It’s early August and around me harvest is in full swing.
The fields have been yellow for about a month. Hurrying tractors and large farm machinery have been speeding outside my window late into the night.
Harvest is very beautiful to watch and this year, due to the pandemic, I have been home since the middle of March walking an average seven kilometres a day across the landscape around me. I have noticed the fields, what is seeded, what grows, areas left to their own devices, many farm workers busy late into the nights. You could say I have noticed the seasons but I think it would be more appropriate if I say, I have noticed the weather and how it is affecting the land.
Yesterday, 3rd August 2020, was a weird day with a kind of quiet nervous rumble. Nothing much happened. I went swimming in the reservoir with my friend Rachel, had a wee squabble with my partner about nothing and fell asleep during the 10 o’clock news.
Yesterday, 3rd August 2020, a weird day was plentiful. I went swimming with my friend Rachel, had an impassioned conversation about capacity and expectations with my partner, weeded around the leek seedlings, later on watered the beans, carrots, courgettes, the beetroot and what is left of the cauliflower seedlings. I wrote three emails seeking labour engagement. I seeded food and labour.
Yesterday, 3rd August 2020, marked twenty-one years of life in the UK, life as a migrant, life as an immigrant, life as a person of no place, life as a foreigner in the land of my birth and in the country of my residence. A foreigner in both languages. I am reminded of my impermanence, of my fragile state — not just as an artist during this time — but a fragile state of non-belonging desperately trying to make new acquaintances while looking for validation.
Harvest is all around me. Reaping the little seeds sown and those that just self-seeded. A cultivated crop and a crop that simply bursts. It is so easy to focus on cultivating a crop, on creating the conditions to reap what you have sowed. It feels harder to notice what has seeded itself. What has developed without much cultivation. What keeps recurring even when you pull it out. This tension between control and chaos.
Twenty-one years in the UK feels like a lifelong daily negotiation between swaying in the wind and trying to root. In the past four years I have come closer to finding a place to root. I have also been swaying lots:- between feeling like I’ve got this and coming close to giving up altogether.
I suppose I will never arrive anywhere. Or I suppose I am arriving all the time. I suppose I will be forever travelling. I am forever travelling, forever learning, forever listening and forever wondering. Being a migrant just exacerbates this search for belonging, for loading to belong.
The harvest is all around me, in early August, it is in full swing.