How I long for Heysham and my dream of opening a shop in Heysham Village. How I long for those sunsets upon the barrows and how I long for the quiet and peace of St Peter’s Church graveyard where all you can hear is the animals scuttering and the birds singing.
I must be homesick and the answer is no for you smart arses who may think I long for death!
Childhood in Heysham Village
I was born in 1971 and I grew up in Heysham and left when I was 10/11 years old and obviously not of my own choice. I remember as a child I’d have to walk holding hands with a fellow schoolmate while walking through Heysham Village to St Peter’s Church on special occasions. That’s my earliest memory of Heysham Village. Later memories come from exploring the village and what great fun I had.
Back in those days, it wasn’t odd that you would get pushed out of the door after breakfast and you was happy being outside and playing with your friends and going on adventures. You wouldn’t return home until tea time at least and even then, I’m not the only one who would have been late in. There’s many an occasion I would walk through Heysham Village on my own and marvel at the gentle hustle and bustle and I loved all of the stalls that aligned the main street. I never got to try nettle beer though!
I remember an artist who had a shop near to St Peter’s Church and I couldn’t wait to take her my pencil drawings after school and she would critique them. She was and still is a shining example of how an artist should be, inspiring children. Sadly, I can’t remember her name.
Churchyard of St Peter’s
The churchyard of St Peter’s Church is very old and has artefacts from Saxon times like the Saxon cross shaft pictured below.
With my graveyard photography, I hope to show you the beauty of this graveyard and how from a young age, spending time in here on my own inspired my work today.
You may or may not know my story, but I had to leave my childhood place, suddenly and in circumstances that I suppose I could write a book about that would lead to a film being produced, (oh how I fantasise hahaha). I returned in my early twenties to take photographs so that I could remember St Peter’s graveyard and how it made me feel as a child. At the time I was living just under a 2 hour drive away.
Unfortunately, when I looked at the photographs, they held no emotion whatsoever. They were flat and I was upset that I didn’t have any decent images. They were simply snapshots that were so unbelievably boring. They didn’t serve my purpose and it was at this point that I took up photography as the purpose was for the viewer to stare in wonder and get lost in the photograph and think about the place, the people and its history. I wanted it to be emotive!
So it’s only fair that I put together what I consider as my emotive tour of my childhood haunt that inspires my graveyard photography. We start with an old photograph taken many years ago that I’ve never published before, but it fits in well here. Don’t ask me why but the phrase, ‘consecrated ground’ is kind of spooky.
The fairy tale grave above is what you think at first sight, to be a lonely grave with the odd shard of sunlight managing to break through the old and magnificent branches above. Where the sunlight hits, their is life growing among the decay and I love my phrase that is inspired by this graveyard photograph, ‘there’s beauty in death‘. I’m also inspired by that old photograph of the faeries at the bottom of the garden. Are faeries hiding underneath the ivy?
The photograph above is one of my favourites and I’m surprising myself now by not having this framed upon my wall. This for me sums up my marvelling at the beauty of dark places and I think the old tree with its many branches is what makes me feel safe when out of the light. I love the twisty tops of the old iron as well, but how many people see this beauty?
Graveyard photography isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I do know this! I think it’s their fear of the unknown and death that makes ones shudder at the thought of being alone in a graveyard. Death comes to us all at some point and the journey that I’m on right now is showing me that I’m going full circle. I’m on my way home!
I started this article in a graveyard, loving the stories that the dead tell, the peace, the beauty of it and marvelling at nature, the birds singing and being alone. The latter is very significant, because right now, through my experience of general anxiety disorder and my recovery, the importance of LIVING LIFE FOR TODAY, being back in nature and taking time out from the mundane, being in the PRESENT MOMENT and marvelling at the wonder of nature is what I now strive for. I’ve gone full circle and back to my childhood, hence wanting to return to Heysham. To read more about my journey visit gemstonehealing.co.uk
You may have seen my Memento Mori photography that I love to find and this is proof that centuries ago, people understood the importance of living life for today as it may be over tomorrow. They used imagery to show that no matter what our status is in life, we are all the same in death.
Get back in nature and enjoy it and is that a crude skull to the right of the cross in the image below?
There’s so much to explore in this graveyard and it’s another reason why I want to return to Heysham.
The graveyard sits high on the coastline of Morecambe Bay and each time you visit this graveyard, you will get a different image due to the clouds casting long dark shadows. It’s such a great place and you will never get bored.
Venture out of the graveyard and up onto the Barrows and visit the ruins of St Patrick’s Chapel. This is an amazing area to sit and watch the sunset and do some meditation and experience the magic of the cosmic universe. You will also find the rock cut graves next to the ruins.
This post is a part of my visualisation to obtain my goals and desires. If it is meant to be, I’ll see you there shortly.