I take pictures, film everything, paint, fold, build, write, sing, cook, think, over-think, imagine, draw, delicately manipulate small pieces of paper in front of huge lights to bring characters to life on card. It is true that for most moments in my life, something in my mind will be creating; verb. But I have a problem. For a long time I’ve believed that creativity; noun, meant to make some thing; the creation of something new. And yet here I find myself, standing in the middle of an empty room, looking at my camera, my art and craft supplies, my abandoned journals, and wondering what thing I’m supposed to make with them, what creation worthy of the word: cree-ay-tivity. I think this is what they call a creative slump; noun.
In the words of Mario Vargas Llosa, ‘It’s the most exciting moment when you discover life in what you’ve created’. I think I’d so much rather believe the opposite. That my creativity is not limited to the objects I use to express it, but found even in my most conventional of creative slumps. Whilst I may not be making thingsI want to show the world every day; I am still creating and I am still creative. I can still use a broken window blind to hook a book from my shelf so I don’t have to get out of bed and I still fold each of my bus tickets into a swan every morning at my work desk. For me, it is the most exciting moment when you discover the act of creation in the everyday, the moment of clarity, where to think, love, live, wonder, worry, and slump, are the ultimate acts of creation.
Saturday through Saturday, Nathan and I spent some time in the German Alps, hiking in the snowy fir forests and climbing some of Bavaria’s most beautiful peaks. For me, the mountains have always had the power to reconnect me to that inner place of peace; to warm my soul from the inside. Our return to the mountains this winter was an adventure that still glitters in heart.
We arrived in Salzburg on the Saturday afternoon and bundled our gear into the backseat of Lisa’s car. Lisa owns the apartment we booked for our time there and she was kind enough to rescue us from arrivals after our car hire fell though. We spent our journey learning the names of the mountains and pointing out restaurants, before arriving at the apartment, pulling out all the hiking maps from the book library and falling into bed.
Sunday morning was snowy; one of the cold, brilliant blue sky days I love. We took the public bus to Konigsee, Germany’s third deepest lake in the shadow of Mt Jenner and hiked a little way up the trail to the cable car. At the Jennerbahn, we negotiated awkwardly with some Bavarian skiers for their cable pass and took the cable-car to the viewing station, from which we began our descent down deep snowy paths, past the frozen alpine lake which breaks apart the ski slope. We deeply underestimated our descent; arriving in town some 3 hours later and totally drained but full of that brilliant sense of accomplishment. There’s something about spending the afternoon in the cold and the snow and it being such an adventure – it’s definitely something I crave more and more each time we get out. The following days were spent in much the same way, trekking up knee deep snowy mountain trails in trainer socks and never all too sure we were on the right path.
The time we spent hiking in the German wilderness felt almost fundamental, in many ways. It seemed to me to be a return to something simpler; to the experience of being simply a person in nature – timeless in the way that as long as these wild spaces exist, the experiences enjoyed in them will always retain their raw, refreshing power – to clarify ones outlook and cleanse ones soul.
This week just gone was a lovely one. The weather got a little warmer, and we spent our first week in the new house. It’s been nice getting to grips with the new space – I love being able to sit out on the lawn in the evenings, or run myself a bath in our new bathroom and relax after work. I love our ping pong table even more, and games have been getting quite competitive. I’m also enjoying cooking a lot more – hence the food picture spam! I hope you all had a wonderful week and weekend. I’m looking forward to the week ahead, and hopefully more good weather to come!
Spring is finally here in the UK and for the past couple of days I’ve been making the most of the better weather and getting out and about in the sunshine with my camera and a backpack full of bananas for the donkeys. As soon as the sun comes out I want to be outdoors as much as I can and luckily this weeks good weather arrived just as my ankle finally started to feel good enough to run on again. I’ve had tendonitis in my Achilles tendon for just over a year now and I haven’t been able to run (not even for the bus) since May 2014 so this is a big deal for me. Nathan keeps reminding me of the importance of easing myself back into it, but I’ve fallen head over heels back in love with running and have been trying to get out most days, even if just for a walk. But 2.4 kilometre walks have been turning into accidental 5.7 kilometer runs and now that student loan is in I’m in the market for a pair of decent running shoes which will keep me out of injury (ssh don’t tell Nathan!). I’ve even started training for my first 5k on the Nike+ app (ssh don’t tell Nathan!) and can’t keep away.
I’d forgotten how running can take you to places you didn’t even know were on your own doorstep and stumbling across Meanwood Valley Urban Farm on a run earlier this week was such a great welcome back to running. I knew about this place long before this month, having seen signs for it along the main road through Meanwood but never thought to visit. I accidentally wound up there trying to get to a local park but it turns out my Google map reading is rubbish and I’m SO glad it is! 24 acres of farmland and gardens home to sheep, donkeys, goats, chickens, some very cute lambs and what Nathan and I think is a alpaca, but could just as easily be an oversized goat (we debate this often) is fast becoming my favourite place in Leeds. Adult entry is £1, though after closing time I’ve been running along the trail and up to the top field to take pictures and sit in the evening sun. If you get there at the right time, the sun reflecting off the Leeds skyline on the horizon makes for an incredible view. There’s something about this place which I find very peaceful and I’ve managed to make my way back every day since discovering it (yes everyday) so if you ever get Leeds on a good day please please go and say hello to the alpaca/goat and wander around their gardens. The Epicentre/ Visitor area is also a really cool sustainable, eco-friendly building which is well worth a look at – I’m told the roof slate is made from recycled tyres. I didn’t know you could make slate from tyres either, but it turns out you can!
Anyway, here is a selection of photographs from my time at the farm, and a few running related snaps for those of you who are interested. A few more can be found over on my flickr if you’d like to check those out too!