There is no repose like that of the green deep woods.
Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill.”
If had to choose my favourite photo from my lockdown photo project I think it would be this one. I love my legs, they’re the part of me that always give me confidence, even if I may be feeling ‘meh’ about the rest of me. I love their shape, their length and I really love getting messages back from lovers telling me how much they’d like my legs to be wrapped around them at that moment. Comments like that are a Pavlovian Bell for happy hot memories.
But I love this photo not just for my legs but for the woods. It’s no secret how much I love photographing in the woods but these woods now have a special place in my heart. I spent a huge amount of time wandering round the Great North Wood during lockdown and by the end of it I’d visited all the accessible patches of it (and snapped a daily photo in many of them!). Discovering all this woodland has been an absolute joy – so much so that I’ve now signed up to be a volunteer for the conservation work! I may keep my clothes on for the volunteering!
“Spread a fern frond over a man’s head and worldly cares are cast out and freedom and beauty and peace come in.” John Muir
On Tuesday, Exhibit A and I had a photo adventure in the woods. It was food for my soul. I’m lucky enough that he only lives a couple of miles from me so we’ve been able to see quite a bit of each other over the last few months, through doorstep drops of tasty treats and an occasional wander in a park. There’s been a couple of times where I’ve had a physical pang of missing him, when I wished we could be hanging out on my sofa rather than talking to each other from a garden gate, but on the whole apart from the lack of physical intimacy I don’t think lockdown has been too hard on us. On occasions I’ve probably felt closer to him than in before times.
But getting on a train and spending the afternoon wandering around the woods, taking photos of each other and idle chatting was a dose of ‘normal us’ coming back. Of course, while Liv is still on her current contract we have keep physically distanced so whereas as it would usually be back to mine after an afternoon out this time it was tea and wagon wheels on opposite ends of a big log and then me on the train and him in the car. But I woke up the next morning with the same contented feeling I do after one of our really great date nights.
This week has felt a world away from last week where it suddenly all just got too much and I cried for five hours one evening and then started again the next morning when I woke up. As well as mine and EA’s photo adventure, I was able to hang out with one of the other recipients of my daily photos (hallelujah!) and time has been spent in drizzly gardens and sunny woods with friends. Add to this the fact my hairdresser phoned to book me in for mid-July (almost deserving of another hallelujah!) and my Pilates studio is taking bookings for a few weeks’ time and it’s almost like my life is coming back to me. Things won’t be the same for a long time (if ever) but the things that are creeping in bring joy and hope.
Five years ago today I published my first post. Exactly three hundred posts later (I didn’t aim for a round number for my anniversary, that’s just chance!) here I land at the ‘wood’ anniversary.
So to celebrate five years and to kick off sports week on my February Photo Fest here’s a photo of me running naked in the woods. Ordinarily I’d write some long wafflely words about what a ride it’s been and how much all you folk mean to me, but I have a four-year-old niece who wants to see some dinosaurs so I need to dash!
Here’s to five more years. Will I need to change my name to Exposing50?
Can you see the man in this photo? He’s there, I promise! When you find him the man in question is @lovelustlondon. He’s easier to find in this shot from our day out last spring.
Incidentally, he’s just starting regularly blogging again after some time away from that and his photos and writing are definitely worth checking. I love this week’s Sinful Sunday (which I can’t comment on O as Blogger always kicks me out!). And you can buy his latest book here.
cabin fever noun a state characterized by anxiety, restlessness, and boredom, arising from a prolonged stay in a remote or confined place.
I don’t know about you, but I think spending a prolonged period of time in a confined space with the wonderful Tabitha Rayne would result in anything but boredom. A fever maybe, but definitely not boredom!
The theme of my February Photofest 2017 was black and white. This year I had grand plans to recreate 28 of the sexiest album covers my friends and I could think of. That idea required far more time than I had at my disposal and up until Tuesday this week I didn’t think I’d be participating at all. But then I made a snap decision to hop on board and now I’m busy working out how I can fill 28 days!
I’m not going to give the whole month a theme this year but I am going to give each week a theme. That was Molly’s suggestion when I saw her at the sex bloggers’ Christmas party so thank you for that!
The theme of week one is an easy one to fill from my archives of unused shots – outdoors! And better still, we kick off with Throwback Thursday so I get to re-edit an old favourite. And that old favourite is October. When I showed @19syllables yesterday her response was “ooh, I’m a wood witch.” I really loved the unedited version of this shot, but right now I think I might love this sinister version even more! What do you think?
Dendrochronology is the method by which you date a tree by analysing its patterns and age rings. It is derived from the Greek word dendron which translates as ‘tree limb’. On Friday I noticed @lovelustlondon tweet that this weekend he adds another age ring to his chronology. As I’d so far only published one shot from our April walk in the park I thought a birthday Sinful Sunday was in order. Happy Birthday!
Here’s the second of the photos from mine and @19syllables’s autumn adventure last week. Words and photo by her, body mine! Anyone who knows me will guess these words made me weepy happy.
A trip in the woods with Exposing40 is a many faceted joy. During the times I’ve been out with her on photography adventures I’ve learned so much. It seems hackneyed but I’ve definitely grown because of it, both for myself, and in my attitude and knowledge of others. The comments that people write on her blog are so positive but sometimes those words make me feel that the pictures don’t tell the whole story. I think they paint a scene of calm and oneness with ourselves and nature. But although there is happiness it’s perhaps not as zen as you might think.
There is so much laughing. Actual hooting. Naked, joyful hooting. Right at the moment we should be super-quiet and inconspicuous. There’s tip-toeing barefoot (bare-arsed) over the spikey beech nuts on the forest floor (“ooh, oww yeesh, gah!”). There’s the moment she asked me (from where she’s lying on the forest floor) how the pictures are looking and I accidentally say she looks “a little bit like roadkill” and we laugh that silent sort of laughing when tears well up in your eyes and you can’t make any noise.
I backtrack: “No, no, not roadkill. Not roadkill at all. Maybe something out of one of those Scandinavian TV thrillers..”
We hold onto our naked sides to as if to stem the laughing from bursting out of us and rethink the shot. There’s forgetting which tree we’ve left our clothes behind. There’s E40 so sweetly reminding me to focus the shots and maybe wear my reading glasses which I’m consistently failing to do because I am having So. Much. Damn. Fun. There’s discovering we’ve lost E40’s knickers, retracing our steps only to find them hanging on a twig, jaunty and triumphant, aloft in the breeze like a standard to nudity, and her whooping through the idyllic dappled shade “Hooray! I found them!”
Afterwards, I’m brimming with a special sort of wellness that can only be achieved through forests and friendships and freedom.