The Mouth of the Wye as it speaks to the Severn Estuary. Photo by me.
♒︎ Body Bio-Continuum ♒︎
There is a nature of beauty pushed away by all but those who live closest to the living world. It is the part of life that is the fear of danger. It is discomfort, pain, death. It is the smell of decay. From a place-time where-when our ancestors’ bodies were on constant alert for predators and harm from cuts and infection, there came the control, the corralling of wild beasts, the taming of the soils. They had evolved a sense of belonging, to sprinkle fruit seed and grains nearby, and to know the plants that eased the suffering of their loved ones. … Read more
I am standing on the old ferry slipway at Beachley, just around the headland from the mouth of the Wye. Above me is a monumental hulk of steel girder and wire spanning the Severn Estuary from Beachley to Aust. This is the old Severn Suspension Bridge, which also vaults the Wye (technically, another bridge). It was built to replace ye olde car ferry, and it’s just a little bit older than me. Our lives have spanned the deepest wounds ever inflicted upon the sum of all wild lives of the British Isles, and the span of time seeing the largest rise in global temperatures for fifty-five million years. … Read more
Here, by the flow, I know I am one move away from the idea of feeling no pain. But it is a leap into mental nothingness and a physical dissolution into all the bodies of river life, not peace. There is no peace in suicide; an ecological death, perhaps, if only we weren’t dredged out, split open, organs weighed and then cremated.
You see, I know too well that trauma cannot end at that point, when my life becomes void, because it rips through all those you love; the clever puzzle-solving daughters who love you, the impulsive rescuers who put their lives at risk by trying to save yours. … Read more
Don’t be fooled by their seductiveness. Rivers are dangerous bodies of water. Know them less, and they’ll grab your hips and pull you down, and all the way along. They’ll fill your lungs with mud and blood clots, and turn you intertidal.
Awkward, we huddled around in triage waiting for my father’s final admission to Hereford General. It was just three years after my mother’s death and the next cubicle bulged with an inflatable forced-air warmer. Its tin foil deformity, puckered at the seams, hid well the shadow-person deep inside. We were told—in whispers—he’d been hauled from a “jumping” at the Wye. … Read more
Hey you, who abandoned me at life’s worst moment; who lied to all of us. Who told me of a love, un-encounterable to most. The path that cut steep down through red soils was lined by light. Tiny stars of wood anemone watched over my eager feet as I moved down through the bluebells having their first conversations with the early bees. All seemed so narrow, a weight, but with an unfurling canopy of shock-green saving me from a complete molten, lead sky.
But at the base, where woods fall literally into the river, the sky came in with a bright summer blue, and I stopped to take a deep breath. … Read more
Over the next few months, I’ll be doing a series of moments on the Wye; an in situ telling and collection of personal experiences that helped shape my creation of Fluminism as a symbioethic.
One: Eaton Camp, Wye.
Trigger Warning: Contains distressing descriptions of the memories of suicide ideation and behaviour. If you are feeling vulnerable in anyway, please, don’t listen. Seek urgent help. Help is available. If the first help isn’t positive, try and try again until you find the RIGHT help for you. You are unique. The right help IS there.
Candlemas bells, Galanthus, you still sound just north of the Levant, drifting across the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. You came to me via the piety of Benedictines serving the faith in rejection of most else—they brought you from Renaissance Subiaco on foot or on horseback, in canvas bags tucked inside leather satchels— and they poured you out into the sunlight, then buried you in chimes a stone’s throw from their dark nocturns and early morning prayers. They did love their gardens, the monastics, as they loved God. They must have loved you.
The candles that were lit in these cold, stone buildings each February, where congregations gathered to beeswaxed pews from all corners of the shire to pray, now spill into the graveyards in the form I find you today on the Goggin, all the way from the Abbot’s fields of Lazio. … Read more
It’s barely possible to imagine the hem of her black or white dress resting close at the knee of a leather boot belonging to a soldier with so many children borne to another woman.
Metallic scents of expensive ink on expensive paper linger not in her room, but in her father’s office downstairs. She writes by hand, of course, in her bedroom, at a small, crafted desk and seated on a chair that is cut and waxed from some of the grandest trees of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The glories of lilac and generations of bees flavour an ordinary lead pencil, maybe a sharp knife too, laid on the desk to carve a point. … Read more