Sunday, November 2, 2014

Symphonies of water at Thirlmere

This entry is from a walk in October along the banks of Thirlmere in the lakes. Its a beautiful setting and below the water there were farms and homes now submerged......

Water dripping from trees, hanging like pearls on foxgloves by the path. The tapping of water dripping on my hat reminds me of being in a canvas tent. Watery mud squelches under foot a full unfolding movement of sound as foot lands and rolls and is removed.

The soft and rich and regular soft sound of waves lapping on the the steeply shelving pebble beach of this lake. Far beneath no doubt is the path of a beck that ran steeply down the valley past houses and carefully stone walled fields. Now the rain runs down the ends of stone walls that have been severed long ago that reach no where. The wound poulticed by moss. Water and wind in pine trees and blowing through the air to touch my face.

Each beck along the winding path by the lake is perceived as a distant music and when we reach the water held by the banks and shielded by bracken and fern a complex symphony of sound. If we had ears to hear each beck experienced as flowing water would sound unique since the fall and amount of sparkling water, the shape of bank, the shielding of bracken and the exact arrangement of granite pebbles would announce its signature. The amount of water at any moment must also vary offering mysteriously even more of a musical signature. The ear is too untrained to hear much more than a constant roar, akin to white noise as moment by moment in unrepeatable time this repository for much of northern England's drinking water is replenished. Beauty and utility for once are in agreement.

As I look out on a white expanse of water stopped and rippled by wind and rain bounded by the sturdy walls of the dam and the castellated walls of the the pump house and the tower that houses other machinery I wonder at the tiny Lakeland streams that will flow from taps in homes large and small. Will those who bless, fill and take this holy communion be touched by the sheer improbability of it all?

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