Saturday, 2 September 2017

To the Lake District, Thank You for Helping Me Breathe Again

Two days away from the grey of the city. That’s all it took. I wasn’t happy and the intensity of people, of the lack of adventure and most terrifying of all, myself, diluted any hope I had left. I needed quiet. I needed something to help me climb out of my head and fall in love with the world again.

It was around midday when we set off. The skies were mellow and pale grey but my best friend and I were feeling yellow. I hadn’t seen her, (we’ll call her K.), for a while now so three hours on the motorway gave us the perfect chance to catch up. K. typed in the post code to the Lake District while I started playing the soundtrack to my summer - Lorde’s Melodrama album. We later turned to old Taylor Swift songs we both knew the words to, the melodies of childhood nostalgia, just as the sun began to line the clouds with a marmalade orange tint. We laughed at how terrible T-Swift’s new song is (despite it being embarrassingly catchy) and profusely analysed the Game of Thrones finale. Our time in the car extended by another two hours as the traffic hit so it was just after five o’clock when we arrived, excitedly following the sign to Low Wray Campsite, situated next to the largest natural lake in England: Lake Windermere. 

Since I’ve never been camping before and the last time K. had set up a tent was a good few years ago, we were slightly worried that it would go horribly wrong. Thankfully it didn’t take us too long before we were nestled in blankets, eating our lunch (K. a pasta pot and a tuna salad for myself), admiring the green hills with their smoky backdrop in silence. The rumble of engines turned our heads as two fast jets broke through the clouds above, powerful beasts capturing every campers’ attention. We smiled, wide-eyed, knowing that both of us were thinking the exact same thing.

With fresh air dancing in our lungs, we decided to stroll down to the lake. Its expanse was extraordinary. Having just turned eight o’clock, the sun was sleepy and would be settling down soon. The blue reflections gradually changed to orange and violet; I breathed it all in. My best friend and I sat and talked for hours, conversations rolling off our tongues with only a few short intervals where we’d stare out to the hills across the lake. I wanted to hold that moment forever.

Guided by the light of our phones, we walked back to the campsite. Wrapped in the safety of our blankets, eating small chunks of mango, happy.

Living in the UK, unforgiving clouds are unfortunately a permanent part of the sky so we don’t get to see many stars. But that night, the black was peppered with white dots unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. We lay there in silence, stargazing. The highlight, I think for both of us, was the moment we saw a shooting star flash across the sky, like an artist’s paintbrush slipping on a canvas. I held my breath, and we both made a wish.  

The night passed uncomfortably, as is expected when there’s nothing but thin material and a blanket between you and English soil. With sleepy eyes and dew-drenched grass outside, we wished each other ‘good morning’ the next day. Our bodies shook from the cold as we got dressed, listening to the birds while fellow campers began to stir.

We wandered down to the lake again at around eight o’clock, blankets and breakfast in hand. The morning light softened the hills and created a magical film-like effect. Hours rolled by as the sun rose, peach-coloured. We spotted one or two brave people swimming, battling the water and its icy temperatures, kept company by the ducks aimlessly floating by. Drops of light rain began to fall and disturb the still water. We huddled closer and inhaled its earthy perfume.

Across Windermere was a hauntingly beautiful hill. Clouds kissed its peaks, reminding us of its grandeur. It wouldn’t be an easy climb but we were determined. We walked along the lake’s edge, trying to figure out the best route to take, but to no avail. Unable to work out how to get there, we decided to sit on a cluster of rocks and look out to gather our bearings; a kayaker paddled by and we joked about asking him to give us a ride to the hill.

We did discover, however, the Wray Castle cruise departure point and decided to wait twenty-five minutes for the next boat to come around. Sitting amongst excitable children, nature-admirers and adorable dogs, we set off for our first stop: Brockhole.

Moving in sync with the water and being on top of the silver waves, in a way, gave us a sense of control, rather than when we were just observing from afar. The crackle of a microphone brought us out of a deep lull, as facts about Windermere and its surrounding beauty were told to us like mythical stories. Being able to see it while hearing about it made it all the more real.

Brockhole was a child’s dreamland. Family picnics, a zip wire, archery, pony rides, mini golf, treetop nets; we both wished to be young again. Overlooking the activities was a grand white building (the visitor centre, shop, information and toilets), its surrounding greenery maintained by kind-eyed gardeners. We walked down pathways, taking it all in before arriving back at the boat departure point.

It wasn’t too long before we got to Ambleside, a quaint town with pastel-coloured bunting, cafes, small boats and souvenir shops. We sat on the edge of the harbour, grateful for the sunshine, watching young children feeding the ducks. A mother shouted to her son “don’t get your shoes wet!” I wanted desperately to say: let him feel the water on his skin, let him enjoy the small things.

For £8.25, the boat ride couldn’t have been more worth it.

Back at the campsite, we packed up the tent, grabbed some food from the car and sat down by the lake - our favourite spot - for the last time. Sometimes chatting, sometimes silent, soaking up the sun. In that moment, we both felt like the luckiest people alive.

On the drive back we sang the classics: Mr Brightside, Toxic, Hollaback Girl. It wouldn’t be a road trip without them. The sun painted the sky in the most stunning shades of pink and orange before disappearing, leaving blue shadows behind and a faint crescent moon in its place.

This might be a little bit of a bold (and slightly pretentious) overstatement, but I like to think that I fell in love with the world again, if only for a short time.  

 {All photos are mine and K.’s}

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Am I An Aesthetic? // Poetry

The idea of perfectly composed photographs and cinematography is interesting. It made me think about the way we can go into relationships thinking that it'll be all clich├ęd kissing in the rain and dancing under the stars (I personally blame Nicholas Sparks). It leads to seeing people as these beautifully constructed beings, when in fact, we're not.

I'm not an aesthetic to be admired at surface level; I'm messy and naive, I make mistakes and I can be a bit too much sometimes. But I understand that it's human to want the rose-tinted life, even if it is just temporary, because a little bit of temporary happiness makes the harsh reality a little less painful.

the world is an aesthetic to you
an idea, an image, a fabrication

evening sunlight
perfectly arranged tulips
pomegranate pink
backdrop of sea blue
breeze through fingers
shorts and converse

winter arrives
pomegranate pink
turns to blood
only when the sun sets
i remember the sea
is just the sky's reflection
and so sea blue becomes
heartache black
fingers numb, biting winds
cold legs, dirty converse

the world is an aesthetic to you
an idea, an image, a fabrication

am I sun-kissed?
does the light catch me?
am I an aesthetic?
am I art?

black and white photograph
ripped edges
tossed to the side
the same way winter
destroys flowers
you drained our tulips of colour
and the worst part is
i still catch you bathing
in the golden hour
with vivid colour in your eyes

I never planned for my blog to include so much of my poetry but I've been enjoying writing it so much that it's naturally found its way onto here so I hope that's okay.

What are your thoughts on this modern notion of aesthetics?

{Photo source: Nabsticle}

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Tangerine Boy // Poetry

I know it's been a while but it was late and I was eating a tangerine (which was essentially my dinner because I'm a lazy student who can't cook) and lo and behold a poem about infatuation and tangerines was born.

I learnt a couple of things from this:
      a)      inspiration can strike at literally any given moment
      b)     don't compare your crush to a fruit because I'm pretty sure that it can only go downhill from there

He's a difficult-to-peel t a n g e r i n e
You know the ones I mean
Leaves a potent scent
Underneath your fingernails
I try and untangle his stringy webs
Against the backdrop of sunrise orange

Maybe I'm thinking too much
It's just a colour and he's just another fruit
But it leaves me holding on
Fingers hooked
Juice bleeding down knuckles kind of hooked
Squeezing so tight my fingers turn blue

They say b l u e and orange are complimentary
But the acidity seeks the cracks in my skin
Burns and stings till I decide that
I can't pull apart his segments
Peel his hard skin
And to put it simply
The sweet turned sour and
I mistook him for my sunrise
When he should have been a sunset

{Photo source: Nabsticle}