• The long way home

    by  • March 2, 2013 • Landscape, Poetry, Watermeadows • 5 Comments

    along-the-pathNo matter how high the pile of tetchy letters demanding money, or how unlikely it currently seems that I’ll be ever be able to come even close to satisfying them all, there are some things that need to be done regardless.

    Like shopping (carefully, and never when hungry – that way disaster looms) and taking the empty plastic bottles and collapsed and folded boxes to the recycling depot, thereby keeping the place fragrant and enabling the occupation (however briefly) of at least the lower slopes of the moral high-ground.

    Even though I’ve been doing quite a bit more walking recently (mainly due to being car-less, and thus dependent on public transport and my own feet), it was such a lovely afternoon that I decided to take the long way home, via the Water Meadows.


    The river’s running clear again,
    you have to get close for the
    weir’s muted churn to trouble
    your chest.

    Up there it’s almost all blue.
    The weak and hesitant sun is enough,
    for now (it’s nowhere near summer, not even properly spring yet)
    to somehow slow the turning world,
    push all the everyday importances into
    the background, where they belong.

    Almost forgetting to breathe,
    I vanish from the still centre of things

    It’s better that way
    Later, called home by clangorous bells
    drifting lazily, indefinite,
    just below the surface
    like the shopping trolley, still
    there in the stream just by the bridge

    Round the Tump, along the old,
    rough as a Roman (it isn’t) wall
    hemming the lane by the church,
    still rising through the quiet depths

    Onto the high street, suddenly
    drenched in the froth and splutter of now,

    Saturday afternoon
    in a small market town.

    There are worse places through which to
    take the long way home.

    Returning to the ordinary battles
    bolstered by the recollection of that
    hazy green moment
    when I vanished

    and it didn’t matter.

    Such moments are precious whenever they occur – even more so now, when times are tough.

    Normally, one of the first things I do when I get in is to turn on the radio, or bung a CD in the stereo, just for a bit of background noise, for company, but not this time. I’m just enjoying the muted sounds of the town – cars on the high street, a few doppler-ing past on the road below, people chattering on their way home…best of all, Rooks chattering and swearing on their way to the roost…and the soft, satisfying clatter of the keys on my laptop as I type.

    I haven’t turned the lights on either, so I’m sitting here watching the warmth slowly draining out of the panels of light on the wall by the window.

    In a while I’ll turn the lights on, do something – probably including turning my rubbish router on and off repeatedly in an effort to get a stable enough connection to get these words (and the accompanying pictures) online, so that you can read them.

    But for now, I hope you don’t mind if I just sit here quietly for a bit.

    Enjoying the last drops of the afternoon, and the knowledge that the universe doesn’t care about my tiny troubles.

    Why should it?

    You’re very welcome to join me, if you like.

    Nothing like going out of your way to give you a bit of perspective.



    5 Responses to The long way home

    1. Diane W.
      March 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      Hello, Allan ~ I just finished two books: Wild by Cherylt Strayed & AWOL on the AT by Dennis Miller. Your reverie brings to mind how I felt while reading their travels. Thank you for the pause to breathe ~ Diane In San Clemente where I get those tetchy letters, too.

      • Allan
        March 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm

        Thanks Diane – interesting that this puts you in mind of travel-writing, suppose it is in a way, hadn’t thought about it like that. Suspect tetchy letters are universal, sadly…

    2. March 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Like x

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