The hawk and the old photograph

7.50am (Heavy frost/dry bright morning)

The hawk gently glides. All is still. Occasionally it bats its wings, circles a little. It hangs in the sky, there is no wind. The sun is warm, but not warm enough to melt all of the snow. There are still patches here, here on the moors. Patches topped with diamond ice, and bog grass cutting through. The hawk spots something, you can sense that it has found its prey, it hovers, and as its head juts deeper, downwards.

Footsteps on the stairs, Naoise has smelt me awake. How will I write now ?

He has growing pains in his hands and he remarks about how cold it is down here. I wrap him up in blankets on the sofa and get out the screen babysitter.

The babysitter (teach your monster to read) is very efficient, albeit noisy sound affects and word pronunciations.

Hair, air, ear, air, ear, air, chair, ch, ch, chair, ear,ow, air, air, ow,air, air, ear, ear, can you find your friends next letter sound, lets learn a new sound, can you say, your…….

I walked on a Saturday, with my dear friend, each without our children, how decadent this felt. We walked a path that neither of us had trod previously, our destination the bride-stones beyond table top mountain, but it didn’t really matter where we were walking, where we might end up. We talked about our children, where they were born, ex partners, old jobs, how we felt when we were apart from our children. How things are different. A conversation that can go on uninterrupted. We had a laugh, pulled off pieces of moss and stuck them on our jumpers over our nipples, and I made a moss muff ! So much fun. No primal screaming just giggling and laughing. I see so much potential in all the moss.

I mentioned to her my conversation that I had with Syd whilst he was in the shower. Whilst he was naked. He must have read something I had written about aiming to make a naked performance. He begged me please mum don’t take your clothes off. I am such an embarrassment to him. I tried to talk about how taking your clothes off wasn’t such a big deal, it did not convince him. I can see his point of view, but I’d like to think that it won’t prevent me from making my artwork. Its only propositions, it is only skin on ground, its only my body. He must feel anxious about his body, his body changing ? My body is ageing, sagging, hanging on. I confess that I don’t feel comfortable getting any of my clothes off in front of a camera unless I can loose weight.

Naoise is off to duck world in his space ship, put all the ducks in the ur pond, put all the ducks in the your pond……

How is it possible to go for a walk on a Saturday, is this not a family day, the weekend ?  It is possible because Patrick has taken Naoise swimming and Syd is old enough to play out alone. He has gone to the park, to play football on the astroturf pitch. Syd roams a long way from home now. So here I am on the moors and he is down there in the park with his boyfriends. The distance between us grows wider.

Mum can you read this ? The babysitter turns out to be not quite as efficient as I had planned. There are constant interruptions, I am now battling to write these words, its hard to get a flow of thoughts.

2003_0709_141225AA Helen & Sydney beach copy

I found an old CD in the studio containing family photographs from 2003. During that summer, I went on holiday with my brother and his family to cornwall. Syd turned two, and we had a big family reunion with all my extended family at my uncles house. Amongst these images was a photograph of me holding Syd on the beach. I am so thin and slender and I seem happy and relaxed. A photograph can lie. It captures only a short moment. I am smiling out from a sad time. This was the year that I separated from Syd’s father. Not an easy time. A cutting time.

The relationship I was in with Syd’s dad was very destructive and the stress and confinement that I felt within it was unbearable. I am smiling out with relief, but with uncertainty. I am smiling out as I felt free, unburdened, being away, far away from the north, I remember not wanting to return home. I remember imagining another life in this place. A fictional life free from Syd’s father in the sun of the south.

Mum can I please watch a Power Ranger, oh Naoise please no, I cannot stand it, I cannot stand Power Rangers. Naoise is sweet and good and agrees on Octonauts instead, the sound of which is soothing as opposed to the crazy inducing fighting thumps and urgggghhhhhs.

The buzzer on the oven cooker sounds…..


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