Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Drawing and memory

Today I stumbled across this graphite drawing I made almost three years ago in a notebook.

I have always carried a book with me for recording ideas and lists but at the time of this drawing I had only just started tentatively including pictures.

This sketch comes before I had even heard of Urban Sketchers or Everyday Matters, before I knew that other people were drawing their everyday life.

I had started doing some art. I had started painting trees. But I wasn't quite sure where I was going with it all yet. (And sometimes, I still don't know.)

But when I looked at this sketch today a flood of memories came rushing back.

I was lying in a hammock on the verandah of a beach house we had rented for a weekend. Kim had gone fishing for a few hours while Miss P had her afternoon nap. She was already trying to give up her day sleeps and I was relieved she was actually down. She wasn't yet two years old. (And she starts kinder next week! Can it be so?).

It was hot. That stifling, suffocating late summer heat which turns my brain to mush and saps my energy.

My brain was already mush though, because I was pregnant with our second child. It was first-trimester exhaustion, the kind where you're wading through days like you're underwater. Bone-tired.

But I was making myself stay awake in that hammock to draw because I had a nagging voice in my head telling me I must do something and not waste the afternoon. (I wish I could switch this voice off...especially on holidays).

Cicadas hummed, everything was still in the heat. I could smell eucalyptus.

Every day of this holiday we drove into town and bought ice-creams from the shop. On one day Miss P ran towards an electric fence near a playground (but thankfully didn't run into it). We saw an echidna scamper into bushes by the side of a road. And I remember being tired, tired, tired.

All this - and more - came rushing back when I looked at this drawing. I'm not sure a photo could accomplish the same onslaught of memory. (Although I think I would remember the electric fence thing regardless!)

Sometimes I feel panicked that I'm forgetting things about my kids' growing up. That these years are like sand through my fingers. Time moves too quickly. I can't take enough photos. I can't even archive them. I haven't finished filling out the baby books. Yeah, I know. Can't catch up on some of those milestones now.

But if I can draw, and keep drawing, then I hope these sketchbooks will one day evoke rich memories from these muddled, messy, chaotic days and maybe make some sense of it all.