This might not look like much, but it represents one of my earliest and most vivid memories.
I remember walking with my parents and my brother one evening. It was a gorgeous, sunny evening, like the ones we were fortunate enough to have this weekend. Although not in a particularly scenic part of Derbyshire, a couple of minutes on foot would lead us to a little network of paths and fields. Some were almost tunnel-like, covered overhead as they were by trees - then a change in direction would lead to an opening, to an expanse, relatively speaking.
I was knee-height to my mum and dad. I've a strong image in my mind of them being tall and me being dwarfed by them - my arm aloft to hold one of their hands, and a sense of walking alongside their legs. As we walked, it felt like an adventure - journeying to somewhere unknown and secret. Charting new territory. After reaching the end of one lane which was quite dark - sheltered from the sun by overhanging trees - we reached a gate which led onto a path, fenced at either side.
Out from the cover of the trees, the sun bathed everything in a warm evening glow. The structure of the fence was thrown into silhouette, the space between the wooden posts and bars acting as a picture frame through to the fields behind. This moment is precisely what's remained in my memory so vividly, has stayed with me ever since. The sense of nearness (the fence) simultaneously contrasting with, defining and acting as a barrier to a sense of distance (the fields), all illuminated by the gorgeous, gradually fading sunlight. All around was peaceful and gentle, this was a timeless moment, but that unattainable distance sparked off some kind of curiosity in me. At that age - three? - obviously I couldn't exactly think in a sophisticated way about what it meant or represented, but I was full of imaginings of what was over there.
Whenever I'm back in Derbyshire at this time of year, I always make sure I go out and revisit the spot where this moment happened. Not for nostalgia, at least not primarily. The main reason is that whatever it is that struck a chord with me, is still there. I go out there and think, and imagine. Of late, I've been bemoaning my lack of creativity. Out there I find ideas easier to come by. When I'm there, ideas don't present themselves: rather, they well up, like grief.
I took the pictures on Saturday evening. They're very pixellated at this size, but far better if you click for the full image.