winter star

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© images by Emily Hughes, 2017

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eddy and whirl

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I have photographed skeleton leaves before here and here. An endlessly fascinating subject, they look like intricate filigree in shades of gold and silver. I like to play with the focus: moving in; moving out, like breathing. Making the leaves pirouette on my lens; the eddies and whirls and swirls of nature. I always hold my breath when I press the shutter… then I wait for the magic.

© words and images by Emily Hughes, 2017

firecracker

Today I discovered that our dormant winter garden is full of life and energy: buds, shoots, seeds and new growth just waiting to explode. The acer stands, glowing like a firecracker amongst it all: flames flickering; vibrant and bursting with colour.

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© words and images by Emily Hughes, 2017

how to make a daisy chain

First off, I’m sorry for the misleading title (it is about daisy chains, but there is no set of instructions I’m afraid). And whilst I’m at it, I would also like to apologise to regular readers especially for the overload of family pictures recently. I hope it’s not all too saccharine for your tastes (but you know I can do acerbic just as well as I can do sweet, I think). It has just struck me with some force, this spring holiday, how they are at such a magical age; on the cusp of knowing, discovering the world – their world – through their own eyes as they are. So many questions and misunderstandings tumbling from their tongues. At once categorically assertive and desperately unsure. I’m painfully aware also, as they bow their heads and giggle about private jokes and shared experiences which are theirs and theirs only, how much I am no longer a part of that; how every troubled thought, or stubbed toe nail no longer requires a kiss and a cuddle and soothing words as they learn to regulate their own emotions. Don’t get me wrong; I’m also glad for this. Very glad, that they are learning to forge the paths of their own world and navigate through thorny issues like fears and friendships. But along with that comes a distance. A gap. Only small just now, and still easily overcome when troubles spill over into tears and I am needed. But it is there in the closed bedroom doors and the occasional quiet withdrawal of hands from mine. In the silences to my many questions about their day. And then there are the rolled eyes, the But mummy, you wouldn’t understand, and Don’t take that tone/attitude with me! altercations which are now part of our daily patter.

But still they want the hugs, and sometimes stories at bedtime. Still they want to laugh and dance, and share silly jokes with us at dinner time, even though I’m embarrassing in front of their friends. So those precious in-between moments – the ones without the sulks and the temper tantrums and the arguments and when I’m not so tired I don’t have the energy (and then I kick myself for missing them) – I just need to reach out and snatch them, every so often, and hold them close by to my heart. I guess the camera is just the way I know how to do that.

So, last week, we were enjoying the beautiful spring weather at their great-grandfather’s house in London. His unkempt garden had a rich crop of fine looking daisys, so my seven year old asked me to help her make a daisy chain, since she didn’t know how. I thought, Oh my goodness I can’t believe you don’t know how? It seems like something every seven year old girl should *just* know how to do. And then I realised, how would she know if no-one showed her? So I did. And we had fun picking the strongest, tallest specimens. I took pictures, and then after a while on her request I put the camera away, and we carried on until the sun got too warm and we went off to find some shade.

There may be some kind of tenuous connection in all of that, between daisy chains, life, family and instructions, or lack of. But it’s a bit hazy. And I’ve never really been one for tying up the lose threads into a perfect bow. I’m happy to leave some questions unanswered, and accept that sometimes problems cannot be neatly solved, like algebra. Life is a bit like hair, really (those of you who are female and/or have daughters will appreciate this) – no matter how hard you try to create the perfect style and tie it up all neatly, after a while some tendrils will always work their way lose. And really, in the end, it doesn’t matter at all.

 

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Edited to say: I intended to post this over a month ago, just after the Easter holidays, and somehow it never made it past ‘draft’ version. So apologies for the delay! I’m so jealous of that sunshine now as I type with my thick fleecy socks on, and a hot water bottle in my lap!

© images and words by Emily Hughes, 2015

Flower Friday

Forget me not

A humble flower, but I love it when forget me nots emerge in summer. They have such an intense, pretty blue. Like little dots of joy piercing the dreary grey skies. They always catch my eye…

So small, so blue, in grassy places
My flowers raise
Their tiny faces.

By streams my bigger sisters grow
And smile in gardens,
In a row.

I’ve never seen a garden plot;
But though I’m small
Forget me not!

from The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies, by Cicely Mary Barker

Finally school has finished! I’m feeling weary and a bit subdued today though. We’ve had a lot of bad weather and rain. Every inch of me is craving rest and warmth. Still there are summer holidays to look forward to now, and I have a few projects planned which I will post more about later….

Happy weekend everyone!

© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

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