It is a languid, cold, rainy, slow Sunday afternoon in March 2019 and I am tucked under the cosy blanket on the sofa at home idly flicking through the travel pages of a magazine when I see an image so powerful and evocative to me that I burst into tears.
It is an image that squeezes my heart with such an emotional punch of simultaneous joy and sadness and other complicated feelings that I am transported back to 1987. The image is the iconic coastline of the stunning jurassic coast, specifically, the winding coastal path that makes me rediscover my inner child as I let my mind wander to past trips to stunning Durdle Door, conjuring up that feeling of warm sand between my toes, a tummy full of ice cream and a heart full of love. This is a precious time that can never ever happen again, but can be returned to within the corners of my mind, filed under the name of Uncle Freddie.
I happily recall endless summer days wandering barefoot across the beach, searching for fossils and only the most beautiful shells for my treasured collections and staring out to sea while imaging escaping to sea on childhood adventures akin to the stories filling my head from the many books I loved to read, at the time, think famous 5, Swallows and Amazons and my much loved The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Narnia surely was behind the soft sea mist and just around the coast, just beyond my permitted radius?
Yet, while it is wonderful to remember those blissful, near perfect sunshine days on the beach, it is not that which makes tears come to my eyes, it is the memory of my wonderful and much loved and idolised Uncle Freddie.
Losing my Father at 2 years of age meant that my Mums lovely older brother took on the male role model for me that informed my early years. He was my absolute hero! I was wary around men, and this man was my safe haven. He was always around and he and my lovely Aunty took me on holiday most summers. Some of my happiest memories are on the beach, with my pens and paper, books, and of course a bucket and spade. They let me explore and I remember the joy of climbing on the rocks and searching for fossils.
This love gave me freedom, and it nurtured my love of nature and our beautiful British Coastline, but what I remember strongly is the utter joy and anticipation of walking that winding path down to the beach, it was truly stunning to see Durdle door and the panorama ahead, of blue, blue ocean and a day of sea air and magical adventures.
It is a view that took my breathe away, but what made me cry when I saw the photograph is the fact that it triggered a memory of Uncle Freddie gently holding my little hand as we walked that steep but much loved path because he is now passed away and I have no photos of those treasured days spent at the beach.
Perhaps this is why I feel so compelled to capture moments, everyday moments, holidays, adventures, my sons childhood. Will the photo above of Aberdovey where we take our boy most summers evoke strong emotions when he is older?
I hope so. It will be meaningful to me, always. These photos show the stories of our lives. It is our history. We can never go back, can we?
I wish I did have a handful of snaps from my childhood holidays, those sunshiny moments captured forever but there is not any, sadly, but thank goodness I can remember how it felt, I can feel all that love and sense of adventure.
I know one day I shall return to Durdle Door and gaze across the sparkling water and I know I shall walk that lost path and be captivated by that view once more, and Uncle Freddie will be just beyond the sea mist, just beyond the horizon.
xx Lou xx
March 2019 Under A Pewter Sky Photography