Sunday, November 2, 2014

Night walk swimming in the sound scape

Cups fly in formation across this Bosham cottage wall

A reflection from a stay at Bosham in West Sussex September 2015

I step out into the night diving into darkness from the pool of light from this ancient house well rooted in earth on this rough track that extends like a stream of stone into this tilled field where in daylight rooks caw their ownership. The night sky full of stars covered with the light mist of human light from southern cities yet stars still strive for attention, the philosophical gaze of wonder, humility and appreciation, the taken and released breath of appreciation.

I feel my body take on the rhythm of the walk on deserted roadways conscious of shadows of fences and hedges, homes and cars. Autumn perfumes of trees and plants greet my passing, honeysuckle like the glimpsed perfume of an elegant older lady passing by.

I notice my breathing deepen and my body shifts to lift my feet higher to avoid tripping. I sense a kind of smudge about my body as if I am swimming yet blending with this warm darkness, that I can release into this flow of eddying moments of time.

The pub at the crossroads acts like a compass with lights casting pools of radiance across the space where ways converge and part. Beyond this point there is only darkness and I suspect this is a dark night village. Lights of cyclists arrive silently followed by hazy shapes of riders. On homes tiny red and green lights show to deter thieves. Squares of brightly etched windows shadowed onto the pavement.

the distinctive Sussex shingle

These cottages which have stood here while generations have come and gone escorting the trackway which has no official conclusion since the tides which rise and fall like the breathing of an ancient creature provide the demarcation. Tonight at low tide a calm which magnifies a laugh from some distance away, the cry of a bird. The calm water reflected by stars is like a bowl of water utterly still holding all around it in stillness. The pungency of weed and pools of salt water remind me that this is a harbour where sailing boats laze on the mudflats or stand like sleeping horses on blankets of shadow. This water which seems to this bystander motionless, is a distant relative of the sea at which it does it's bidding each day like an old family retainer still entrusted with greeting guests.

I return, my steps echoing where the houses become coterminous with the narrow path, I turn now switching on a modest torch to prevent my tripping and into this narrow beam of light my feet appear one by one like fish darting forward for food. The tone changes on reaching the lane and now looking up through shaggy hedgerow reaching above me the stars are framed anew.

sea, steel and wood in an aging alchemy
Stopping I hear a passing rhythmic train, the distant tongue of traffic and tracing a path through the stars an aircraft far above heads to its destination descending from dark skies to the arc lights of its terminal. So far away it's as silent as a glider or the wing of an owl wheeling above to survey the rook tended rows of this field. The slap of shoes on pavement now crunch on gravel as if I stood on the shingled shore now two miles distant. Perhaps the beach followed me home, hiding in the shadows. I bid it goodnight. Taking a breath with mouth opened wide and lifting arms to the skies arching my back in animal like stretch I prepare to be embraced by the lit house, the hum of conversation and the tang of tea.

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