After the opening for the Secret Lives of Objects Exhibition at Bankfield Museum in November I was exhausted! So tired I couldn’t walk for more than 30 minutes without feeling drained nor read a paragraph without my thoughts becoming clouded. After nearly 4 weeks I felt my energy return and reminded myself that the creative process requires periods of rest before anything new can be started.
Yesterday I went on an early morning walk in Hardcastle Craggs, the usual crowds were absent, the woods quiet and still. I walked slowly enjoying the space, my head becoming clearer. I crossed the stepping stones and at the other side sat on a wooden bench and reflected about taking small mindful steps to bring my awareness back after so much frenetic activity, this has meant journal writing every morning, refusing social engagements and resting.
I started today’s walk from the picnic site on the A646, from here I walked up the hill & at the top met Eric, a dog walker. We had a quick chat, said goodbye and I left to cross a stream, climb a hill and go through another field to join East Lee Lane. I turned left went through another 2 fields to Eastwood Lane then walked through the small hamlet of Eastwood taking my first right and passing the few dwellings situated there. At Lane House Farm I was surprised when a peacock and a peafowl crossed my path.
I carried on to the top of the hill and then took a path that led me to Staups Lane at which I turned right onto a public footpath through the farm.
As I wandered through the field behind the farm I saw a shadow moving rapidly behind me, terrified I spun round to see a black Shetland Pony galloping towards me. Both of us were surprised and had to take a minute to settle down and figure that neither of us meant the other any harm. From here I bore down the path towards Jumble Hole being surrounded by snow filled branches.
Now that I have reoriented myself back to walking I can pack my camera, notebook and sitting pad. I cannot rely on my mobile phone as the battery goes as soon as I take a photograph or use the Walkmeter App. A friend has a spare battery charger, maybe I will invest in one of these or save up for a new phone. The Walkmeter app saves the routes I walk which I intend to print onto acetate and layer up. If my batteries dies then the app stops recording the route which has happened too many times so I could try hand drawing the routes or tracing them on to an old OS map. There are always alternatives.
Inspired and joyous at my return of energy I contacted the first woman walker on my list and interviewed her about her walking practice. The conversation went well and I set the next interview up. If you are a woman walker and would like to be interviewed about your walking practice please contact me. It does not matter where you live in the world, I can Skype you, please share with other women. I intend to use the research to inform my next artwork, this could be performance, sound installation, writing. Confidentiality will be discussed at interview.