Christine Kingsley from DJCAD writes about her daily walks along a river during lockdown and how the space, sights, sounds and her sketches help her through lockdown. Although written last year, our lives are much the same now and Christine’s words and images point to a way we can all, through appreciating nature, find a way through this difficult time.

 

I have noticed since my last walk with Susan that I have not been back into the forest. I have walked with my family along the beach near the forest but I have not returned to the forest as I had previously. Like an enchantment my forest walks of well-being with friends and colleagues are temporarily on pause as I enjoy the forest from a different perspective.  My wellbeing has moved as the free flowing of the river, being present in my village, I am more aware of the ebb and flow of the tide. My daily walk always takes me in the direction of the river: left to the harbour right to a tiny spot of beach before the promenade. The sense of calm and space of the water is what I seek most. As my world shrinks to the rooms of my house and pottery, my head needs the change of the tides, movement of water and sounds of the seabirds.

 

As I walk to the right, I see Brought Ferry straight ahead and the forest in the distance north east. Tentsmuir point sits in the mouth of estuary, it is now my future place, a destination where I will return to, when permitted to join my friends again. While I once sought it’s solace, as trees surround me, the calm of the drop in temperature and decent into silence was reassuring. I recognise this feeling I have in my workspace in the pottery. Now my wellbeing calls for open space and vistas instead as my cottage walls hold me in my place.  Being always at home, the sounds of seagulls reminded me of moving to this village and the  feeling of  constantly being on holiday with a beach next door and gulls waking us. When I venture out, I pass windows filled with rainbows and bears.  The river distracts me from the news… handwashing… work…hand wringing. I leave this behind  when I meet the river edge, its distractions like seagulls walking in single file amuses me as I do the same with my family, passing neighbours on our covid pavement dance. While most people avoid your gaze on the pavement the distance on the beach is sufficiently safe to share a hello and a smile. My search for sea glass and crockery has always been an act of wellbeing. Immersive, time passes as your pockets fill and breathing patterns mirror the waves at your heel.



My wellbeing is now focused on what the river leaves for me to find on my daily walk. Two camouflaged ducks in the brown seaweed. My new measure of joy is in my prospecting of beach bricks.  I’ve been finding them when the tide is out, near the light house beach and caravan park defences. They are beautiful fife bricks with the brickworks name stamped along them.

The river had been generous and I have Methil. As a potters wife I was introduced to this practice years ago, but as neighbours see me carrying a brick, they assume they missed a message…

 

My sketchbook is filling with sketches and pressed flowers. My garden is full of bluebells and so is the cycle path heading towards Dundee.

It reminds me of the book that inspire Susan and I from the archives, The commonplace book, Scottish Flora and Fauna.  What lies within these pages is how I survived lockdown.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.