Writings and reflections on an interdisciplinary PhD. Highlights include: floods, forests, geography, social science, computer modelling, muddy data collection and a river
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Landscapes: My Labyrinth
originally published on afreebean.com December 2018
I am meant to be writing up a short piece on the landscape research I’ve been studying over the last few weeks. This follows on from two months of landscape / flood management / farming / forestry literature research which is forming the first part of my PhD. I will do two things next week: write a blog post on the first three months of a PhD (mine, obviously), and get my head around the landscape literature I am really struggling to contain into a useable mess (rather than the web of complexity currently in my head). I tried writing it this morning but it didn’t work. So I wrote a poem instead. It actually says a lot of what I want to say in the essay, but hasn’t quite nailed the political dimension of landscapes as it should….
My Labyrinth I see, reflected back at me, my childhood. A memory, a tree A small stone, and an apple for my best friend. A fear of climbing where an Ash once stood, A wild space tamed and paved, uprooted and regrown. Young trees old and over-mown bluebells surviving pigs and grandmothers and strimmer spells. Memories in the smell of summer cut grass. Identity in changing fields and things I’d never change that will not last. A land dwelt, worked, drawn in frames of time. Mine. Not mine. And yet my strength was built on roads and cliffs and mountains, not in this. This place on which I built exists in time and mind I love but have no need to walk the fields, I walk them sleeping, waking, dreaming I have learnt to separate myself from place and yet cannot, will not, do not have to leave this space behind. It is part of what is mine.