A recent visit to my previous home town was a period of mixed emotions, to be expected, I suppose during a time when I’m still trying to find my feet, let alone some of my belongings, in a new home in an unfamiliar region.
It was pleasant to walk down the street and say g’day to folk I know. Those same actions also brought feelings of loss tweaked with sadness for what is leaving my life.
Walking along Main Street in Maldon, I was caught unawares by a new shopfront, featuring an amazing display of prints. Set up by Cascade Print Workshop, the premises had only opened the previous day. I’ve enjoyed the privilege and benefit from participating in a workshop run by Jeff Gardner and Kareen Anchen and was intrigued by their new business venture. I was also thrilled to see prints and their makers being given a dedicated venue.
With my own printmaking being in hiatus during moving house and settling in, the variety of nature prints, woodcuts and engravings and lino prints had me yearning for time in the studio, carving blocks, and pulling prints of my own.
The past couple of weeks have found me questioning recent decisions. Have I done the right thing? Will I make connections, and friends? Will I ever get the soil to retain water, in spite of the drying seasonal winds? Will I have the energy and persistence to make the beginnings of my dream home into the finished product? Will my knew studio be as conducive to work and play as my old one?
In other words, I was feeling a tad sorry for myself, and a little lonely.
Although the return to Maldon invited recognition of all sorts of losses, it also inspired a renewed determination to prove to myself that recent choices were indeed the right ones, at least for this period of my life. Back home, here, the cawing of crows, the high-pitched chatter of willy-wagtails, and the song of a magpie inspire a renewed stretching and opening of wings – mine.