Retrospective: 2014 in 14

This seemed to work quite well last year so here’s this year’s shot at a little recap of 2014 in 14 sentences with 14 photos I’ve taken during the course of the year. If you click on the first image you can read the text alongside the pictures as you scroll through if you prefer.

On a blue Monday that sits like a clear bleb in the dregs of January I stay outdoors all day relishing cloudless skies until the sun goes down off Pennance Point and the stars appear one by one then a hundred, like a reverse rash of freckles in the absence of light. So many things, I think as they seem to appear from feint to sharp whilst I look for them, to be grateful for. How light is they sky behind the dark.

The closest I get to Valentine’s day melancholia this year is the realisation as I sit planning my future ventures that I will be financially penalised for travelling alone. But I do it anyway and before I’ve had time to think myself out of it the journey of 100 thousand words begins with a single step, several missed and cancelled trains and a hotter day in mid March than ought to be expected after such a tempestuous start to the year’s weather.

With the sea to my left and a skylark up in my subconscious to my right I map by eye and foot my progress west with the unfurling of spring: each day another flower open from three days before, bluebells spiking up that, next week and twenty miles further round the coast, will be in bud. A different landscape every day for thirty days, spanning moods and seasons; from bare branches and blackthorn blossom to foxglove waymarkers signposting the path up through the boulders; umpteen unidentifiable green and cream umbellifers, to seedheads and flowering grasses, meadow and field yellowing under the sun.

A defining moment – at Nanjizal, on the south-western brink of the British mainland in early June – shrouded in waterproofs, hood up and drawn in so that my view was limited to a small oblong peeping out into dripping rain as I traverse yet another granite zawn enjoying it as much as any day striding out in the sunshine. This is who I am now, one woman on a peninsula: read into that what you will.

Far away in the forest five female tawny owls kewick across a valley filled with trees as far as the eye can see.

Then on a cloudy and otherwise unremarkable September day I clamber the boulders of the border shoreline into Devon and pick a pebble off the beach with Piran’s cross in quartz intruding through the slate. Better the weight of stones in my pockets from a walk on the beach than the weight of worry on the mind.

But before I know it I’ve forgotten that blue Monday in the depth of winter and that grizzled Tuesday on the cusp of summer as the year closes in again and my mind closes down. Drugged by the lack of daylight in my life in more ways than one I find it can be hard to recall how far I’ve come, how much I’ve gained through the weeks and months in the sad lethargy of deprivation.

My first Christmas day in Cornwall, absent from the family madness happening somewhere else in the country – not ‘at home’, but somehow at home in the sense that I was where I should be – I look out at dawn from the window overlooking the bay and I see how light is the sky behind the dark as I watch the midwinter sunrise over Gribbin Head.


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