This photograph seems to encapsulate how I feel right now. It was taken (by the wondrous Sylvia Linsteadt who came to visit! but more of that another time) in the early autumn sun as I strode across September-coloured Dartmoor with my baby boy on my back. This has been the most treasured and difficult of all the years of my life so far. I have had to learn to be a mother whilst we totally reconfigure our life. Building our Hedgespoken home and travelling theatre has taken all the energy we could muster and then it has kept on taking. And I continue to be stretched in more than three dimensions by the challenges and alchemys and incandescent joys of motherhood. Nevertheless I seem to keep on striding, and my back continues to hold strong enough for the weight it carries.
My creative life burns clear, though its outlets are small and fleeting. I draw when my boy sleeps and gradually have managed to work enough into the (many) dark hours with a biro and my head torch to create a perpetual calendar - The Wayfarer's Year - a kind of wall frieze showing the passing seasons as a traveller's road (the year) winds through them. It is printed on recycled card and folds out to a 12-month art piece. You can buy them for £12.50 in the Hedgespoken shop here, or on etsy here. They'll be good for any year or any time of year, of course!
I have also contributed manually to our truck build - tiling the kitchen with babe on back! This home of ours is being built with great care and craft, and has come on further since this picture was taken. If you'd like to see a little video update (with us looking very tired!) and hear more truck news, do go over to the Hedgespoken blog and look.
This little painting is titled Incantation Under a Winter Sun - another small creative achievement in the baby-sleeping moments. It is a prize in our Hedgespoken Winter Raffle, for which tickets are available here - you could own this original painting for just £1!
The sun seems far off now, our days are mud-drenched and rain-splattered and fog-hidden. Each trip to collect water is slippery and my bones ache with tiredness. We are still not in the truck, though another year turns, and expectations and plans must be readjusted. How do you stay positive whilst the challenges of uncoupling from a former life and building a new one mount? The dream must continue to be kindled, which is hard in these damp, dark days. I can't quite believe that my baby is 10 months old (and crawling!), and that Christmas is just days away! From within the fog and the slog of this year, a bright fire still burns, and I carry its embers over the threshold into 2016, a stronger and utterly changed woman from the one I was last year-cusp, and holding in my heart and arms the most golden of all things in my life: my son.