The Lives We Touch Without Our Knowing!

07th May 2015
An epically beautiful day. I had to drive to Much Wenlock for a specialist appointment and it was one of those drives that I was running short of time on, but even so had to slow down and just gaze at the glory of my "Shirelands". I was in two minds 1) Annoyed I hadn't grabbed the camera bag as I left 2) Relieved I hadn't for I most certainly would of been extremely late for my appointment as landscape after landscape unfolded before my eyes. A Danny Beath Day indeed! For everywhere was glorious saturated colours and 3D quality light. A photographers dream day for light. The heavy black rain laden clouds against the shockingly bright rapeseed oil fields lends itself to brooding colourful landscapes that could be oil paintings of old. Specimen trees 100's of years old simply crying out to be photographed set in the middle of vast colourful greens. Two old gnarled blackened Ents will be on my card to drive over and capture on another stormy day they were just so beautiful I had to stop and gaze at them for a few minutes on my drive home. A farmer pulled his tractor in the layby behind my car which meant I had to move on as I was blocking the gate. I went to get in my car passing him as I did so, he asked me what I was looking at. I replied "Mother Nature" in all her glory and wonder! Don't you ever see anything that just makes you happy to believe alive? Look at those old trees together for years so many stories they could tell if we but took the time to listen." He looked at me and said somewhat shocked "But your from London aren't you?". Why do folk assume that anyone associated with London doesn't get the beauty of a landscape. I worked in London but I chose to live in the countryside where my heart will always be. Which leads me nicely into why I wanted to write this post.

Perception is a funny thing. I was sitting in the reception area awaiting my appointment and the receptionist asked how I was. I replied on top of the world as I had driven through the most beautiful day outside and it had filled me with energy and vitality after a sleepless night. Made me happy to see such beautiful scenery and the approaching summer. She looked at me kind of weirdly and said " Really, but it's chucking it down?" "Indeed it is" was my response "It might be raining but it gives us this fantastic saturated light and the colours all look freshly washed and everything looks so clean and new. The brooding menace of that dark sky against the fields lends itself to such a marvel of scenery" I waxed lyrically on, her bemused smiling expression lit up when I stated "Oh I'm a photographer so I guess I perceive things in a different light". She looked at me and said "Hang on you have books out don't you two small ones and a bigger one paper size?" I responded that I had puzzled how she knew. She then went on to say how much she loved the photography in them. How she flicked through them often in the Shrewsbury clinic where they all were (Where I had my light Tardis sessions). Made me smile she did! After two utterly dire days of nothing going right and me beginning to wonder what on earth I was doing wrong, here was a total stranger saying she loved my work. That and the decision of the specialist that no more treatment was required at this time and they would leave it 12 months before seeing me again made my day!!!.

So I decided to treat myself and take a detour drive a different way home just to admire the glorious weather and light a bit more. I was looking for a particular place but I think I was on the wrong road for it. Anyway I stopped at another layby on the way home and there was this gnarled old tree and I thought to myself got to take a closer look. Some teenagers laden with gear were nearby taking a water break when I walked up and looked around the tree, touching it's gnarled old bark and just being utterly in awe at its huge presence as I was staring up into the glorious unfolding canopy. One of the girls had meandered over to me looking somewhat curious, she asked what I was doing, and I explained, I was waiting for another Londoner comment when I opened my mouth and said hello. However she looked at me oddly, went back to her rucksack and produced "The Wicked Wood". "This is you?" she said "isn't it". You helped my sister learn to read with this book, she utterly adores it and can't put it down, could you sign it for her she won't believe I have met you. I asked where her sister was only to see her face cloud over. She's not well so she doesn't get out much really she has ME, your books bring the outside in to her so much we decided to come out take some pictures and then go back and we will make a story up with her we role play adventure games. It really is actually quite amazing what you see out here when you really look at what's around you isn't it? I never really looked till I saw your books.

I was moved close to tears as I went to the car to grab a pen. There in that moment everything I had ever hoped for in the books was said out of love for a sibling and her love of the countryside, here was the work of 'Briar Ridge Books' truly connecting children with nature on many levels making them want to be out and explore it for themselves. I gave her and her friends a card and said I would be bringing a new book out with music as well as photography. They hurriedly grabbed my pen an paper off me and wrote the name and YouTube details down of 'Elemental Tangents' and 'The Wicked Wood'. As I got in my car apologising for not being able to spend longer as I had a busy day a lad that had hung back from joining in came over, tall, lanky, shy, nervous, he looked at my boots then at me. "Your a Goth aren't you?" Smiling I replied "Kind of why?" "There's nowt wrong with you is there? I mean you're not nasty, evil or cruel just cos your a Goth are you? I mean you couldn't love all this and he waved his hand around the view if you didn't love it could you?" Quietly I said to him. "If people are teasing you cos your different, it is only because they are jealous you have the strength to be different, don't believe them or let their words wound you, stand proud and remain true to your soul, yourself and most of all your heart and what you want out of life. Trust me on this I went through hell at school I was bullied and have suffered all sorts of shit in life but I wouldn't be who I am today if I had let them mould me to their way of thinking. I did what I want to do. I may not be rich. I may not be famous, but if I can make folk, do what your doing for the love of a friends little Sister, I'm not all that bad am I? As a person does that strike you as evil?" He smiled and walked away to his mates.

The girl I never did ask her name, came up to me and quietly said "`Thanks for whatever you did to make him smile like that, he is an utterly amazing guy, very talented in many ways but people are nasty and last year we nearly lost him (I doubt he was 22) people can be so cruel can't they?" Sighing I agreed gave her some of my cards and said "If he EVER wants to talk, you tell him to call me ok". I had been listening to Jim Hawkins on the radio going to my appointment about people digging at people on their weight (Story of my life) and because they are different and not normal. How evidently someone had said being nice to folk was not worth it and some people deserve to be mean to. At that moment looking at that lad who now just cos this fat Gothic photographer had said that he was utterly acceptable just as he was, who now seemed to have a spring in his step, was walking arms wrapped shoulder to shoulder with a mate laughing, just cos someone he perceived to be famous or important cos they had a book out had told him so. Seriously people BE NICE! We really do have no possible conception of how our lives touch others. I know for a fact I was blown away when years ago a Mother told me I had stopped her son from committing suicide just by being their and listening. To me that is what friends do, be there in times of trouble, times of sorrow.

All I know is that this day was made all the more beautiful by some very beautiful young souls out gathering pictures of the beauty of 'Mother Nature' to then go home and make into a story with someone that is to fatigued to walk out and see the world herself. Truly I count my blessings that despite all that is wrong with me and my fragility I can still see the beauty of this world and share it with others. I wonder if they will send me a copy ;)

Leave a comment

Your Name
Your Email
Your Comment
No info required here, please press the button below.