Saturday, October 3, 2009

DAY THREE: Dove Cottage and Waterfall Hike in Ambleside

Poetry: “A way of remembering what it would impoverish us to forget.” –Robert Frost

23 September 2009

I am SO behind. It seems like everything has been backed up by two or three weeks. Time just goes by too quickly and there’s never enough time for anything. It seems I spend half of my life waiting for internet to work, and the other half doing homework although that’s an unfair estimation since I only have classes twice a week, so in the grand scheme of things, I’m most certainly out at least two to three times a week. Things are beginning to pile up, though—just like in Provo. It seems that unless you’re a slave to your school work, it piles up no matter what you do.

Day three up North was spent in the Lake District in a town called Ambleside. Our first stop was at Dove Cottage—where Wordsworth lived during his most successful years as a poet. Dove Cottage was built initially as a pub on the main North and South route through Ambleside, and looked out onto the Lake. It was named the ‘Dove and Olive Bough Pub.’ Some of the floors in the cottage are the same floors set down for the pub—easy to distinguish since the floors are smooth stone—easy for cleaning up beer spills. There’s also a little room that the Wordsworth’s used as a refrigerator that in its ‘pub days’ was a Beer store. Water runs underneath the stones to keep the room cool—and it works.

Wordsworth moved to the cottage in 1799 and initially lived with his sister. He decided to move there because he’d grown up in the Lake District with his family before his parents died and he and his sister were separated from each other.

My favorite part of the Dove Cottage was Wordsworth’s writing chair. He hated desks—he thought they were instruments of torture—so he sat on a chair that looked like a combination of a regular wooden dining room dinner chair and a corner stool. The room the writing chair was in was the most beautiful—the natural light streamed into the room through the window that would have once looked out onto the lake (since then, buildings have been built in front of the cottage). I can’t say I know Wordsworth’s work well, or that I know about his life, but I could imagine writing in that room: in that was my connection to him.

After Dove Cottage, Lisa, Sarah and I went on a little hike through Ambleside to this waterfall to do some sketches. The waterfall was defiantly beautiful, but I’ve realized that in all the time I used to spend drawing—I really hate sketching. I don’t know if I’m bad at it because I don’t work at it, or if I don’t work at it because I become so bored while sketching. I’d much prefer to sketch little architectural niches that I find interesting in Cathedrals or on streets than nature.

This brings to mind the month I spent at California College of the Arts taking printmaking and Illustration. I remember my Mom saying something about how she hated that since going there I never drew anymore. At the time I remember her saying something about how she thought I didn’t draw anymore because I thought everyone was so much better than I was, so I just gave it up. I’m sure that’s partially true, because it was more than disheartening to be such a poor artist, surrounded by all these people who loved and were incredible at painting, drawing, or etching. I thought that I loved art, and then it turned out I wasn’t very good. It probably didn’t help that I never received very good feedback in my Illustration class. Printmaking was another story—I loved printmaking and if I could take another printmaking class, I’m pretty sure I’d thoroughly enjoy it. BUT—enough. My point is, I remember sitting there spending all that time doing art for classes, and all I could think about was how badly I wanted to write. I wanted to write. I wanted to write. But instead, I had to sit there and work on an art assignment that I knew no one would find impressive or the least bit interesting. So maybe my Mom was right—but only partially.

Since then, I haven’t found anything I loved more than writing except movies. But, movies and writing can be done together and apart. But more than that, I’ve made a conscious decision that writing isn’t something I want to give up, even though I feel strained here—like I don’t have the freedom to write, and like it wouldn’t matter even if I did. I’m certain I’ll fall back into writing when I have more time, because I still feel the desire to write, I just don’t have the ability to do so—I don’t have the quiet, I don’t have the peace, I don’t have the light. I only hope that the things I’m seeing and experience will fill up my writing well, so to speak, and that I’ll be able to draw on those experiences later.

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