Recently I watched Beau Miles’s short film in which he runs 650km along the Australian Alps. After 421km he explains how there are two versions of himself; one who is good at looking ahead and one who is good at living in the moment, and I paused the video. I realised that, unlike Beau, throughout lockdown I have been living almost exclusively in the past; losing my job, thinking about the last time I went to a pub, and fruitlessly reflecting on decisions I made years ago. From the second I watched that clip I decided to check myself when I start venturing into the past; it is done, the pandemic is hopefully receding, and I want to look forward to what is next.
One way this is possible is through art, and the Solent and surrounding countryside have provided ample inspiration for projects over the past year. I became a Marine Champion for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust because I wanted to do something useful, meet new people and have another excuse to hang out by the sea. Running once a day for months on end had built up into a desire to spend whole days outdoors, and I hoped to volunteer on the Wightlink ferry talking to passengers about seabirds. Watching birds feed and interact is so far removed from our daily lives it creates a haven away from the bustle of work that I find alluring. Unfortunately, talking to groups of people on the ferry has not been possible, so I have channelled my passion for birdwatching and the ocean into artwork instead.