I was tidying out a cupboard when I came across a carrier bag full of stuff. I stopped what I was doing and began going through its contents. It turned out to be a bag full of memories with some photos I’d never seen.
Two pictures stood out for me. One with my Mum and me looking back, as we walked down a country lane. The second was a picture of me and my Dad on Dartmoor.
I’d never seen these pictures before but they transformed me back to my childhood. A click of a shutter (these were the days of film long before digital) captured on camera a moment in time that 30 years on stopped me in my tracks and got me thinking about the amazing power of photography and the role of the outdoors in my childhood.
Photography shapes the way that we see the past. Long after the event a picture reminds us of a time long forgotten or a cherished moment in our lives. They help us tap deep into our minds to find those memories from years gone by.
Seeing the picture of me and Mum looking back to Dad as he takes the picture has unlocked a vivid memory of Sunday walks in the country. We’d often set off for a stroll, what-ever the weather. In this picture you can see that it’s been raining and looks fairly damp. We look really contented, even rosy cheeked; showing the power of the countryside and fresh air to lift the spirits. That puddle in the distance looks pretty tempting to me and you can get a sense of the journey ahead as the path meanders in to the distance. I keep looking at this picture and it makes me smile. Job done!
The picture of Dad and me is taken on Dartmoor with Haytor in background. As a kid I spent many happy an hour on the moors climbing up to the tors, having breakfast in a sheltered spot or looking out for the ponies roaming the unforgiving countryside. This snapshot of time shows that the outdoors is in my DNA. I’ve always had a love of the countryside and nature which has grown in recent years but this small colour photo shows that it’s been a constant in my life. In the picture you can see that the weather is fairly typical for Dartmoor with the wind wiping across our faces but we look happy and ready to battle the elements.
For me these two pictures neatly sum-up the importance of the outdoors to childhood. You get a real sense of adventure whether in one of the national parks or walking down a country lane near to where you live. You can feel the full force of the elements and create those snapshots in time that can fuel a lifetime of memories.
And I look to my life now, taking my kids out into the countryside on mini-adventures, safe in the knowledge that they’ll look back on their childhood as fondly as I do now these pictures have come to light.