Fog-Drenched Wild Ponies of the New Forest!

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

 A few weeks back on our way to the Isle of Wight with friends, we drove through the New Forest.  Unwittingly, unsuspectingly!

The rain lashed down furiously that morning as we passed the wild ponies that have come to be characteristic of the Hampshire woodlands; standing as silent sentinels watching the passage of time and traveller through the millennia. And I’m a dreamer, a hungry, insatiable one who’s constantly in search of the new, untouched and unblemished experiences that I haven’t tasted yet; and one who also has the pleasure and privelege of raising a daughter who is in that sense similar.

Driving through this beautiful, yet daunting geography on that grey and tidal day, I began to view Rahel’s small and chiseled face in Picasso’s reductive terms  –  her heartshaped face with its aquiline nose; her strong almond eyes condescending on her thin, small mouth now filled with emotion. In my mind’s eye, I’ve come to view that scene as one from a pastoral landscape, with the characters and their idealized desire for the unity of man and nature, a restoration with the Divine – a hairsbreadth’s distance, an abysmal divide!  I believe that being there made me feel that all we were or are is nothing more than a group of dust covered vagrants, passing through bare, intermediate landscapes! Maybe that’s what being confronted with the magnitude of nature does to us… so this morning, armed with coffee, camera and just one lens, I went back to capture a little of something we might never see the same way in more clement weather!

Here are these ancient steeds of the south photographed on a desperately foggy, damp,  5˚ C day!

Swash_ornament

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

Swash_ornament

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

Swash_ornament

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

  Swash_ornament

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

  Swash_ornament

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

Swash_ornament

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

Swash_ornament

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

Swash_ornament

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

Swash_ornament

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

Swash_ornament

wild ponies, wild horses, new forest, hampshire, travel, monochrome, black and white

*This is my attempt at capturing a family moment, and I dedicate these ten photographs to  my Rahel…for being a fellow dreamer and a believer in the delicate beauty of wild horses!

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www.intrepidmisadventurer.com

You can find me, my stories and my images on a somewhat more regular basis over at my Instagram account :)

A Glass Half-Empty ‘and’ a Glass Half-Full!

glass half empty, glass half full, happiness, positivity, lifestyle,

So, I’ve been missing in action for a bit and if I ask myself where I’ve been or what I’ve been upto — it’s a regular sort of reply in my head! I’ve been here and there, doing this and that, some nice things, some relatively unglamorous.  But when you move and people from your ‘past life’ ask you how things are, I’ve recently realised that it’s very difficult to answer honestly. Like, dead honestly! The truth really is a glass half-full just about as it’s half-empty and maybe all the ‘count-your-blessing’-type conversations we’ve ever had, have originated from this very predicament; the need to see the half-full in the half-empty.

How am I? Let’s see…I love where I am geographically, Dorset’s pretty (a bit of an understatement–but I don’t want to appear delusional)! The people are kinder than anywhere I’ve been and we’ve been made to feel very at-home both in the community and at school. We really couldn’t have asked for much more! I live in a house that I’ve chosen, designed and decorated just the way I’d planned for years and I love it- I feel like I’m home every single time I come in and at 37, that’s comforting and I get to share it all with the people I love the most in the whole world! (There you go, that’s the depth of my zen-seeking mind! ;P)

As blissful and ‘ near perfect’ as the above scenario seems and I swear that it’s the whole and complete truth, there is also the feeling of the glass half-empty….the sense of being a square peg in a round hole that is this world! As I write this, I hear the churning and guzzling of the dishwasher, I have a cup of weak tea in front of me laced with what seems to have become a quiet kitchen obsession-vanilla paste and honey.  I hope that it will stop the whirring in my mind and the incessant list-making I’ve taken to since we moved and especially this week as my husband leaves to Chicago soon for a bit and I’m holding fort alone. I look out into the darkness of night that’s playing out to the soundtrack of bush crickets and and am aware of the children asleep upstairs – one in the guest room because she’s in one of those moods that’s about every parent’s nightmare, leaving me with a lingering feeling of having been a bad mother and caused tears at bedtime. Of essentially being the antithesis of every motherhood commercial and parenting advice guide! I know I will remember tonight – sound memory and emotion are inextricably intertwined and great moments of introspection often happen while faced with the me I love, but also mourn! Life, in the best of circumstances, is hard and emotional resolutions lie at the heart of even the most commonplace circumstances.

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A part of me questions why can’t we accept the glass half-empty conundrum, why do we need to quell it so…why are we always after that piece of cake, that online purchase, that absolute bone-marrow motivated ‘need’ to get over that slump of staring reality/disappointment/disillusionment squarely in the face? Like allowing ourselves to consider life disrobed from all it’s tinsel is in someway accepting the worst defeat, or potentially spiralling down into an abyss of no return. We aren’t perfect poeple and we clearly don’t inhabit a perfect world, so why should we be expected to exist in an unrealistic happy-bubble?

Oftentimes, I feel that so much of our self improvement is impeded by this incessant pursuit of happy-ness.  We’ve created social ecosystems to cater to this need of lives awash with our curated bliss, and perhaps that is part of the truth, but definitely far from any absolute! Aren’t the biggest changes borne out of reaching rock-bottoms? of being thrust against the wall and finding the way back? Hasn’t ‘necessity’ always been the mother of invention? Where does personal growth, re-evalution and honest re-assessments have a chance without the ability to see the possibility of something better? Think relationships, think finance — the two most volatile aspects of life as we know it! The glass half empty is sometimes a leveller- a realist’s perspective, it’s a chance to acknowledge that real problem solving is hardly something that swathes itself in mindless positivity and hedonism. So much of our modern maladies stems from the fact that our generation lacks the grit that our forebearers had and I, being no social expert, see the hand of complacent pleasure seeking in it!

I’m all for positive thinking and acknowledge firsthand the power of the mind! (I think my Instagram feed is testimony to my being very easily pleased), but of late, I find myself uneasy at being perceived ungrateful despite all that I’m blessed with, for feeling that gnaw of human emptiness, an existential angst or imperfection, call it what you may. The same feeling of the glass half empty in the face of unequivocal success, when celebrities holding their awards in hand, say it hasn’t hit them yet, and it probably never will! That lovely state of just being at peace or accepting that there are no limitless highs is what I call reality, and it’s very welcome in my life!

 

www.intrepidmisadventurer.com

 

If you’ve liked reading this, I’d also recommend : Retro-Chic and the Cult of Neo-Sobriety  and On Nouveau Peasantry & Elitist Simplicity!

On Nouveau Peasantry & Elitist Simplicity!

Wood, simple living, rustic, new peasant

Peasant blouses, boho skirts and handmade, vegetable-dyed leather that one meets in every single catalogue and website is a trend I warm toward! (Largely because the look covers a multitude of sins, and apart from a very fortunate handful, makes everyone look ridiculously shapeless. It also fosters belief that a large segment of the world couldn’t-care-less about what they put on! Yes, my naiveté is charming, indeed!) :-)

Conversing about this and the incomprehensible prices of ‘heirloom grains’ with my in-the-know, whole-foods loving friends, I recently got called an aspiring ‘New Peasant’ and was pointed to the Harper’s Bazaar quiz to check if I really had ‘the symptoms’! (Well, I do live in Dorset and buy way more Goats cheese than anyone above a size 0 legimitately should! ;P) But, all jokes aside, I have to admit that there is a latent, softly-emerging “Nouveau Peasant” that’s come to the fore as my nesting instincts have been test driven these past few months! (If you are a first time visitor, can I gently point in you in this direction for a catch up?!)

 

Wood, simple living, rustic, new peasant
Wood, simple living, rustic, new peasant

Like endless culturally and geographically displaced 30 + year olds, the appeal of a more meaningful existence removed from the abject capitalism of the 80’s and 90’s appeals to me. The idea of a quieter, more pro-active life filled with pursuits deemed “authentic”, “real” and “meaningful” holds a certain inescapable charm.  Possibly echoing an entire generation that I’m part of, I’ve felt like a hamster on the wheel and toyed with the idea of a country home with the smells of freshly baking bread, rain kissed gardens and the pleasures of home-made chutneys/ jams devoured gratefully with a few friends that matter etc. etc…and if that makes me a new peasant, I’d gladly don the title! (After all, who wouldn’t want a slice of this careless perfection, often captured in scores of lifestyle mags with cool muted photos on matte film, untouched by the taint of reality?!)

The only fly in the ointment here is that the closer I look at these suburban aspirations available in a profusion of “Indie” channels, the more obvious the elitism of this ‘simplicity’ is! Often, carefully concealed in these frugal, made-from-scratch lifestyles of homesteading dreams and rustic hand-thrown salads is a subtext of discrimination and division. One can’t but see through the rhetoric of the ‘jam-jar revolution’ to know that it’s as much about the haves and have-nots as is a full-fledged designer dinner put together by high-profile planners and caterers. Aspiring to this new-peasant, fern-rich-simplicity is sadly a very middle-class ethos!

 

Wood, simple living, rustic, new peasant, tea, speciality, hipster

The more I think about this, the more I conclude that we’re drawn to the lure of a life of unmitigated good times for a reason; after all, no other generation stood the chance of seeing the advancements ours has, or felt more entitled to a better life! Our constant search for contentment is seen even in the mere reminiscence of a well baked croissant or a freshly brewed pot of your drink of choice! The story of our lives seems to have moved to the fine print and the magic lies solely in the details. The bigger picture is just too daunting to contemplate.

Life only seems to make sense when broken down into it’s rudimentary form of human connections. With this I agree….

What I find fault with is the story of people/collectives who project the lives you wish you could live, the cool elitism of their ‘artisan’ simplicity causing distinctions and exclusions in their thumbing their noses at anything mainstream. (Tut-tut anyone who uses regular plates or supermarket cutlery to photograph their authentic offerings!) A contradiction unambiguously jarring to the very premise of home-making and fellowshipping; connectedness and community! The fundamental backbone of a human collective, as it were!

Wood, simple living, rustic, new peasant, bread

Interesting that this profusion of baking , the “real” food and the “real” living and all our “cultivated” and “curated” beauty occurs quite conspicuously among those fairly well placed on the social ladder (quite unlike generations that precceeded us with their dreams of capitalism and a resultant land of ‘milk and honey’).  Is it all evidence that we yearn for a better world and seek to create a microcosm of it in our own lives, despite the fact that we are not quite the ‘struggling’?!

Living as we do in a world that stamps out honest, wholesome principles of relationships ie: intimacy and connectedness and plays into the ample hands of fabricated creativity-the answer barely lies in a ‘choreography’ of meaningfulness. Recognising that living simple shouldn’t cost so much, connecting with loved ones shouldn’t need a £1000 camera and every social media at the ready, is probably a good place to start!

And please, for the love of life, let’s bring potato chips and cheese puffs back to the party –the people serving Quinoa on Nori mostly look miserable for a reason! ;P

 

Wood, simple living, rustic, new peasant, chorizo, wine

 

If you liked this, you might also like:

Retro-Chic and the Cult of Neo-Sobriety!

and

Unfinished Business!

www.intrepidmisadventurer.com