During November, the county pauses each year to remember all those who have played their part in the many wars. In Cumbria, there have been many events, artworks and exhibitions to aid this moment of reflection.
Two things left their mark on me. Just how many sites around Cumbria have been generously donated to the nation in remembrance, and how many archivists and artists work hard each year on projects that allow us to pay tribute in a meaningful way.
I visited The Cockermouth Heritage Group's exhibition celebrating 100 years since the World War One Armistice, and came across this map of the 13 fells gifted to the nation to remember the fallen.
So here, straight away, are markers in the landscape of the 'hard work' of individuals. I think it can be agreed that this version of hard work, war on an industrial scale, went beyond what could be asked of any human. Peter Jackson's film, They Shall Not Grow Old, explores this inhuman ask particularly effectively. Through footage and first-hand oral archive the entire process of soldiering is revealed.
Going back to the Cockermouth Heritage Group's exhibition, it seemed that there wasn't one section of the community that didn't contribute in some way. It made clearer to me, the type of contributions made by conscientious objectors, children, refugees who had found themselves relocated to this area, German Prisoners of War, and Women's organisations and movements.
Only a couple of weeks before, I had visited the Merz Barn in Langdale. A refugee from World War Two, the artist Kurt Schwitters lived and worked here for many years. He not only continued to make a living as an artist, but also collaborated with a farmer to develop the landscape and his own sculptural artworks. For his work and ideas, he continues to be remembered as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. The Merz Barn site is now also being used as a memorial to artists who have lost their lives or suffered due to their work and beliefs during times of war.
Pursuing an understanding of what we need to exist in the world: how do we connect with others (and the wider world and its objects), what is our language.