not be too self-critical as the marks I've made on the paper I really like.
Sian told me to leave my camera at home. I haven't completely done that, but left it in the car. So, back at my starting point I look at my to do list. I bury small pieces of calico, trying strips to the trees, hoping that the poor weather forecast will bring about change in the cloth. I mark make, quite satisfyingly, and record shadows with walnut ink (very blurry), make others out of the wind with a wax crayon. This sounds, and truth to tell, feels like a scatter gun approach, but it will settle down I'm thinking as I sift through the results and decide what needs following up or adding to when I'm home, like making some fine pen markings on the charcoal sketches, as seen below.
It's time to turn for home, but it doesn't seem right to leave without doing a circuit of the field. I walk as far as my walking record and continue. Flies hover in the air. A pigeon swoops, just checking. And I can see in front of me a bag of skin, stripped leg bones flexed -- a hare. Was this the one I saw last week? I am shocked by the sight, though not surprised to see it: last week's local news had talked of men involved in hare-coursing and their arrest. Such a sadness washes over me.