“A way a lone a last a loved a long the …..river run”
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939)
Conservationist Bruce Huett welcomes you
What’s not to love about rivers?
Rivers, or rather a river, entered my life seriously in those angst-filled teenage years. The banks of the Thames at Erith provided a welcome refuge from family and social pressures – a quiet space for meditation: starts and ends; springs and estuaries; endless recycling of powerful forces, and the lap, lap, lap as the tide came in and out. My inner turmoil no longer seemed quite so important. I was just part of a much larger dynamic. It was a calming experience, but also invigorating.
“Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song, Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long”
T.S Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)
Many years later, with a young family, I lived again on the edge of the Thames but in a more attractive stretch, near Kew. I spent many happy hours walking along the river as my daughters grew and experienced new sensations, which I hope will now be positively embedded in their memories. We loved to read a fabulous illustrated children’s book: Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling and imagine journeys along rivers to the sea in different countries.
When I moved to Melbourn I got more ‘hands on’ in a river after joining the River Mel Restoration Group. It is a great experience to be working with a compatible group of people feeling the cool water flowing through extended fingers as the base of the river clears of clogging water plants, smelling the sludgy silt as it is dumped from the channel to the sides to reveal the glittering base, and bashing in stakes to hold the revetments which now contain the beautiful yellow irises … and when we haul ourselves out there is the enjoyable exchange of experiences over coffee and chocolate biscuits…“Yes, I will have another one”.
I hope my river photographs will continue to stimulate happy memories for many years to come when I am no longer able to walk its banks. Seasons passing and endlessly renewed – like the river water.
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