Water. Everywhere. Rain and rising streams. I suppose it’s not so strange to feel homesick at these sounds. I grew up by water. She ran content and deadly by turns, at the bottom of my childhood garden, in the sinuous form of the River Dee.
As a child I watched her eat trees whole, swirl up to smother the fields around my home; she stole chairs, toys, dogs, sheep. She was rapacious and unstoppable, and then as summer soothed her rising tides she started to purr, becoming a silk ribbon to rock you to sleep or a cold underwater world where only children could pass.
Our scavenged rafts where carried in her careful hands through her calmest months, those endless summer holidays of the nearly grown, and we forgot her appettite for souls – nine a year, if the romans were to be believed – we forgot how she roared in the winter, how she almost stole our labrador puppy, Sam, when he stumbled too close to her flooded fingers.
And she is with me still, running through my writing, a character in herself; another part of my turning seasons, another waymarker in my life, her autumn flood one more thing to miss.
The Entrance of The Rivers.
Beloved of the rivers,beset
By azure water and transparent drops,
Like a tree of veins your spectre
Of dark goddess biting apples:
And then awakening naked
To be tattoed by the rivers,
And in the wet heights your head
Filled the world with new dew.
Water rose to your waist,
You are made of wellsprings
And lakes shone on your forehead.
From your sources of density you drew
Water like vital tears
And hauled the riverbeds to the sand
Across the planetary night,
Crossing rough, dilated stone,
Breaking down on the way
All the salt of geology,
Cutting through forests of compact walls
Dislodging the muscles of quartz.
– Pablo Neruda.
And here is my beautiful childhood home on the Duke of Westminster’s estate. I found these amazing photographs online and was particularly thrilled to see my river captured as her waters rose.