I am the river – Norfolk, England

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First frost over the breckland of north Norfolk, England

Through tussocks, reeds and the occasional yew,

I am the river and you the view;

Through pasture forgotten and by trees of oak,

I will walk the land like liquid smoke;

Quietly.

With the mistletoe

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With the mistletoe

 

A few years back I went on a walk with my father. The Avon was running with its usual mild ferocity, neither fast nor slow, the kind of course that trances you, movements so synonymous to your step that you may just as well be in the flow itself.

‘Mistletoe,’ my father said, pulling me from the river. ‘Do you see? Up there in that poplar.’

I turned my gaze to the bordering forest. ‘I’m not sure what I’m looking at Dad.’

‘Mistletoe, there,’ he pointed once more, beyond the dark trunk of a nearby poplar and its splaying limbs, high into the tree’s canopy. ‘You see those balls of foliage?’

I nodded. ‘That’s mistletoe?’

‘Yes. It’s a parasite, feeds off the nutrients of the host tree.’

I was amazed. What had always been a showpiece, hung from the rafters of a wintering home, was now alive, bathed in the inspiring light of context. I had never known its place in the world, merely assumed. What a marvel it was to see that mistletoe, hanging from nature’s very own rafters. From the ground, in the safe arms of my subconscious, I climbed towards it– climbed upon it, examined its contours, its berries, its leaves, its parasitic tendrils rife upon its host. 

To see the world from within the river

Waking to a new perspective

Waking to a new perspective

I had a dream some nights ago. Following the blissful song of a winding river, I clambered from one rock to the next, with each bend of the course promising myself one more. Eventually I came to rest, dropping into a deep pool at the foot of a cheerful waterfall. With my back against a large rock and the gentle motion of a band of reeds by my side, I soon found my slumber.

Still dreaming, I woke the following morning to a show of refracting sunlight. After several minutes my eyes had adjusted to the day and I peered towards the water’s surface. ‘How wonderful,’ I thought ‘to see the world from within the river; how different it looks and how fortunate I am.’