Changing Seasons, New Beginnings


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Posted on April 21, 2013


It comes at a raging rush, and it comes in waves. As I stand on the stony shelf the surge rolls towards my feet every second or two. It is pulsing while it is flowing. A few weeks ago I walked up the pale slabs of this river bed, I knelt beneath ten-foot icicles and peered through ice sheets, hearing only a gentle trickle of water and the echoes of bird song.

The river, after rain
The river, after rain

Today it's a roar. The bed is submerged, the water brown with white crests, tumbling down the gorge thousands of litres a second, released from the sky last night, from the fells today.

I woke this morning to the howl of wind and the hammer of rain, the garden a lake, the small syke, which was empty yesterday, a torrent as high as the bridge, and the valley humming with the sound of storm. It has calmed now, this afternoon, but the river carries the echo of the storm, singing its imprint from sky to sea. There is nothing else to hear down here in the gully, only water, only force, only storm memory.

I step up from the gorge and the air is full of heady ramson, the spring garlic that has greened the woodland floor. The sound of rushing water behind and below me is joined by the clammer of wind in the tree tops. I am between roars between flows. The tiniest of buds are seeping out of winter branch: birch, green and smooth; hawthorn, small pink-white clusters; hazel, yellow-green leaf buds to brighten up the branches from where the wind has whipped the catkins. The woodland is beginning to breathe back to life.

The river bank, during the deep freeze
The river bank, during the deep freeze

Now, I am leaving this river behind and going to Scotland, to open moors and new forests. I am heading off on a week’s writing course/retreat with Moniack Mhor. A new season, a new threshold: excited to see what will come of a week with other writers, submerged in our collective creativity ...

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